LOVE IS IN THE AIR. NO WAIT, THAT’S BBQ, NEVERMIND!
by Laura Tucker DeVries
In honor of National Barbecue Day, Wednesday, May 16th— I thought a few fun facts about the holiday might be in order. Sit back, relax as we see what BBQ means to different folks around our beautiful US of A! I was thinking perhaps a couple of recipes may be in order, as well.
The most popular holidays for barbecuing are, in order: July 4th, Memorial Day, and lastly Labor Day. I say ANY day is the best day if you have a hankering for charred meat with a tasty sauce or rub!
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The most popular foods for barbecuing are, in order: burgers, steak, hot dogs, and lastly chicken. All are my favorite!
There are about as many styles of barbecuing as there are opinions – everyone’s got their own! Barbecue styles are regional and dominate in different parts of the country.
In the Carolinas, the sauce is mostly vinegar-based, tangy and sweet. The type of meat Carolinians agree on is pork. (My personal favorite, recipe to follow)
While in other parts of the deep south—Georgia, Louisiana and Florida enjoy more of a Cajun-type sauce. The preferred type of meat in that neck of the woods could be beef brisket, pork, rabbit, or trout.
Folks from Elvis’s hometown, Memphis enjoy a thinner sauce with elements of sweet, vinegar, and a good amount of heat.
Our friends in sunny California seem to think salmon is the king of the grill. They more than likely use a citrus-based sauce, whatever is trendy at the time would be their choice.
Now, when it comes to the Midwest, more specifically Kansas City, folks there enjoy a sweeter and tangier, tomato-based sauce with a chili powder base.
Out of ALL those, I am a “Carolina-Style” sauce girl—speaking of which—here is MY recipe:
2 sticks margarine
1 large onion sliced paper-thin
1 c. ketchup
1 jar Heinz chili sauce
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups dark. brown sugar
4 T. liquid smoke (Hickory)
dash Worcestershire sauce
Sauté onion in margarine until transparent. Add all other ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes. The best you will ever taste—trust me! I prefer St. Louis style pork ribs (trimmed of ribs tips and skirt) –nice rectangular shape and a proper amount of needed fat. It is great on chicken too!!
Another fun thing to serve with your barbecued meat is a crazy thing called a Popcorn Salad—yes, you heard me right. I KNOW it sounds unusual but trust me it is unlike anything you have ever eaten. Your guests may turn their noses up at first, and then something magical happens—their first bite turns in to several and before you know it—it is completely devoured! It will become one of your most requested side dishes, I PROMISE!!
2/3 c. sugar
1 t. apple cider vinegar
2 c. mayonnaise
1 c. finely chopped celery
2 cans of water chestnuts, drained, chopped
½ c. thinly sliced scallions
½ jar Baco bits (trust me)
1 c. shredded cheddar (divided)
12 c. popped popcorn
Mix sugar, vinegar and mayonnaise in a large bowl. Add the celery, chestnuts, scallions, bacon bits and ¾ c. cheddar. Refrigerate until time to serve. Right before serving, stir in the popcorn, toss very well and top with the rest of the cheddar. Serve immediately!
I hope you have enjoyed this article—I have enjoyed writing it for you. Please continue to stay safe, healthy and keep your loved ones close!
And always remember: “IT IS BETTER TO HAVE BURNT AND LOST, THAN NEVER TO HAVE BARBECUED AT ALL.” -Billy Bob Shakespeare