Two little things to make your summer more summery: homemade barbecue sauce and my favorite side dish of the season, cabbage with cilantro, garlic and lime. A slaw, if you will.
First, the sauce. You can make your own barbecue sauce a thousand times more delicious that those overpriced bottles of sludge in the market. It's SO easy and so quick and you probably already have everything you need in your pantry.
I don't have a recipe to give you. I'll just tell you roughly what I put in mine and that you can do it how ever you'd like to and it will still taste great.
The base is tomato sauce or ketchup. Seriously, ketchup is fine. Don't turn your nose up at the idea. I use ketchup and it's great. I was surprised by that but it's true. I also add a little squeeze of tomato paste concentrate from a tube to deepen that tomato flavor even more.
Next, add any combination you wish of any of these ingredients according to your taste:
- cayenne pepper
- garlic powder
- onion granules
- dry mustard
- salt and pepper
- brown sugar
- black strap molasses (don't need much, but it does deepen, darken, thicken and sweeten nicely)
- honey (does what molasses does without the deep and dark)
- apple cider vinegar (just a little goes a long way. perfect for adding a little acidity)
- Worcestershire sauce
- tomato paste
In the version you see pictured, I put everything but the mustard, onion granules, honey and brown sugar. Sometimes, I put those in and omit other things. It depends on what I'm cooking and what I'm in the mood for. It's hard to go wrong. Just taste as you go and season accordingly.
Mix it all up, apply to meat while grilling, eat 'em up yum. It's the simplest thing in the world and you'll wonder why you ever spent $5 on a jar of stuff that doesn't really taste as good as yours.
Next is the cabbage slaw that Kid Cayenne and I eat tubs of all summer long. It is light, refreshing, limey and garlicky... some of our favorite things. Disclaimer: it does contain raw garlic, which I know is a bit much for some, so omit that if you think you'll hate it or want to kiss someone who hasn't enjoyed your slaw.
Cilantro Lime Cabbage Slaw
1/2 head of green cabbage, finely shredded with a sharp knife or mandolin
3 TB cilantro, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced as finely as you can manage (optional)
juice of 3 limes
2-3 TB extra virgin olive oil
lots of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. (I can't imagine that this would do very will with regular salt and pepper)
Add all ingredients to a very large bowl and toss until cabbage is coated. Adjust seasonings accordingly. This slaw benefits from plenty of salt and pepper. Please try to go for the kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I can't imagine that granulated salt and finely ground pepper would do well here at all.
Goes beautifully with barbecued chicken, sausages or hamburgers. Goes beautifully with lots of things, really. Makes a big bowl... probably 6-8 servings.
Do any of you have any bbq sauce or slaw variations that you love? Please tell me about them.
edt: I forgot to mention that this is perfect as a side or topping for soft tacos and fajitas!