My Barbecue Sauce Journey: Bring It On Home
Friday 12 October 2018 — Category: Cooking & Food
In my last article I recounted my journey from being a hater of barbecue sauce to a lover by trying three different dishes at three different McMenamins locations, each of which featured their Hammerhead BBQ Sauce.
I liked that sauce so much that right after the third meal I went to downtown Portland’s Alphabet District where McMenamins has their 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop. It carries the largest selection of McMenamins products and paraphernalia of any McMenamins location, except for their online store.
A 14 oz bottle of their Hammerhead BBQ Sauce set me back $7.50, which seems pretty spendy. After making two rounds of pulled-pork sandwiches for the family the bottle was empty. I could swallow that price once, but after such a splurge I needed to find a more reasonably-priced brand.
Next I bought two bottles of Cattlemen’s Kansas City Classic BBQ Sauce at Walmart for only $1.98 for each 18 oz bottle. After comparing the prices per ounce, I really don’t think that the Hammerhead BBQ Sauce is five times better tasting. Nope!
Over the following months I made more pulled-pork sandwiches. Once the two bottles of Cattlemen’s were used up, I decided that, as a gourmet chef wannabe, I should try to make my own.
In October 2017 I had a bedtime snack at the McMenamins White Eagle Saloon. Their Dos Tacos featured red-eye BBQ pork, cabbage, chipotle pico de gallo, jalapeño, raw onion, and cilantro sour cream in fried corn tortillas. During and after the meal I wrote:
“These were absolutely some of the best tacos I have ever eaten! They are incredibly killer! GOSH!!! The sauce was similar to their Hammerhead BBQ sauce, but this red-eye sauce is spicier and not as sweet. Crunchy taco shells, salsa, raw onion, sour cream ... awesome! Especially impressive since there is no cheese! This isn’t simply junky pub food, but a culinary work of art!”
Apparently I really like the red-eye barbecue sauce. A couple of weeks later I made my first-ever batch of barbecue sauce using a red-eye barbecue sauce recipe which I modified a bit. Rather than using store-bought ketchup, I found a homemade ketchup recipe that, once again, I adapted for my own use. Afterwards I wrote:
“Turned out really good. Nice flavor up front, fairly spicy finish. This was just what I was wanting! I don’t think I could improve it! Practically perfect in every way, Mary! Definitely less sweet than the store-bought BBQ sauces I have tried so far.”My teen daughter thought the red-eye sauce was too spicy, so I decided to follow it up with a Dr Pepper BBQ sauce. I wasn’t quite convinced by the recipes I found online, so I simply modified my excellent red-eye sauce recipe by replacing the coffee with Dr Pepper, and omitting the sugar.
I made my first trial run in early 2018, which turned out great. In May I made a bigger batch to keep us supplied for a while. I made too much ketchup, so in addition to three 12 oz bottles of Dr Pepper BBQ sauce (right), I made an additional bottle of red-eye BBQ sauce (left).
Now it is October, and we didn’t use as much as I thought we would, so I still have almost 3 bottles of the Dr Pepper sauce left. In the next few articles I share with you the ways I have been putting my barbecue sauces to delicious culinary use — see Crafting Gourmet Burgers at Home, A Homemade Carl’s Jr Baby Back Rib Burger and Lovin’ That Pulled Pork!
Before you go, be sure to download PDF versions of my three recipes mentioned on this page:
Dozens more recipes can be found on My Gourmet Chef Wannabe Recipe Downloads page.