Oh, what a wonderful BBQ sauce this hot pepper jelly sauce is. It has the perfect consistency. Not too runny, not too gloppy. A small bit of heat and a little tang from vinegar and mustard. Perfect for any pork BBQ dish. For me that means smoked baby back ribs. You can substitute any kind of jelly for the hot pepper jelly, really. But don’t be afraid of hot pepper jelly. Out of the jar, sure, it’s got some kick. But in this sauce that heat gets a little mellowed. You still get great pepper flavor though. It’s still a great sauce!
When I make a batch of this basic BBQ rub I don’t just make a little ole container full. No, I make a bunch of it. A whole lot. That’s because I use it on just about every piece of meat that I throw onto my trusty old smoker. It shines best on beef and pork, adding a bit of sweetness and a bit of heat. And though it contains coffee and lemon pepper the flavors from those two ingredients don’t jump out and scream at your taste buds. They’re there though, working perfectly with the rest of the flavors. This is truly a great all-around rub. The idea for this basic BBQ rub came from Ray Lampe’s book, Slow Fire: The Beginner’s Guide to Lip Smacking Barbecue. The book is full of great recipes and stories and ideas, just like this one. This rub can be used as-is or as a great jumping-off point for making your own rub. Play with the ratios to suit your tastes. For example, don’t use regular paprika just use only smoked paprika for a much stronger smoke flavor, perfect for seasoning foods cooked in doors where you won’t get a strong wood flavor. Or add more heat. Or leave out the heat. It’s a very versatile rub.
Also try my basic BBQ sauce. Like this rub, it’s great as is or use it as a base for your own flavors.
As much as I do love meatloaf, for me the best meatloaf is on a sandwich. The joy of meatloaf is that it is (usually) a little denser than a hamburger, and (usually) comes with vegetables and other seasonings mixed in. Slap a big slice of meatloaf on a big hearty bun, top it with BBQ sauce, bacon, and French-fried onions and I’m not just sort of happy, I’m very happy! Don’t mess around with little ole thin slices of meatloaf when you make these BBQ meatloaf sandwiches. And don’t mess around with those little ole grocery store hamburger buns that are barely bigger than a potato chip. Go big. You want a bun that can hold up to a seriously thick slice of meatloaf that is covered in dripping BBQ sauce and crunchy smoky bacon and crispy onions.
Roasted chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy is something I could make and eat all day long. I never get tired of it. I usually make split chicken breasts or whole chickens. This time I used a great off-the-shelf rub, Dizzy Pig’s Raging River, and cooked the chicken until done. I then brushed on my fantastic homemade peach BBQ sauce. Wow, what great chicken! You can make chicken using this same technique but substitute your own rub or seasoning and any sauce you want. Just make sure that you don’t put the sauce on until the end (after the chicken is fully cooked) or it will burn. The Big Easy cooks at a high temperature. It won’t take long for it to set the sauce.
I have a bit of an addiction to buying pre-made BBQ sauces. Mostly the obscure ones that you can’t get in stores. The ones you have to order directly from the BBQ joint that makes them. Well, that’s not the cheapest hobby in the world, so I set out to make my own basic BBQ sauce (based on one from Myron Mixon) and I’m very happy with the results. It’s not a complicated or fancy sauce, but it has the perfect consistency and taste. I can add more hot sauce for a spicy version, or I can add more liquid smoke for a more hickory-flavored sauce. I’m going to call this sauce ‘done’. It’s my go-to basic sauce for everything from pulled pork to ribs to brisket to chicken or my favorite, rib tips. I have also been known to slather it on my grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. It’s also fantastic on BBQ chicken pizza!
Also try my basic BBQ rub. Like this sauce, it’s great as is or use it as a base for your own flavors.
I do love a fresh peach BBQ sauce. Nothing screams winter is over like fresh peaches being available in our local grocery store. I’ve made a great peach BBQ sauce before, but this time I was looking for something a bit different Something with a smoky flavor and a little sweetness. My original peach BBQ sauce was more like a traditional Kansas City sauce. This one brings a little kick to any grilled meat, like the split chicken breasts I made recently on my Char-Broil Big Easy. As with any BBQ sauce, don’t apply this peach BBQ sauce until your food is basically done grilling. Any sooner and the molasses and peach nectar may start to burn. Just put it on and let the food grill a bit longer until the sauce has set. Then enjoy! And if you prefer the flavor of apricot over peach, try out my apricot BBQ sauce.
Do not let the word ‘beginner’ deter you from reading Ray Lampe’s Slow Fire: The Beginner’s Guide to Lip-Smacking Barbecue. Whether you’re just contemplating low-and-slow cooking or you’ve been doing it for 30 years or more, this book is so full of great recipes and approaches that you’ll find yourself going back to it again and again. I do. I’m pretty sure that this book shattered my previous record for how many recipes I bookmarked.
The first chapter of Slow Fire concentrates on rubs and sauces. I made my own variation of Lampe’s Basic Rub #67 and it has now become my go-to rib and pork butt rub. You’ll find yourself doing the same thing. I recommend you make the rubs or sauces as Ray intended, then taste and add whatever you want to make them your own. Or you might find yourself making substitutions for something else you prefer. No matter what, the recipes in the book are fantastic starting points (and they are perfect they way they are too!).
The next chapter is all about ribs. Great ribs done tons of different ways. Including a fantastic Asian-inspired rib. Ribs are my favorite meat to smoke, and I’m always on the lookout for new variations. Slow Fire did not disappoint.
Next up, pork. Glorious pork. Butt, shoulder, chops, tenderloin, you name it. My rule when smoking pork: always make extra because it’s always good. Slow Fire has a great mix of recipes for pork.
Beef is next, including a great recipe for homemade pastrami, which is next on my to-do list. I make a cheater pastrami, which starts with an already brined brisket (corned beef). Slow Fire shows you how to make a real pastrami, beginning with a brisket.
The section on cooking poultry is next. It includes a recipe for Buffalo turkey wings, something I hadn’t even considered and will definitely make soon. You’ll find recipes for every part of a chicken (or turkey or game hen or duck) that you can want.
The book wraps up with recipes for miscellaneous dishes, like kielbasa or lamb, and a number of side dishes too, including some of the staples for a good barbecue, such as slaw or potato salad. All of the recipes are well-written, thought out and bulletproof. And good. Very good.
Why grab a can of pre-made BBQ beans at the store when you can make your own in no time at all. Sure, I’ve made scratch baked beans before (on the smoker and they were fantastic!). These aren’t those beans. Quick to fix, these BBQ beans still pack in the flavor. You can make these beans taste however you like just by changing which BBQ sauce you add. From smoky to spicy, you can’t go wrong. And speaking of spicy, for a little extra kick add a few sliced jalapenos. And for extra crunch, chop half of a medium sweet onion and toss that in too. You really cannot make a boo-boo when you make these beans.