by Kate Heyhoe
Paul Kirk, the Baron of Barbecue, has won more than 400 barbecue awards, including seven world championships. When not competing, he teaches saucemaking and barbecue techniques in Kansas City, Kansas. Only a lucky few can attend his Master Classes, but now he reveals the secrets of his culinary art in Paul Kirk's Championship Barbecue Sauces (Harvard Common Press).
If you want to improve your barbecue by creating your own personalized sauces and dry rubs, you need to explore the world of "flavorprints." A flavorprint is a list of spices that distinguishes a national cuisine, such as French, Italian or Mexican.
From the same book, also check out Barbecue Sauces
Here's a barbecue flavorprint, as described in Paul Kirk's Championship Barbecue Sauces:
Cajun spice blend
by Paul Kirk
Think of curry powder. It's got all those wonderful hot and sweet spices from India. You taste a dish that has a little curry powder in it, and you know you are tasting a flavorprint, or unique cooking, of India. You can work the same magic for barbecue. You just put the flavors together that say "barbecue."
Barbecue Spice can be as varied as the people who cook barbecue. But as a starting point, you want some heat, some pungent flavors, some sweet flavors, some aromatics. Here is a basic recipe to get you started. Add to it, subtract from it, make it your own.
Makes about 1/3 cup
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon dried light brown sugar*
2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground celery seed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt**
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground marjoram
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Combine all of the ingredients and blend well. Store in an airtight jar in a cool, dry place for 2 to 3 months, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
How to Use It:
Use Master Barbecue Spice as an all-purpose rub for meat, poultry or fish, or to add spice to a sauce or mop.
*Note: To dry brown sugar, place it on a cookie sheet and air-dry it for 2-3 hours, mixing it every 30 to 45 minutes, until it's dry. Sift before using.
**Note: I recommend non-iodized salt, as iodized salt can leave spots or streaks on the meat.
Paul Kirk's Championship Barbecue Sauces
Harvard Common Press, 1998, $11.95
Reprinted by permission
This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified January 2007
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