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LABOR DAY WEEK! Rubs, Bastes, and Sauces

September 3, 2010

If you’re going to BBQ like a pro, then you need the goods. Here are recipes (as promised!) for my dry rub, lemonade-vinegar baste, and ultimate BBQ sauce.

These are all purpose tools that should be a mainstay in your kitchen.

Vivek’s Dry Rub (makes 2 cups)

My dry rub changes every year. That’s because at the end of the summer, I take all the spices I’ve bought and I dump them into a huge mason jar and use that in a pinch. Sometimes it’s a flavorful crust for a steak, mixed with oil it becomes a vehicle for seasoning vegetables, and it can be used as a marinade. The options are really endless, but because of this process, I don’t have a recipe for the exact rub I used on the pork. But here is a good one and easy one that you can use and it tastes good on everything.

The key is to balance spice, heat, sweet, and savory flavors.

1/2 cup paprika (i like smoked paprika, but regular works fine)

1/4 cup ancho chile powder

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup garlic powder

1/4 cup onion powder

3 T freshly ground black pepper

3 T dried oregano

1 T ground cumin

1 T ground coriander

1 T cayenne pepper

1 T cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients together and it’ll stay for about 6 months.

*Notice there is no salt in this rub. I don’t put salt because mixed in a rub, I can’t see if there is enough. SO, I always season whatever I’m cooking with salt and then add the rub to ensure it’s seasoned properly.

Lemonade-Vinegar Baste

This is a very tasty baste and it could even be a BBQ sauce if you like really tangy, vinegary sauces. Again, the key is balance. You want acidity from the vinegar/lemonade, but you want to balance that with the heat of the cayenne/jalepeno and the sweetness of the sugar.

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup lemonade

2 T cayenne pepper

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

1 jalepeno, sliced

1 T black pepper

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2 tsp. kosher salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. I have a nice little spray bottle that i use to apply this baste. But, a bowl and a brush works fine.

Vivek’s Ultimate BBQ sauce (makes 2 cups)

This is a great BBQ sauce and better than anything you’ll buy at the store. It’s a lot of ingredients, but it’s pretty easy to put together. The bacon and smoked paprika really give some great depth of flavor and smokiness to the sauce.

2 slices of smoked bacon, cut into lardons (optional, if you’re vegetarian)

1 big onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

a bundle of fresh thyme

2 cups ketchup

3 T molasses

3 T light brown sugar

1 T honey

1 T apple cider vinegar

1 T Worcestershire Sauce

1 T ancho chile powder

1 T cayenne pepper

1 T freshly ground black pepper

1 T ground mustard

1 T smoked paprika

1 tsp cumin

Put the bacon into the cold pan and turn the heat to medium. Let the fat render slowly until the bacon is nice and brown. Add the diced onion and garlic. Season with kosher salt and let cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. You do not want the onions to brown. Add the thyme (don’t worry about the stems because you will strain this sauce later) and let cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Now add the ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, honey, vinegar, Worcestershire, ancho chile powder, cayenne, black pepper, mustard, paprika, and cumin.

Keep the sauce cooking at a medium to medium-low heat until it’s nice and thick – about 20-30 more minutes.

Taste it. It should be a little smokey, a little sweet, a little spicy, and a little tangy. It hits your palette in all the right spots. Season it with salt if it needs some more.

Allright, pal – you got a rub, a basting sauce, and a BBQ sauce – GET TO COOKIN’!



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