A.A. Bondy - American Hearts (buy)
Estelle featuring Kanye West - American Boy (buy)
First, a happy belated 4th of July to you all. I hope yours was filled with friends, food, and fireworks. And freedom! Can't forget the freedom.
It rained for the third or fourth year running here in New York, but not before some friends and I got in a solid 7 or so hours of beer drinking and barbecuing at my friend Eric's house (home of the garden, not to mention two grills). Somewhere over the last two summers, it seems we all reached an implicit understanding that each barbecue would have to be better than the last, which means that the food keeps getting better and more elaborate. I couldn't tell you the last time someone dared show up with hot dogs. Or actually, I can, but it involves getting scalded by a core of molten cheese that exploded forth from the cheddar dog belonging to a woman sitting next to me, and I'd really rather not relive the details.
Anyway, this year's 4th of July feast included grilled jalapeños with cheese and grilled tortillas, mesquite smoked baby back ribs; elotes with cotija, chilli, and lime juice; a garden salad with Japanese turnips (I figured out what to do with them), fennel, red onion, and orange-almond dressing; roasted Chioggia beets and lemon thyme; grilled skewers of zucchini, golden zucchini, and summer squash; and what is definitely the best barbecued chicken I have ever eaten.
Dan's mom emailed him a copy of his Gran Dan's barbecue sauce recipe a couple weeks ago, and he had been itching to give it a try ever since. I couldn't wait, either. Growing up in New England, we didn't have much of a barbecue culture -- grilling, sure, but not barbecue -- and I'm still in the process of learning the intricacies. Vinegar, mustard, or tomato base; smoking or grilling; wood, coal, or gas. I had no idea it was so complex.
This particular barbecue sauce is straight from Dan's home base in Raleigh, NC, where vinegary barbecue reigns supreme.
Of course it doesn't hurt that a melted stick of butter is at the heart of this recipe, but the sauce creates an incredibly succulent piece of chicken, with just a slight tang of vinegar and a little heat from the Texas Pete. (I wouldn't dare change the brand of hot sauce. I trust that Gran Dan had his reasons.)
Or, if you prefer being able to cut and paste:
Gran Dan's Bar-B-Que Sauce (Best on chicken)
1 stick butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt per pound of meat
2 teaspoons sugar per pound of meat
1 6-ounce bottle Texas Pete hot sauce
2-3 cups vinegar
Dip meat in sauce or baste and cook on grill, slowly, for approximately one hour. Turn and dip or baste often.
Note: Good on ribs also.