Barbecue Sauce

You know when you start a new job and everything is really confusing for, like, a month? And you're constantly just walking around in a state of confusion, but nothing is really hard, just new?
That's been my reality since April.

And then this week happened, and I finally knew what was going on, but what is going on, unfortunately, is complete mayhem.

So it's been a week of long days, with much-needed wine in the evening and a massage one day when I absolutely couldn't take it anymore. And all of that has combined to keep me away from my computer and away from posting the amazing recipes that I've been making. (Including a recipe for the best cake I've ever made-- coming next week!).

And then, to top it all off, we've had a full week of sunny, beautiful days with not a cloud in the sky, temperatures climbing to around 22C/70F, which is a total heat wave in Edinburgh. When the weather gets like this, everything just kind of goes on pause while the entire population flocks to any sunny space in the city, where we all stand with our faces raised to the sun, soaking up all the vitamin D we don't get enough of in the winter. This weather is particularly awesome this time of year in Edinburgh, because we're currently getting around 20 hours of daylight every single day. It's incredible. It doesn't get dark until around 11pm, and it's light again by 4am. So we had awesome sunshine all week, and then, at 5:30pm today a cloud rolled across the sun, and now it's grey, dark, cold, and raining outside my flat. Just in time for the weekend.

So, to console myself on that front, I'm making barbecue chicken for dinner. So what if it has to be made in the oven instead of on a grill, and so what if I had to make the sauce myself instead of picking it up, pre-bottled, from my favourite BBQ joint in the great state of Florida? I'll make my own (chunky?) barbecue sauce and enjoy it!

Or something like that. Anyway, I guess if I'm posting a recipe for something as polarising as barbecue sauce, I should preface this with my own (strong) opinions. First, a caveat: this recipe belonged to a born-and-bred Yankee with Polish heritage, and I can't imagine Eleanor really knew anything about barbecue. (She did, however, spend the last 35 years of her life living in the same city as my favourite BBQ joint ever, so presumably she had at least tasted good BBQ, even if she didn't have a background in it.)

I'll shoot straight with you: I like sweet, dark barbecue sauce that tastes more like brown sugar (with a vinegar kick) than tomatoes. And I hate the liquid-y vinegar used in NC barbecue. Judson, on the other hand, only likes vinegar-style barbecue. This sauce veered more toward my tastes than his, but it was definitely a bit more heavy on the tomatoes than I generally prefer, and the fact that it's not a smooth sauce is also a little weird, but not problematic. It has a great depth of flavour, though, that keeps it from being cloyingly sweet or mouth-puckeringly acidic. We both liked it (if our tastes in barbecue were plotted on a Venn diagram, this sauce would be the teeny-tiny shaded part in the middle), and now that we live in a country where we can't get American-style barbecue to save our lives, we'll probably make it again as it's not difficult and definitely satiated our craving for proper American barbecue.

The verdict:

3 spoons out of five. Not my (or Judson's) favourite barbecue sauce of all time, but it was still good and we'll definitely make it again when the craving hits. The perfect summertime dinner-- even if summer for you, like us, means temperatures in the teens (Celsius) and wind speeds in the 30-mile-an-hour range.

The recipe:

Barbecue Sauce

the directions:

Mix all ingredients and simmer in pan for 20-30 minutes.
Baste on chicken immediately before cooking or serve as an accompaniment to barbecued chicken.

the ingredients:

½ c ketchup
1/8 c vinegar
½ c water
½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tbsp honey
2 tbsp brown sugar
½ small onion, minced very fine
1 small clove garlic, minced very fine
1 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp chili powder
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Dash of Tabasco