Despite snow flurries and frigid temperatures to the contrary, I am confident that springtime is about to break out and that means firing up the trusty old Weber grill for some spicy barbecue treats.
But first, let’s define the term barbecue – which seems to mean different things to different people.
For some, it’s a verb as in: “I’m going to barbecue some hot dogs.” For others, barbecue is a noun and refers to a type of cooked pork or beef (usually rib meat) that is dry-rubbed and/or immersed in various sauces, chopped or pulled and then served on a bun.
I define barbecue as a style of cooking, and you will find just about every kind of food on my grill, including (but not limited to) pork, beef, lamb, fish, vegetables and even fruit.
I am also a “true believer” in using charcoal or wood to cook the animal, vegetable or fruit on my grill. I have used every brand of gas grill – from the most expensive to the most economical -and they all share one fatal flaw: uneven heat distribution.
It’s also a pain in the posterior to try and use smoking woods such as hickory, mesquite or apple on a gas grill, and that’s a problem for me since these woods add a wonderful flavor dimension to barbecue foods.
And okay, I confess, there’s just something compelling and deliciously barbaric about setting charcoal on fire, and then using the coals to sear animal flesh or things that grow. (I’m not sure I want know why this practice is so appealing to me).
So here’s a recipe for my original Barbarian Barbecue sauce that you can use on just about any meat or fish (especially salmon). Of course, I’ll provide you with a few wines that are among my favorites to complete this spicy meal.
Barbarian Barbecue Sauce
Combine a cup of ketchup with half a cup of white vinegar in a cooking pot
Pour a 12-ounce bottle of beer and two ounces of orange juice to the pot
Add a tablespoon each of brown sugar, molasses and Tabasco
Add one teaspoon of dried mustard, Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes until it thickens
Brush the food with the sauce and serve.
Here are some excellent wines to sip that are especially good and will help you release your inner Barbarian.
2013 Moulin Gassac Guilheim Rose ($10) From Languedoc-Roussillon, this dry rose is a blend of each grenache, carignan and syrah. This baby is full of strawberry and red fruit flavors with a crisp acidity that makes it a great pairing with barbecue.
Fisher Ridge Syrah ($12)– From Putnam County, Fisher Ridge is the oldest West Virginia winery and does a marvelous job with this fruit forward and lighter styled version of syrah. Excellent balance and bright cherry flavors marry well with barbecue.
2011 Paul Mas Estate Carignan Old Vines ($11) – This red wine from is also from France’s Languedoc region and is produced from vines older than 50 years. With aromas of spice, tea and just a hint of oak, the wine exhibits dark fruit flavors that finish dry and pair well with just about any barbecue dish.
2011 Las Rocas Garnacha ($15) – From the Aragon region of Spain, this grenache is produced from 30 to 50 year old vines which exhibit blackberry, cherry and tea flavors to create a robust and full bodied wine. This would be excellent with grilled baby backs slathered with the aforementioned barbecue sauce.
2011 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano ($32) – Produced from 100 percent sangiovese grapes, this round, rich and full-bodied wine will meld its black cherry and cola flavors exceedingly well with a grilled and barbecue-sauced pork tenderloin.