Barbecue Is Now
By Paul Kirk CWC, Ph.B., B.S.A.S.
Kansas City Baron of BBQ
Barbecue Guru
Order of the Magic Mop
Ambassador of BBQ
Certified Master BBQ Judge

Barbecue season is heating up, except for the ones who BBQ 365 and so on. There are a lot of marinades that competitors are using to marinate and inject chicken, brisket, pork butt and even ribs.

Sweet Brine for Pork or Poultry
3/4 c. kosher salt
1/2 c. molasses
1/4 c. white cane sugar
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
1/4 c. white pepper
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
12 oz. ginger ale
3-3/4 qts. distilled bottled water

Combine all of the ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil reduce heat and simmer until all of the ingredients have dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
Our next recipe is great marinate for brisket.

Beef Marinade
1/4 c. non-iodized sea salt
1/4 c. white cane sugar
2 c. water
1 c. soy sauce
1 c. apple cider
1-1/2 oz. Jack Daniels
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Fill a large container with above ingredients. Mix thoroughly until well dissolved.  Marinate as desired.
Our next recipe is great for chicken.

Chicken Marinade
1/2 cup dry white wine
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. snipped parsley
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and blend well.

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The Barbecue Sauce Unintentional Taste Testing

By Kent "The Deck Chef" Whitaker

I've been busy working on my new grilling book with several rounds of recipe testing. Many of the recipes are geared towards the home griller with some leaning towards those who love to go low and slow. One of the funniest things that happened was an "unintentional taste test" that my wife Ally and I held.

What was different from this testing session was that we did not realize that we were doing it. And, our guests had no idea as well. Here's what happened. We had a cookout, several friends came, we laid out the food, sauces, and some sides while guest brought a few extra dishes. The factor was time – or lack of it!

When we were pulling out sauces to go on the table I grabbed a couple with some other items from the fridge. One was a spicy mustard based sauce and one was a thin "Carolina" style finishing sauce. I never made it back to the fridge for the bottle of thick, dark, sweet and spicy barbecue sauce similar to those found on store shelves. I just ran out of time as I joined in on conversation… and cold beverages.

So, the result of the test was this. Nobody asked if I had some "regular" or "traditional" or "other" barbecue sauce. I was surprised as I thought about it earlier. For instance; my son, Sgt. M Whitaker, also known by his name Macee, loves thick and sweet sauces. This is true for my neighbor James, as well as Wes, and I'm pretty sure every guest under the age of fifteen.

Instead, I received lots of comments about the sauce flavor and other dishes. Taste testing for several recipes were done! And, it was a fun time with our friends.

I guess we all know that sauces vary from region to region, from state to state, and know from drive-thru to drive-thru. What's fun is realizing that sometimes you don't have to have options for everyone. Sometimes quality and great flavor covers all of your bases. Well, that's true until one of my nieces or neighborhood kids walks up to me and asks, "Uncle Kent, do you have any regular sauce?" Chances are that I'd scoot off to the kitchen and grab a bottle.

Kent Whitaker is a cookbook author and culinary writer with 14 books. He and his wife Ally live in East Tennessee. Kent's books are available at any book store or online at Connect with Kent on twitter at @thekentwhitaker.

Photo courtesy of Kent Whitaker/The Deck Chef

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Grilled Shrimp with Nut Sauce

Fire Up The Grill
By Steve Collins
The Home Chef

There are some wonderful sauces that come from Mexico dating from before the arrival of the Spanish. Many are flavorful mixtures of ground nuts or pumpkin seeds, flavored with chiles resulting in some complex tastes. This recipe is a stepchild of that tradition, simplified to accommodate our busy life. Using almond butter and almond milk this is fairly quick to whip together. You can prepare the sauce in advance and warm it at serving time or it can be done quickly while the shrimp are resting after being grilled.

Nut Sauce
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed & finely diced
1 tsp. Ground cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. ancho chile dried and ground
1 tsp. chipotle chile, ground
1/2 c. almond butter
1/4 c. almond milk, unflavored

1 lb. of the largest shrimp you can afford, peeled and deveined
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2"x4" planks
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp. jalapeno pepper, seeds removed & finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. butter

For sauce: Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and let it heat for a minute. Add the garlic, onion and jalapeno and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to be translucent. Add the cumin, oregano and chiles and cook for another two minutes. Add the almond butter and the almond milk and whisk to create a thin paste. Add more almond milk, if needed, to get a sauce consistency. Refrigerate until needed or serve immediately. (This sauce is great thick.)

Prepare a hot grill. Thread the shrimp, three or four to a skewer. Refrigerate them until ready to grill. Put the limejuice, jalapeno, garlic and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the butter melts. When the fire is ready brush the shrimp skewers and the zucchini slabs with the lime jalapeno butter basting mixture. Put the shrimp on the grill, directly over the fire and cook for three minutes. Flip and cook for three more minutes. Serve with heated sauce (or you can serve the sauce cold and use it as a dipping sauce. Serve with a salad and/or your favorite rice and beans.  

Notes: If you can't find ancho chile, use a good dried red chile. You should be able to find it in the International Foods aisle of most supermarkets.

If you would prefer to substitute other nut butters or nut milks, feel free.

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