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The Following is an excerpt from the Recipe Book.

Bar-B-Que (BBQ) as a method of cooking is not new and dates back as far as we can see. It all started when that first pig got trapped inside the hut as it burned down. Our long-forgotten ancestor, Ogg the Upright, put down his spear and club and went to clean up the mess. When Ogg burned his fingers on the hot pig carcass, he did just as you or I would do. He screeched out an 'expletive deleted' and put his fingers into his mouth to cool them down. Low and behold, those greasy digits tasted pretty good! In fact, the burned hut smelled a little like what would eventually be Sonny's BBQ Emporium some 2 million years into the future. Ogg then conducted the very first trade-off analysis:

"Are burned fingers OK in exchange for a roasted pig???"

He correctly concluded that a pig burned up in a hut was a darn sight better than a pig fresh from the mud wallow.

Before we really get into the BBQ subject too far, we need to make some distinctions. Besides the smoker or grill and the wood used, there are only three other items needed for great BBQ: Rub, Sop, and Sauce. These three items are covered in detail as you read on. Here are the definitions:

  • 'Rub' is a dry mixture of spices and seasonings rubbed onto and into the meat; the meat is then usually allowed to set for a short period after the rub is applied.
  • 'Sop' is a liquid containing spices and seasonings that is used to marinate the BBQ meat while it is cooking; this keeps the meat from drying out and adds flavor.
  • 'Sauce' is a mixture of whatever secrets the BBQ chef has contrived to add flavor to the eating process.

  • Unlike Rubs and Sops, BBQ sauce is NOT used during the cooking process.
  • It will burn/char.
  • Sauce is ONLY for the eating phase.

Our BBQ is pure Americana. It has further evolved in an interesting manner. It has a regional flavor (no pun intended). That is to say, different parts of the country have distinctly different tastes in BBQ, both the meats and the sauces. While the Rubs and Sops are somewhat similar in make-up, the preparation and the seasonings used for BBQ sauces often vary dramatically even within a small area of a State. For example, in North Carolina we find that the Eastern part of the State leans heavily towards a vinegar-based BBQ sauce, while those towards the Western border tend to prefer a thick, sweet-sour ketchup-based sauce. In close-by Georgia and South Carolina, mustard-based sauces are the norm, with the vinegar sauces running second. Go to central and Southern Georgia, though, and you'll find that a sweet molasses/tomato concoction is touted as the best (it is similar to the Kansas City sauce, which follows). Texans and other Westerners tend to favor their BBQ sauces with more 'heat', such as minced Jalapenos, other hot peppers and generous use of chili powders.

Kansas City, which boasts as being the `home of real BBQ', has a tradition of thick, spicy-sweet tomato-based sauces with a goodly amount of brown sugar cooked in. The Kansas City-style sauce has a little bit of everything in it (vinegar, mustard, tomato, corn syrup, chili powder, garlic, etc.), lending some credence that it could have been the basis for spin-off of a lot of the others. A very close commercial product is the K.C. Masterpiece sauce found at your local supermarket.

Memphis, Tennessee, has been recognized for a long time as the center of BBQ arts in the mid-South. It has its own style BBQ sauce, which is sort of a middle-of-the-road in terms of vinegar, mustard, heat and sweet. Like its Kansas City cousin, Memphis sauces would appear to have spawned-off many of the other more extreme-taste sauce blends found around the Nation. Memphis gets to try them all, too!. Every May, Memphis hosts the annual BBQ World Championships in a street celebration and cooking contest that holds second place to none. In fact, it appears that the BBQ contests wind up taking second place to the other events at times. Celebrity names put on stage concerts throughout the area, at all times of the day and night. Parades and displays are constantly coming and going and cooking teams from around the World and in all manner of dress and matching finery add to what may well be the `spectator spectacle of the South'.

At the Memphis extravaganza, BBQ smokers of every shape and description crop up in the contest area. Imagine a stainless steel Armadillo, six feet tall with a tail stretching upwards to 10 feet. The tail, of course, is the chimney of the smoker. A door in the side opens revealing a grill area that will accommodate several hundred pounds of meat at a time. The Armadillo's mouth contained a damper for fresh air intake control. The only thing on this innovative design that I couldn't figure a use for were the two, 6-inch polished brass spheres just under the animal's tail. Other steel and iron cookers take the shapes of trains, paddlewheel riverboats, pigs, and one was even in the cast iron form of a 10-foot high Jack Daniel's whisky bottle, complete with the familiar black and white label.

Rubs and Sops are found a little further on in this section, while recipes for the regional BBQ sauces mentioned above are found it the 'Special Sauces" section of this book. I dare say you will like them all, but one or two will inspire you to claim it as your favorite. Experiment with the recipe a little, though, and you may find something more fabled and sought-after than the ancient city of Atlantis: the 'perfect' BBQ sauce.

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