Fair warning: You are going to read some things in this post that will make you drool.
Recently, for my mom's 78th birthday, I visited Hillsborough Barbecue in North Carolina. We're talking Smoked Pork Martini with a Mable Bacon rim (from small batch bourbon infused with smoked pork on the premises.) How 'bout Fig Preserve Martini (my fav?) And, just about the time your lips are burning from the Hot and Smokey Margarita (hot sauce added to a glass that was rinsed in smokey scotch), they bring out the sweet Fried Catfish Bites. If you can still read this through the sweat on your screen, imagine the homestyle plates filled with BBQ pit Brisket (you can ask for "double meat"), the Sweet-Potato Salad and a choice of Red or White Cole Slaw surrounded by Hush Puppy balls. Now that you're so deep in it ya' can't see your face, you may as well have a bowl of Brunswick Stew (authentic with Rabbit, Chicken and Pork.) If you're ever within a day of Hillsborough, NC - you need to drive straight into this historic town and plop yourself down at a picnic table outside and ask for extra napkins.
Now, of course I didn't ask for their well guarded recipes, but I did manage to get a nice tip from their handsome Grill Master (David Stinson.) He told me a secret to one of their sauces was grilling the jalapenos before making the sauce. I took that and ran with it, folks. It turned my Country Style Pork Ribs Barbecue Sauce into something worth sharing with you. I hope you try the recipe, it's a little bit country (tomato base) and a little bit Rock & Roll (red wine vinegar and allspice) with a sweet kick (honey and grilled jalapeno.) If you're not really careful, just the smell will cause you to devour one of the sweet-hot barbecued ribs before you bring the plate to the table (shhhh.)
Recipe: Grilled Jalapeno & Honey BBQ Sauce
(makes enough for 4 large Country Style Pork Ribs)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 Tbls. Olive Oil
salt/pepper to taste
1 large (or 3 small) Jalapeno Peppers (grilled, chopped and keep the seeds in according to how hot you like it)1) Stir all ingredients into a saucepan on Med/High heat. Bring to a boil.
2) Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning.
3) Spread on Ribs just before putting them into the oven, or in the last moments of grilling.
**I cooked my Country Style Pork Ribs in braising liquid for 45 minutes, drained and held them in the refrigerator over night and then basted them with sauce before putting them in a 400F oven for 25 minutes. This makes really fall-apart-tender ribs that can be prepared a day in advance or the same day.**
Do you have a favorite Barbecue Restaurant? I'd love to hear about it. Thanks for stopping by as always~