Piedmont Barbecue Sauce, a Carolina Treat
Looking to brew up a tasty but simple accent for your pork? Try Piedmont barbecue sauce
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
One of the things I love about the art of barbecuing is its enormous diversity -- and the confection known as Piedmont barbecue sauce is a case in point.
See, it amazes me that the American branch of the cuisine is only a few hundred years old, but there are already dozens of regional varieties, based mostly on sauces. Oh, sure, some variation shows up in the types of meats and cuts used, not to mention presentation, but it’s most obvious in the sauce.
You've got KC style, Texas style, Memphis style, Alabama white sauce, Northeastern espresso sauce, and, of course, the distinctive flavor of the Carolina piedmont. Since we haven't dipped into the latter yet, let's take a look.
Carolina-style barbecue tends toward pork (chopped, sliced, shredded, and especially pulled), often seasoned with a spicy rub. Some regions go "whole hog" (that is, they use meat from all parts of the pig), while others stick to the shoulder meat.
Sauces may also vary by region (no surprise there), but most are heavy on the tomato and vinegar. In fact, plain old ketchup is often a primary ingredient.
As a result, these sauces are fairly thin, and may not appeal to those of us more accustomed to sauces of a thicker consistency. But they're just the thing for that pulled pork, I assure you. So give 'em a try!
One thing I always appreciate in a sauce recipe is simplicity. A handful of ingredients, a minimum of stirring, and maybe some heating; what could be easier, except pouring it out of a bottle? And hey, if you wanted to buy a commercially prepared sauce, you wouldn't be reading this article.
Anyway, for those of us who like it simple (or are simply culinarily challenged), here's about as easy a BBQ sauce as you can create. This will make about a quart, maybe a bit more (i.e., a liter).
3 cups of apple cider vinegar
1 cup of ketchup (homemade or commercial, your choice)
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of butter
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Mix all the ingredients together in a large saucepan or suitable stock pot, then simmer, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes. Then take it off the heat, coat the meat, and you're ready to eat.
Note that if you'd like to cut down on the spiciness, you can back off the red pepper to 1/4 of a teaspoon.
In any case, this is an ideal accent for pork, because it really brings out the flavor of the meat. However, Piedmont barbecue sauce works great for chicken, too!