Spo-fans know one of my hobbies is the creation of BBQ sauces. Every summer, I announce “It’s getting hot. It’s time for BBQ sauce”.

I research cookbooks and badger friends and relations for their Granny’s box of index card recipes. The later are charming. The recipes are written in elegant longhand, with titles like “Aunt Millie’s favorite”. This year I am trying atypical sauces viz. not ketchup based.

BBQ sauces have four elements to them:  heat, tang, and sweet, and a predominant flavor. Usually I like my sauces hot and strong – like my men. This year I am experimenting with more ‘tang’. I should expand my tastes, and Someone is a tired of concoctions that burn off his taste buds.

So far, the 2010 trials are only fair to good. I made one with bourbon and soy sauce as its base; it was a disappointment.

Trial #2 was rich in tomato and zinfandel wine flavors.  It won’t be my favorite, but it had lots of umami.

Umami is hard to describe. MSG enhances umami. Soy sauce has a lot of umami, as does red wine.

Here is a cooking tip – to make a dish more tasty, add a nubbin of soy sauce.  Add just enough not to taste the soy sauce but to enhance what umami is there.

I should face facts I have the best BBQ sauce already. Alas, I got it right almost right away, which spoiled the process of the pursuit. Further cooking trials are unnecessary, but jolly good fun !

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