Since the season has just changed from summer to autumn I'm not sure if it's still barbecue time, but two things I do know: By the time you read this I will have returned from the Outer Banks of North Carolina where I plan to enjoy some barbecue and, when I get back, there will be some amazing barbecue in New London (see Nibbles below).
I'm taking my favorite barbecue sauce to North Carolina, just in case we are not near good barbecue (I can make chicken or pulled pork there, I'm sure). And this is a keeper of a recipe and will hold in the refrigerator for weeks, even months. In addition, when you are in the mood, it takes no time to make this cole slaw to go with the ribs and chicken.
From "Best Barbecued Pulled Chicken," Cook's Illustrated, July and August, 2005
If you are using this with a pulled chicken or pork sandwich, place the bottom bun on a plate, add meat or fowl, ladle on some sauce, then add the top bun.
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
¼ cup water
1½ cup ketchup
1½ cup apple cider*
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ cup molasses
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (2 teaspoons)
1½ tablespoons chili powder
½ teaspoon cayenne
hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco, to taste or on table
Process onion and water in food processor fitted with steel blade until pureed and mixture resembles slush, about 30 seconds. Pass mixture through fine mesh strainer into liquid measuring cup, pressing on solids with rubber spatula; you should have ¾ cup strained onion puree. Discard solids in strainer.
Whisk onion puree, ketchup, apple cider, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, molasses, pepper and cider vinegar together in medium bowl.
Heat oil in large non-reactive saucepan over medium heat until shimmering; add garlic, chili powder and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 minutes. Stir in ketchup mixture; increase heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until flavors meld and sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. You should have scant 4 cups sauce.
*I was unable to find apple cider in June; instead I found unsweetened apple juice in the frozen food section and followed instruction on the can.
Zimmy's Cole Slaw
1 cup good store-bought mayonnaise
5½ tablespoons distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons celery seed (optional, but so terrific)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
about 6 to 8 cups green cabbage, shredded or grated in a food processor*
2 carrots, shredded or grated in food processor*
Using whisk, blend mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, celery seed, salt and pepper.
Combine cabbage and carrots. Pour dressing over vegetables and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours. I have found that the cole slaw will last for up to two weeks in refrigerator.
Last year I was asked to judge incredibly good barbecue in Norwich, alongside people who really understand great barbecue created by cooks who have won awards all over the world. It was delicious and I was thrilled to participate.
Now it's time for barbecue in New London. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 30, the city of New London and the Downtown New London Association will host The Best BBQ Chef Competition at New London's Waterfront Park, where barbecue and grilling enthusiasts from throughout the country will compete for top recognition in the Kansas City Barbeque Society's state championship.