Thursday, April 21, 2005

Barbecue season

It is getting warmer in Michigan after one of the worst winters in recent memory (apparently we broke the snow accumulation record for our city--whoo hoo...) Good weather in our house means we get to open up the grill again and cook outdoors. We are big on barbecue for a few reasons:
  1. My husband loves the stuff and is ridiculously grateful when I make any form of barbecued meat.
  2. You really must drink beer while cooking barbecue.
  3. barbecue demands good cole slaw and I love cole slaw (I'll post my two favorite recipes soon--one for cilantro/lime slaw and one for blue-cheese slaw).
  4. We have a pretty small house but a big deck and fenced-in yard, so when the weather is bad, we can only invite about 8 people over before the house feels crammed, but in good weather we can be super social and invite loads of people and their kids over.
  5. I discovered the best sauce recipe last summer when we embarked on our whole-pig barbecue project with four of our meat-loving friends (Sarah, Brian, Juliet, and Ken). It doesn't look like anything particularly special when you read the recipe, but the 100 or so people who came to the pig roast agreed it was terrific.
Best Barbecue Sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion -- chopped
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1 1/4 cups catsup
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and cook the onion and garlic, gently for 10 minutes. Add the catsup, vinegar, Worcestershire, brown sugar, chili powder, and cayenne, and mix well. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Makes about 2.5 cups.

And for those of you who want to know more about barbecuing a whole pig, I tease you with this photo of me with our piggy. Sometimes you have to threaten to bite them to keep them in line...

Me and our piggy, Joan-of-Ann-Arbor


Annie said...

That picture is hysterical. Have you heard of a caja china ( for pig roasting? It's what the Cubans in Miami (and in Northern Virginia!) use.

Can't wait to try the barbecue sauce!

Mary Jean Babic said...

I just ... love that photo. All of your reasons for barbecuing are spot-on. Hope Lou, Iris and I can join you in some beer-soaked meatfests this summer.

Kate said...

Hey Annie--I saw photos of caja china's when we were researching whole pig cooking methods--it sounds terrific and a lot less labor intensive than manning the barbecue pit starting at 4 a.m.

MJ--I'm really tempted to try barbecuing a whole lamb this summer. It should be pretty easy to get one what with all the halal butchers in the area. But I'd really need partners in such an undertaking (Sarah? Brian? tempted?).

John Baird said...

Cooking a version of this for the hundredth time this afternoon, maybe with molasses!