It’s that time of year again: family gatherings, feasts of plenty, food, friends and fun—and the annual panic about perfecting that most finicky of holiday standbys, pastry.
Even experienced cooks—the ones who can calmly pull off a perfectly timed roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings—quail in the face of making a simple pie crust.
Horror stories abound: tough crusts, greasy crusts, floury crusts, undercooked crusts, broken pastry, sticky rolling pins—it’s enough to make those pre-baked pie shells at the grocery store look very, very appetizing, even though they taste like cardboard and have the texture to match.
But homemade pastry doesn’t have to be difficult. Sure, it may take a little practice to become really comfortable, so don’t bake your first-ever pie when you’ve got 20 people coming to dinner. Here are some tried and true tips to help counter your pastry phobia.
Find a recipe that works
Pastry is pretty straightforward—it’s flour, some sort of fat, and something to hold it all together. That’s where the simplicity ends, though. Butter, shortening or lard? Add an egg? Vinegar? Vodka? Egg wash or cream wash? And what, exactly, are pie birds and pie beads?
It’s pretty dizzying. And there are pros and cons to each recipe. Butter gives you better flavour, but must be kept cold in order for the pastry to stay flaky (and woe betide you if you overwork the dough). Shortening is easier to work with and gives you plenty of flakiness, but doesn’t have as pleasing a flavour.
Finding a good recipe for pastry takes some experimenting, but this recipe, originally from Cook’s Illustrated, is one of our favourites. It uses butter for flavour and flakiness, and shortening for stability, plus the rather odd (but highly effective) addition of vodka.
(And, just for reference, pie birds are ceramic vents, often shaped like geese, that allow steam to escape from a double-crust pie. Pie beads are used to weigh down single crusts that are baked before the filling is added.)
Keep things cold
Good pastry depends on the fat being incorporated into the flour while it’s still relatively solid, so when it bakes and melts, it releases water that puffs the pastry up. Chilling your dough, keeping your butter chilled, and your water ice cold, as well as using a marble rolling pin, will help maintain the fat’s integrity until it gets in the oven. That being said, if your dough starts cracking as you roll it out, it may be too cold. Let it warm up a bit before working with it.
Don’t overwork your pastry
Overworked pastry becomes tough and dry, and no amount of succulent filling will save it. General guidelines call for working the dough until it resembles coarse meal, and no further, although an all-shortening crust will take a little more abuse. Don’t roll more than necessary, either.
Roll around the clock
Rolling a pie crust can be soothing and hypnotic, or it can be a frustrating mess. First things first: don’t roll back and forth. The easiest way to roll pastry dough is “around the clock.” Start with your roller in the middle of the dough. Roll up towards 12 o’clock, easing up on the pressure as you get to the edge. Pick up your rolling pin and place it back in the middle. Roll down toward 6 o’clock. Pick up your pin again, and roll toward 3 o’clock. Continue until you’ve rolled all the way around the clock and your pastry is the thickness you need. Turn the dough occasionally to make sure you’re applying equal pressure, and run an offset spatula under the pastry as you go to make sure it isn’t sticking.
Flour is your friend (just not too much)
Especially if your dough is a little sticky (and it should be), make sure to flour your rolling surface and rolling pin well. This will stop your pastry from sticking and ripping as it’s being rolled out. Just don’t go overboard—a generous sprinkle will do.
Try rolling on parchment paper
You could roll right on a floured countertop, but if you don’t want to deal with cleaning up, use parchment paper instead. Lay a cool, damp tea towel down under the paper to stop it from slipping, then flour it up and roll away. You can then fold the pastry in half using the paper for easier transfer into the pie plate.
Go for a galette
A galette is a rustic, free-form French dessert that involves pastry gathered around a filling, no complicated rolling or pie plate necessary. If you’re nervous about making a pie, a fruit-filled galette is much more forgiving than a traditional pie.
Do you have any tips for great pastry?]]>
In case you didn’t notice, it became very fall very fast in Canada. As much as we would love to pretend that “late summer” is a season, Calgary and Northern Ontario have already witnessed their first snowfalls, so it’s time to accept it and focus on what we love about autumn: the extra layers, the transforming landscape, and the soups! Here we have cultivated the top 10 soups to keep you through the colder months.]]>
As September comes to an end and we bid adieu to summer, the cooler temperatures and changing leaves become ever more apparent. But what we may love most about fall is that it’s the perfect season for baking—specifically, apple pie baking. Apple pie has become nearly synonymous with fall, making it the go-to for most people. But for those of you looking to bring something new and exciting to your thanksgiving dinner, we have a few twists on this North American classic.]]>
Ah fall, that wonderful season when the temperatures drop, the leaves change colour, and breweries release some fantastic seasonal ales. If it weren’t for summer, spring, and winter, fall would totally be my favourite season to drink beer. Here are some of my favourite brews for the upcoming season—give them a try and let me know what you think!
Northwinds’ The Beet Goes On
Collingwood’s much-loved brewpub and eatery just bottled its first batch of “The Beet Goes On.” This harvest-inspired pale ale features a pink colouring from the addition of red and white beets during the brew and is wet-hopped with hops from the local hop yard, Big Head Hops. It’s an easy drinking beer with a very subtle beet-flavoured aroma. More info: www.northwindsbrewhouse.com
Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale
Always making bold, interesting beer, the people at Rogue have truly embraced pumpkin beers and they make a great one. The Pumpkin Patch Ale features all the great ingredients needed for a good ale, along with a few extras; namely, ginger, cloves, vanilla beans, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and of course, pumpkin. The orange-coloured beer is loaded with pie aromas and flavours with hints of pumpkin. Definitely a sessionable beer. More info: www.rogue.com
Amsterdam Brewery’s Autumn Hop
This unfiltered pale ale has something a little different; all the hops used during the brewing process are wet. That means they’re stripped right off the bine (yes, with a b), then used to brew beer with. This is called wet-hopping and can only be done during hop harvest season, so it really is a seasonal brew. Wet hops are great for hop-forward beers like a pale ale, and this one is a good example of the technique. With this one, you’ll notice the wet grass flavours and aromas that come from the wet hops. More info: www.amsterdambeer.com
Beau’s Night Märzen
How could we talk about fall beers without mentioning Oktoberfest? We can’t. And if you can’t make it to Van Kleek Hill for the annual Beau’s Oktoberfest bender, then their Oktoberfest-inspired beer is the next best thing. Märzen is the traditional Oktoberfest beer; the amber, malty lager is balanced with noble hops and has a clean, crisp finish that is highly drinkable. Try it. You’ll like it. And then you’ll want another. More info: www.beaus.ca
Muskoka Brewery Harvest Ale
One of the first seasonal beers offered by Muskoka Brewery, the Harvest Ale is still released every fall. And for good reason: it’s delicious beer. With an ABV of 7% this beer is a celebration of all things harvest season. Using local ingredients, the dry-hopped American pale ale is dark amber, with a strong malty flavour and a grassy character. This one goes down easy for such a big beer. More info: www.muskokabrewery.com
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier
While the name of this brewery, and its beer, is a real mouthful for us anglophones, the beer itself is a mouthful of goodness. The German brewery has been smoking its malt with beech wood logs for hundreds of years. This award-winning märzen style beer is dark brown with notes of smoked meat, and a thick texture—absolutely delicious on a cool, fall day. More info: www.schlenkerla.de
Church Key’s Holy Smoke
Church Key’s Holy Smoke is a Scotch ale, with a little twist; 10% of its malt is smoked over a peat fire. With very little hop-bitterness present, this beer is dominated by the sweet and smokey malts. Pairs well with a good cheddar. More info: www.churchkeybrewing.com
There’s more to cottage country produce than stopping by the side of the road for fresh corn or wild blueberries. When you explore any one of the many, many farmers’ markets throughout Ontario, you’ll have the opportunity to expand your palate in exciting directions. So pick up the corn and berries, but serve that corn with a side of swiss chard sauteed with farm-fresh garlic, and bake those blueberries into a lavender-scented galette. Your taste buds will thank you.
(And we know there are many, many more farmers’ markets in Ontario than these ones, but this is the perfect starter list!)
St. Jacobs Famers’ Market (Thursdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. all year)
The St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market is the largest year-round farmers’ market in Canada. It’s also one that was almost snuffed out of existence a year ago, after a fire causing $2 million in damage destroyed the market’s main building. Fortunately for the market’s loyal customers, a temporary structure was soon up and running, and a new permanent building is under construction. Along with fresh produce, St. Jacobs is the perfect place to pick up items with a Mennonite flavour, including cheese, summer sausage, preserves and honey. If you’re feeling peckish, the apple fritters are a must-taste.
Keady Livestock/Farmers’ Market (Tuesdays, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
Located about 15 kilometres southwest of Owen Sound, Keady Livestock and Farmers’ Market combines regular livestock auctions with displays from more than 250 vendors selling fresh produce, baking, crafts, and antiques. Cages of chickens rub elbows with goats, ducks, and cows, giving the Keady Market a definite on-the-farm flair.
Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market (Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. until October 29)
The Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market, while seasonal, stays open further into the fall than other markets in Muskoka, which tend to close around Thanksgiving weekend. So if you’re closing up the cottage late this year, never fear: there’s still somewhere to get local produce, baking, and crafts even as the frost threatens. Attracting approximately 80,000 visitors each year, the Gravenhurst FM was voted best seasonal farmers’ market in 2001.
Haliburton County Farmers’ Market (Carnarvon: Friday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. until October 10; Haliburton: Tuesday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. until October 7)
If you’re in the Haliburton highlands, you’re in luck: you’ve got two farmers’ markets to choose from—at least until Thanksgiving. Both markets feature live performances by a variety of buskers, as well as an all-season food or garden book exchange. Plus, don’t forget to check out the winners of the ongoing “oddest vegetable” contest.
Gore Bay Farmers’ Market (Fridays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. until October 10)
As the picture says on the Gore Bay Farmers’ Market Facebook page: “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy local—and that’s kind of the same thing.” Vendors at the market are all local, with many family-run farms participating. While you’re there, pick up fresh Lake Huron fish from the Purvis Fisheries truck or a jar of haskap jam. (And if you’re not sure what haskaps are, well, it’s a great conversation starter.)
Carp Farmers’ Market (Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., May to October)
Contrary to its name, the Carp Farmers’ Market doesn’t sell fish. In reality, the market, located in the village of Carp, north of Kanata, is the largest producer-based farmers’ market in Eastern Ontario. Visit their website for a handy guide to what’s in season and for recipes to make use of all the bounty you’re bound to bring home. The market also runs an annual garlic festival in August, so pack breath mints for your visit.
Perth Farmers’ Market (Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. until October 11)
The Perth Farmers’ Market is worth a visit just to take a look at its permanent home, which is a structure made from repurposed Ottawa bus shelters affectionately called the “Crystal Palace.” With live music, outdoor dining tables, and a wide range of vendors, the market is a good place to start a day wandering around Perth, a picturesque town on the Tay River that was voted the “Prettiest Town in Ontario” by TVOntario viewers in 2000.
Mountjoy Farmers’ Market (Timmins, Saturday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. until mid-October)
If you’re farther north than Muskoka, never fear—there’s still a farmers’ market to be found, right in downtown Timmins. Get there early, buy farm-fresh eggs and a loaf of fresh bread for breakfast, and you’re all set. If you want to spend a little more time, browse through the market’s selection of local art, including pottery and paintings. The market often has specialty items on sale for a limited time, like one vendor who sells birch syrup at the end of August.
What’s your favourite farmer’s market?]]>
Much like craft beer market, the cider market is enjoying a serious influx of new cideries—they’re popping up everywhere. For us, the consumer, that’s nothing but a good thing; more competition leads to better ciders and more variety. Gone are the days when Strongbow was your only option. The shelves of your local liquor store are now full of choices, and the fall is the perfect time to take advantage of this sweet and tart treat. Here are a few of our favourites.
Spirit Tree Dry-Hopped Cider
The Spirit Tree Cidery began in the spring of 2005 when the owners planted 2500 apple trees in the small town of Caledon, just north of Toronto. They’ve added thousands more since then and their styles of cider continue to increase. Their dry-hopped cider is infused with Ontario-grown chinook and cascade hops. With extra citrus and grassy notes, this cider also offers a bitter finish, making it a must-try for us. More info: www.spirittreecider.com
Merridale Traditional Cider
Located in Cobble Hill, British Columbia, the region is much like the famous cidery regions of the UK. And Merridale’s goal is to make the best cider possible. All their ciders are made with 100 percent pure juice and their traditional cider has been called ‘the best English-style cider in Canada.”If you want to set a baseline of how cider should taste, this is one to try. More info: www.merridalecider.com
Waupoos Draft Cider
Located in lovely Prince Edward County, Ontario, the County Cider Company is located on a family farm that has been growing apples since 1850. Their award-winning Waupoos Draft Cider is made from late harvest and European cider apples and is semi-sweet and sparkling. More info: www.countycider.com
Sea Cider’s Ruby Rose
This award-winning cidery is on the Saanich Peninsula of Vancouver Island, BC. They produce more than 60 kinds of certified organic apples and their Ruby Rose is a semi-sweet cider infused with rhubarb. It looks like a sparkling rosé, but tastes of green apple, orchard leaves, rhubarb, and rose hips. This one’s a great sipper that pairs well with fish or salad. More info: www.seacider.ca
Cidrerie Saint-Nicolas’ Brut Crackling Cider
Just outside of Quebec City, the Cidrerie Saint-Nicolas’Brut Crackling Cider is a dry cider with subtle apple notes and a crisp finish. At 8.5% alcohol, it’s on the stronger side of cider, making it the perfect substitute for wine. More info: www.cidreduquebec.com
Left Field Cider Company’s Big Dry
Just outside Kamloops, the Left Field Cider Company is a testament to two sister’s passion for cider making and their ability to drag their friends and family in, too. In 2011 they opened their doors and Big Dry became one of their flagship ciders. This dry cider uses Okanagan dessert apples and is, like the name suggests, really dry. With aromas of cider apple, the light blonde beverage is another great example of how traditional cider should taste. More info: www.leftfieldcider.com
Westons Wyld Wood
If you want to try some of the great ciders, then why not try one from the home of most things cider: the UK. Westons began producing cider way back in 1880 in Herefordshire—a region renowned for its cideries. This is a traditional, premium cider, aged in oak vats, offers a full-bodied taste with a ripe aroma. More info: www.westons-cider.co.uk
Fall is just around the corner and the harvest means new ingredients, new ideas, and new recipes to try. If you’re a baker, chances are you’ve made the standard apple, peach, berry, pumpkin pies, but here are a few pies you might not have tried. And really, can you ever have too much pie?
This traditional English pie is a sweet, messy, gooey sugar-fest made by layering sliced bananas on top of caramel and topping the whole pie with whipped cream. There are two ways of making the caramel base: one involves heating cans of condensed milk in a water bath for a couple of hours, and the other (including this recipe from Jamie Oliver) simply has you boil it rapidly sans can. You can switch up this recipe by using different cookies for the crumb crust. If you do go the traditional route and boil cans of Carnation, make sure the water covers the cans at all times, otherwise you might have to clean condensed milk off the ceiling.
Tarte au sucre
A French-Canadian classic, tarte au sucre (translated to “sugar pie”) is just that: brown sugar, cream, and butter in a flaky pastry crust. Some variations use evaporated milk instead of cream and white sugar instead of brown. An especially delicious variation uses maple syrup along with the brown sugar to create a truly Canadian treat.
This is as traditional as it comes, but be warned: elderberries aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. For one thing, they’re small and seedy, so your pie will be slightly crunchy. And they’re not edible raw—they have to be cooked and sweetened first. That being said, they’re often found growing wild, and they’re chock-full of vitamin C and antioxidants. Look for dark blue-purple fruit with a whitish, dusted appearance—they’re often growing at the edge of wooded areas, along roadside ditches or rail trails.
Concord grape pie
Fall is grape season, and while you’ve probably enjoyed a sip of wine (or two) or a glass of grape juice, you can also put sweet, luscious Concord grapes in a pie. This is a labour-intensive endeavour, since you have to skin each grape individually, but it’s worth it for the sweet, intense grape flavour of the filling.
Ricotta cheese pie (Neapolitan Easter pie)
Never mind that it isn’t actually Easter—this is a pie that deserves to be eaten all year round. Similar to cannoli filling, the sweet, dense ricotta can be jazzed up with chocolate chips and glaceed fruit (as in this recipe) or left plain. Serve it with a demitasse of espresso, and picture yourself in old Napoli, gazing out at the ocean.
Apparently raisin pie is sometimes known as “funeral pie,” but don’t let that stop you, especially if you’re a fan of raisins. Boiling the raisins in advance plumps them up and makes them incredibly sweet and flavourful.
Shaker-style lemon pie
This traditional American pie has a filling that’s a cross between lemon curd and marmalade, made with thinly sliced lemons (Meyer if you can get them) soaked in sugar and mixed with eggs. The result is custardy and not too sweet. The lemons retain a little bitterness, making this a relatively sophisticated pie and not necessarily for the sugar demons among us. That being said, once you’ve sliced the lemons, it’s relatively easy to make, and a nice change from meringue!
What’s your favourite lesser-known pie? Share your thoughts in the comments.
You could say the s’more is the ultimate campfire treat. What would a bonfire be without trying to roast a marshmallow to that perfect browned state, topped off with melted chocolate that always—no matter how perfect your technique—somehow ends up dripping down your fingers? And while some may argue that you can’t beat the original, after uncovering these 15 mouth-watering variations, we have to disagree.]]>
Did you know your barbecue is good for way more than just meat? Sure, steak and burgers and chicken all taste divine when you add that smoky flavouring that only an open flame can bring, but there are also plenty of other dishes that can benefit from a good grilling. Below are just a few to get you started.
Eating oysters may be bliss, but shucking them definitely is not—which is why they’re better on the barbecue. The heat from the grill will cause the shells to naturally open up (note that they won’t pop open like clams or mussels, but rather will open just slightly enough to easily lift the shell). Place them on a grill heated to medium-high, cupped side down, for about two to five minutes (depending on their size). You’ll know they’re ready when they start to open (discard any that don’t). Be warned that some could explode, so keep your grill covered. Alternately, you can grill pre-shucked oysters; you’ll know they’re ready when the oysters start to puff up and curl on the sides.
Pizza is best when it’s cooked over an open flame. Admittedly, grilling a pizza takes much more work than relying on your oven, as you’ll need to move quickly. The dough will need careful rotating to ensure it’s evenly browned (don’t forget to oil the grill to avoid sticking), and once the base is ready, you’ll need to have the sauce and toppings on hand so you can add them as the pizza cooks. But if you have the patience, you’ll be rewarded with a crisp, smoky pie that will taste like it came from an old-fashioned pizzeria.
Yes, even your salad can go on the barbecue. Slice a head of romaine lettuce in half and grill it, cut-side down, for about a minute or until the lettuce just starts to blacken with grill marks. Do the same thing with a lemon for your garnish. After it’s been grilled, add dressing, parmesan and, for an extra hint of smoky flavour, a few crumbles of barbecued bacon.
Boiling may be the most common way to cook lobster, but there’s also grilling. And, after all, a grilled lobster tail is the perfect companion to a barbecued steak. Depending on your bravery level, you can kill the lobster by either submersing it in boiling water for a minute or by inserting a sharp knife into the cross mark on its back or between its eyes (as well, some recommend freezing the lobster beforehand to put it into a hibernation-like state). Either way, once your lobster is ready, toss it on a medium-hot grill for eight to ten minutes. Alternately, break off the claws and tail and cook in pieces. You’ll know it’s ready once the meat is firm and opaque, and the shell is bright red.
Bacon and eggs
There’s no reason to wait until noon to fry up the grill—even breakfast can go on the barbecue. Breakfast meats such as bacon and ham can be cooked easily enough on the grill, just as you would any other meat, but it’s the eggs that throw most people off. Instead of cooking eggs on the side hotplate (or indoors on the stove), use a muffin baking tray right on the grill. Grease each of the pockets, then crack and drop your eggs in. You’ll still get the smoky flavouring without having your eggs drip through the grill. For an extra special take on breakfast, line the muffin pockets with barbecued bacon or ham, then crack the eggs inside—your eggs will cook around the meat and become one, perfect for sandwiches.
Instead of deep-frying or baking your French fries, try throwing them on the grill; after all, they’re the perfect companion to barbecued treats like hamburgers and hot dogs. For the best grilled fries, partially cook the potatoes before throwing them on the grill (boil them for about 20 minutes), otherwise you’ll risk drying them out by trying to grill from raw. Also try cutting the potatoes into wedges rather than shoestrings, so that you can cook them directly on the grill rather than using a baking tray. Oil and season the wedges before grilling, then cook until crispy.
Give your guacamole a barbecue boost by using grilled avocados. Many people find these fruits to be a bit bland on their own, but grilling will bring them up a notch thanks. Slice in half, remove the pit, brush with lime juice and olive oil, then grill cut-side down for a few minutes. Alternately, add your grilled avocados to a salad (pair with tomatoes, onions, and even some protein such as shrimp), or serve sliced up on their own as a garnish.
Really, you grill any number of different fruits—apples, plantains, pineapple—but peaches often win out as the favourite barbecued dessert. There’s just something about peaches that is so quintessentially summer. For dessert, slice peaches in half and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of brown sugar or honey. Be sure to use just ripened or slightly under-ripe peaches—too ripe and you’ll have slippery peach goo melting through your grill. Place them on an oiled grill, cut-side down, for about four or five minutes and then flip then over for a few more minutes until they’re soft enough to easily poke with a fork. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
It sounds crazy, but yes, you can make grilled lemonade. The smokiness will give it a surprising twist on the standard sweet and tart flavour, and it pairs really well with bourbon if you want to turn your lemonade into a barbecue cocktail. Cut lemons in half and give them a sugar rub. Place them cut-side down on the grill for about two to four minutes, until the sugar carmelizes. Once the lemons have cooled, squeeze them into any lemonade recipe. For extra flavour, add a few sprigs of rosemary.
In Canada, barbecuing is something we do on the back deck when it’s warm outside, and barbecue sauce is that stuff we pick up at the supermarket next to the ketchup. It’s a pretty straightforward way of cooking, right?
Not so south of the border. For many Americans, barbecue is more than an excuse to wear a bib and eat with your fingers: it’s cultural, steeped in history and, for many, a subject for heated debate. Variations in cuts of meat, methods of cooking and, perhaps most obviously, types of sauce, vary wildly from region to region, and are matters of fierce local pride. Vinegar or ketchup-based? White or red? Sauce or dry rub? The possibilities are endless.
One thing barbecue fans to the south of us know, though, is that there’s no substitute for homemade barbecue sauce—commercial bottles might come close, but a really good sauce is made from scratch.
Let’s learn a little from our neighbours to the south and expand our repertoire beyond the thick, sweet bottled stuff that tends to be our default for barbecued stuff up here. Ever try mustard in your sauce? Read on and find out why folks in South Carolina wouldn’t dream of eating barbecue without it.
Kansas City sweet sauce
If you’ve had commercial barbecue sauce, you’ve had something that approximates Kansas City-style sauce—it’s thick, made sweet with ketchup and brown sugar, spicy with garlic and cayenne, and tart with a hint of vinegar. Unlike the bottled stuff, though, made-from-scratch KC sauce is subtle and flavour-filled, not cloyingly sweet. This type of sweet sauce burns easily, and isn’t meant to soak into the meat. Instead, brush it on during the last ten minutes of cooking to caramelize it, then serve some on the side for dipping. (Kansas City barbecue fans will point out that an important exception to the thick-sweet sauce rule is Arthur Bryant’s original barbecue sauce, which isn’t sweet at all but is still wildly popular.)
South Carolina mustard sauce
German immigrants to the eastern part of South Carolina brought with them a fondness for smoked pork and mustard, so the barbecue cuisine of the state incorporates both. South Carolina’s distinctive mustard-based sauce — which incorporates yellow mustard, vinegar, spices and sugar — is probably unfamiliar to a lot of Canadian grill-heads, but worth a try, especially on a pork shoulder cooked low and slow, served on a bun in delicious shards topped with coleslaw.
North Carolina dip
In North Carolina, barbecue sauce is meant to penetrate the meat while it’s cooking, so it’s thinner and less sweet than Kansas City-style sauce. Based on vinegar, sugar, and hot pepper flakes, it’s often augmented with a hint of tomato sauce or ketchup (although this is a matter of much debate). Pitmasters baste their meat once per hour, then serve a bowl of sauce on the side of the finished meat for dipping.
Alabama white sauce
This specialty of Northern Alabama doesn’t look like any kind of traditional barbecue sauce—mostly because it’s made with mayonnaise, which makes it white and creamy. Combined with vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and seasoning, white barbecue sauce isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s worth a try if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary to serve at your next summer barbecue. Experts say it’s not great on beef or pork, but works well on chicken. Paint it on just before serving, and see what you think.
In Texas, the name of the barbecue game is brisket, brisket, brisket (although lots of other meat gets barbecued as well). True to the Mexican influence in the southern parts of the state, Texas barbecue sauce tends to be thinned with vinegar and worcestershire sauce—making it good for mopping on a slow-cooking brisket—combined with tomato sauce and brown sugar and made spicy with the addition of jalapeno peppers and ancho chili powder. Some of the best homemade sauces also incorporate beef drippings.
What’s your favourite barbecue sauce?