Finger Lickin’ Good BBQ Sauce

I haven’t always been a huge barbecue sauce fan, but I obviously was going about the whole thing wrong. For the first time ever (!) we (I say we as if I had anything to do with it, but the truth is, I was getting my hair done and Billy was busting his ass in the kitchen. I can only take credit for forwarding him this recipe.) made homemade sauce and slathered it on some fall-off-the-bone-tender ribs. Oh. My. GOSH. I have never been so fond of BBQ sauce my entire life. I literally licked my fingers clean. After each rib. That’s right, I’m not afraid to admit it.

Conveniently, at the exact time our ribs were slow cooking in the oven Georgia from The Comfort of Cooking posted about her awesome experience creating BBQ sauce (and also slathering it on ribs). I sent the link to the hubs, who was holding down the fort for the day, and we both immediately knew that we’d be whipping up a BBQ sauce that night. While we didn’t follow Georgia’s recipe exactly, we did use it as a basis for what we ended up with. And let me tell you, we ended up with the absolute best barbecue sauce we’ve ever had. It was sweet, spicy, tangy and sticky. This sauce was the very definition of finger lickin’ good.

Finger Lickin’ Good BBQ Sauce

{Print this Recipe}
Here’s what you’ll need:
Makes: about 1 cup (enough for a full rack of ribs, plus a little extra)
– olive oil
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 tsp dried minced onions
– 3/4 cup brown sugar
– 1 tsp dry mustard
– 1/3 cup ketchup
– 1/4 cup soy sauce
– 2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
– 2 tbsp Sriracha
– 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
– 2 tbsp white wine
– salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
Everyone brace yourself, I don’t know if you’ll be able to handle the intense directions that lie ahead!

In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the garlic and onions until the garlic becomes fragrant, about two minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and stir well to make sure everything is combined. Bring the mixture to a bubble (not quite a boil, but make sure there’s some bubbles forming around the edges of the pan) and let it simmer away for about 15 minutes, or until nice and thick and flavorful.

Yes, it’s literally that easy. I’m sure you’re wondering, much like we were in between delicious bites of homemade BBQ sauce slathered ribs, why you’ve never made barbecue sauce before.

Billy’s saucy creation was sweet, spicy and tangy all at the same time. All the familiar flavors of a traditional barbecue sauce were great, but the hint of Asian flavor really made this sauce something special. The sweetness from the brown sugar really lent itself to the kick from the Sriracha. Move over Pat and Gina Neely, here comes a new pit master!

We slathered our new favorite BBQ sauce on a nice rack of slow cooked, quick grilled ribs and chowed down. I don’t know if there’s a better vehicle for BBQ sauce than ribs, but I definitely think this sauce was best suited for that fall-off-the-bone kind of meat that comes from slow cooking.

I’m no barbecue sauce expert or anything, but I do know what tastes good — and this sauce definitely tasted good. All the ingredients are subjective, so feel free to play around with the measurements or add or take out anything you like. But please give BBQ sauce a shot. You won’t be disappointed.

P.S. Thanks, Georgia, for the inspiration!

Cajun Fried Wings

We love chicken wings, so when I saw Des from Life’s Ambrosia’s post on her Aunt’s famous wings (with a kick, of course), I starred it in my Google Reader and put it on my ever-growing list of recipes to try. Well, we finally tried them and they were amazing.

It’s basically a crime (well, at least to all you chicken wing lovers out there) to have sauceless wings, but I’m here to tell you that these wings don’t need any sauce. That’s right, I said it. We made sauceless wings and we loved them. When it comes to flavor, these wings get a huge boost from a two hour marinade in cajun seasoning, honey and olive oil .

Cajun Fried Chicken Wings

{Print this Recipe}
Here’s what you’ll need:
Serves: 4
– 1 1/2 lbs chicken wings, tips trimmed
– 3 tbsp cajun seasoning
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1 tsp honey
– 1 tbsp corn starch
– 1 cup flour
– 2 tsp salt
– oil for frying (anything that holds hear well will do, but something on the healthier side is our favorite)

Instructions:
Prepare your chicken wings by trimming the tips and separating the drumette from the…other part of the wing thing that I don’t know the name of. (You don’t have to do this, but it makes them more like restaurant style wings.) Rinse the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel.

In a large Ziploc bag, combine the cajun seasoning, olive oil and honey. Throw the chicken in the bag, seal and mix everything around so the wings are nice and coated with the mixture. Refrigerate for two hours.

After the chicken has been marinading, combine the corn starch, flour and salt in another Ziploc bag. Transfer the chicken from the marinading bag to the flour bag and toss around to coat all the wings with a nice layer of flour. Remove the wings from the bag and let them sit out on a plate for about 15 minutes before frying (this is a good time to start heating your oil).

Heat about two inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan (or you can use a deep fryer) over medium-high heat. Bring the oil to 350 degrees and start frying the chicken, in batches to hold a constant temperature, until golden brown and cooked through, five to seven minutes. Transfer the fried chicken to a plate lined with paper towels to cool and drain off the excess oil.

I can’t lie when I say that these are probably the best homemade chicken wings I’ve ever had. Sauceless or not, these were the bomb. They were crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, and packed with a ton of flavor from the cajun marinade. I’m a dipper, so we decided to make a little cajun aioli to dip in, which was awesome (thanks to Billy) and complimented the wings perfectly.

I think this is a pretty versatile recipe, so I’m excited to try these again with different flavor bases. Thanks, Des, for an awesome wing recipe! Make sure to check out Des over at Life’s Ambrosia for this and other awesome recipes!

Grilled Chicken with Garlic-Herb Dressing

Do you ever grill chicken and think that it’s just missing some flavor? When it comes to grilling meats, sometimes it seems like there’s only a few flavor options. The first person that comes to mind when trying to solve a grilling dilemma is Bobby Flay. But that’s not where we turned for this delicious grilled chicken recipe. From now on, I think it’s going to be difficult to have grilled chicken without Tyler Florence’s garlic-herb dressing.

Here’s what you’ll need:
– 1 or 2 heads garlic, cut in half horizontally
– salt and pepper
– 1/2 cup olive oil, plus 2 tbsp
– 2 whole thyme springs, plus the leaves from 6 sprigs
– the juice of 2 lemons
– 1 small bunch fresh parsley
– 1 whole chicken (or any combination of chicken pieces you prefer), cut into 10 pieces

Before you can do anything with this recipe, you have to roast the garlic. This is going to take at least 30 minutes, so make sure you account for the extra time it takes to get everything prepared. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. To roast the garlic, place the halved head(s) face-up on a large piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add two whole thyme sprigs to the top. Fold up the aluminum foil to make a little packet and throw in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the cloves are golden brown and soft.

Once the garlic is done, squeeze all the cloves out of the skin into a food processor. Also add the olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, and parsley and puree until you get a smooth, thick vinaigrette-type dressing. Now you’re ready to grill! About halfway through the cooking (after about 20 minutes) start basting the chicken with the dressing. The outside of the chicken will caramelize a little and get a result in a great crusty, crispy skin.

This was seriously the best grilled chicken I have ever had in my life. Once we took it off the grill, we added a little more of the dressing for an added flavor boost. I’m not sure that it needed it, but it sure made it tasty! The flavors of the garlic, lemon and herbs really came through in every bite of chicken…not just the skin (although the skin was the best part). The skin was nice a crispy, but not burnt, and the meat was nice and tender and juicy. I said it last time we made a Tyler Florence recipe and I’ll say it again — it’s called Tyler’s Ultimate for a reason! The deliciousness of this chicken is unexplainable. Period.

You can find the recipe in Tyler’s latest book, Tyler’s Ultimate, or on the Food Network Web site. And I highly recommend you find the recipe and try it out. You won’t be disappointed!