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The 1-2-3 breakdown

Memphis Style Triple-S Barbecue Sauce

Memphis Triple-S Barbecue Sauce

This is my favorite style of barbecue sauce as it has all the elements I like in a barbecue sauce:  sweetness, smokiness and some spice.  Once you find a good sauce recipe it’s easy to modify by adding or eliminating flavors to come up with a completely new sauce.  Common add-ins are liquor and beer, different chiles, different sweeteners like honey or sugar, dried herbs, citrus flavors via juice and zest and even more exotic flavors like tamarind and chocolate.  Honey and chipotle is one of the more common variations seen these days so don’t be afraid to try something new.  Just remember that sugar will burn so if your sauce is really sweet don’t use a lot of it until the end or better yet use it only for dressing and dipping.

The wet:

  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup cola (Coke, Pepsi, RC, Dr. Pepper)
  • 1/4 cup steak sauce
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons molasses (robust if available)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco, Cholula, Tapatio)
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

The dry:

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bbq rub
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder
  • 1 tablespoons lemon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

First, combine all the wet ingredients in a large saucepan and slowly bring to a low boil over medium heat.  Too hot too fast will scorch the sugars and you cannot fix that.  If that happens throw it out and start over.  You will thank me later.

Second, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well.

Third, reduce the heat on the saucepan and stir in the dry ingredients.  Let your sauce simmer on low for 30 minutes or so to thicken it up and concentrate all those flavors.  The sauce will also thicken once it cools down so don’t over cook it.  Whatever sauce you don’t use just transfer to a jar and refrigerate where it will keep for about 30 days.

Bob’s Basic BBQ Rub

Yeah, yeah there’s a million and one versions of the basic BBQ rub, what is so special about this one?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  That is the beauty of the basic rub.  Not too pretentious, not too overpowering, not too fancy yet not too boring.  In classic French cooking, you master the master sauce and then from that sauce, you can create countless variations.  This is an outdoor cook’s primary seasoning agent.  From this recipe you can swap the sugar for maple syrup or honey, add different types of chile powders, and even add spices like ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg and dried herbs like thyme, rosemary and oregano.  You can get salt that was mined from various regions that will impart unique flavors just don’t overload the rub with too many options as the subtle salt flavors will be lost.  If you have whole black peppercorns and whole chiles you can lightly toast them over low heat to help release their essential oils.  Drop them into a spice grinder and viola! you have amped up flavor.

Makes about 1 cup

  • 1/4 C coarse salt, like kosher or sea
  • 1/4 C paprika
  • 1/4 C packed brown sugar
  • 3 T ground black pepper
  • 1 T granulated garlic powder
  • 1 T granulated onion powder
  • 1 T chile powder, like dark NM
  • 1 t cayenne chile powder

A Southern Glaze

Danny at his restaurant in Carlbad, NM

Danny at his restaurant in Carlbad, NM

Danny Gaulden is the owner of Danny’s Place, a destination for barbecue lovers in Carlsbad, NM  His simple sauce recipe is legendary on the internet. The idea was to create a simple glaze that adds sheen and brings another level of flavor, but not so much as to cover or mask the other flavors.  You can see his original recipe at his website, but what we have here is a slightly modified and amped up version. This is an ideal glaze for a ham but works equally well on ribs, pork loins, chicken wings and even bacon.

This will yield 1 quart.

  • 3 Cups brown sugar (que the Stones)
  • 3/4 Cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 Cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Southern Comfort
  • 1 teaspoon salt

You can make this NA by substituting more cider vinegar for the SoCo, or add less vinegar and more liquor.  Additionally you can use any liquor that gives you that added layer of flavor like brandy, bourbon, American whiskey and even dark rum.  If you like a little heat add a few teaspoons of hot sauce, or add some BBQ rub to give it a little depth, even adding 2-3 Tablespoons of butter will make it nice and silky.  Substitute part of the brown sugar with maple syrup to get a maple glaze, or honey for a honey glaze.  I suggest to start will 2:1 ration for brown sugar to maple syrup/honey.  If it doesn’t have enough of that flavor you are looking for, add a touch more.  Do not be bound by the recipe!

Cajun Magic Dust

There’s a handful of rubs that everybody needs to keep onhand all the time.  This is a classic Louisiana spice rub known for it’s lip smackin’ spicy blackened flavor.  Whether you are cooking pork, chicken or catfish this rub packs a ton of flavor from the peppers, garlic, onion and herbs.  Cayenne and black pepper with a background of paprika, garlic and onion and then highlighted with dried herbs, oregano and thyme.  The longer you leave this on pork and chicken, the better the flavors penetrate.  Pork chops, pork loin, pork shoulder and even bacon take on a wonderful cajun flavor.  You can leave the rub on for several hours to overnight which is best but it’s ready to go once it hits the meat.  You can also use this on almost any type of seafood, from fish like catfish, tilapia and salmon to scallops and shrimp.  I take squash and asparagus, lightly toss them with oil and then hit them with the rub before I grill them.  As with most spices, you need oil and not water to release their essential oils.  So whatever you are using the rub on just use a little neutral flavored oil as a base.  I highly recommend you make a batch and  then keep some handy in spice jar.  This is a top 5 must have for anyone who likes spicy foods and loves to grill.  Or make a big batch and create spice jars to have as part of a gift spice rub box for friends.  Share the love!

  • 8 Tablespoons paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons Cayenne (+/- to your taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon pepper
  • 6 Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 Tablespoons onion powder
  • 6 Tablespoons kosher salt *
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons dried thyme

* Remember kosher salt is lighter and fluffier than normal table salt, only use 4 Tablespoons of table salt

Collard greens


Collard greens, straight from the grocer

Collard greens are a green large loose leaf vegetable in the same family as broccoli and cabbage, though it more closely resembles kale and spring greens.  Collards are a good source of vitamin C and soluble fiber, and also contain multiple nutrients with potent anticancer properties.  It is a relatively thick leaf with a thick fibrous stem in the middle.  You basically use your knife to follow the sides of the stem to cut it out.

Glide the knife along the rib

Make a short stack of cut leaves and then do a rough chop.  Some folks like to roll the leaves and do a chiffonade but I like my food more rustic, plus this is easier for everyone.

I like to rough chop, easy money

I use the OXO brand salad spinner, this model is a few years old but still works like a champ.  I take the basket piece to hold my cut collards.

Once all the collards are destemmed and chopped I rinse them off in the sink, shake the basket a bit, then rinse again.  If your collards are a little wilted, you just need to soak them in cold water for a bit.  This works with a variety of veggies!  Once you are happy the greens are sufficiently rinsed, pop them into the spinner and blast away.  I again do it twice just to get out as much water as possible.

Now we need to get the fat we are cooking these in, BACON! Get out 3 or 4 slices of bacon (smoked thick slice is best) and chop into small pieces.  Get out the pan you are using to cook your greens in, I usually pick a tall enough pan to hold all the greens and one that has a lid.  Over medium low heat get the bacon cooking, we need to render out the fat to cook the greens in.    A vegetarian variation would be to use olive oil or your favorite cooking oil.

Once your bacon is good and cooked add your greens, reducing the heat to low.  Give them a good stir trying to coat all the greens with fat.  Cover and let the heat and steam do work.  No salt at this time as the greens are reducing and a little salt could turn into a lot of salt.  Plus the bacon has a natural salty flavor it is imparting to the greens.

Collards just added to the bacon fat

Turn occasionally to avoid any burning, plus getting the hot fat on all the leaves will aid the wilting process.  After a couple of minutes add a splash or two of a light vinegar, I use rice vinegar.

Nakano Rice Vinegar


After 30 minutes you should see something like this:

Cooked collards with bacon

Taste and season with salt and pepper, more vinegar or a shot of hot sauce.

And finally the finished product:

Plated collard with bacon