The Barbecue Lover’s Big Book of BBQ Sauces

by Cheryl & Bill Jamison
Photographs © 2015 by Gabriella Marks

Facts: Harvard Common Press, 336 pages $16.95 (or Amazon Paperback $13.98, Kindle $9.99)
Photos: About 35
Recipes: 225

Regardless the date on the calendar, Memorial Day says “Hello Summer – Welcome Back!” And nothing says summer like barbecue.

Cheryl and Bill Jamison have been writing cookbooks dating back to 1995, capturing four James Beard awards. Their fourteen cookbooks focus primarily on grilling, smoking, and barbecue, with a couple honing in on Texan and New Mexican cooking. They left their (outdoor) comfort zone a couple times, writing “A Real American Breakfast,” “American Home Cooking,” and “Around the World in 80 Dinners.”

American Breakfast” and “American Home Cooking” were two that won Beard awards, so straying from one’s comfort zone is occasionally a good thing.

Barbecue Lover’s Big Book of Sauces” is chock full of recipes — 225 to be exact — divvied up by main dish, i.e., pork, beef and bison, poultry, lamb, etc. So choose what you have a taste for and then you can focus on which method of flavoring preparation you wish to use. You’ll find a wide selection — dry rub, marinade, a “mop” or baste or sauce. Case in point: for a game bird choose from a Jerk Paste, Dirty Martini Marinade, or Crafty Beer Mop (among others) and add a condiment like Prosciutto Finishing Salt on a side of vegetables; or for ribs or pork tenderloin choose a Sweet Coffee Sop or Rum and Mango Marinade, and add their Mango Chutney-Pickapeppa Glaze to finish.

There are lots of creative choices here. If you aren’t well versed when it comes to flavor profiles, there are lots of tips and suggestions included in the headnotes and the variations accompanying each recipe.

Finally, they’ve included chapters on grilled veggies and fruit,plus other condiments like smoked walnuts and bacon toffee!

I’ve picked out this bacon jam to share, and it can top most anything, including a silky piece of chocolate!, but it looks great on a burger, doesn’t it?


Bacon Jam

Photography © by Gabriella Marks

Bacon jam is magnificent topping a burger or spread over some sliced tri-tip. Heck, you could probably pour it over a boulder and make it taste palatable. Feel free to try it on other types of food, too – perhaps grilled sweet potatoes or asparagus, or simple grilled bread slices. The uncooked bacon will be easier to chop when it is just out of the refrigerator. We think the jam works best on grilled rather than smoked foods.

Makes about 2 cups

1 pound sliced bacon, preferable something pretty smoky, such as Nueske’s, chopped
1 large yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup or agave nectar
1 bay leaf or 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

1. Fry the bacon in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the bacon is brown and crisp, after about 15 minutes, remove it with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and reserve.

2. Pour off and set aside for another use all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and stir the onion into the fat that remains in the skillet. Continue cooking over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent, about 7 minutes more. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

3. Pour in the vinegar and scrape up the mixture from the bottom of the skillet. Add the coffee, brown sugar, maple syrup, bay leaf, and reserved bacon. Stir well. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until very thick and jammy. Remove the bay leaf. We like the texture as is, but if you wish, you can puree about half of the jam in a food processor and then stir it back in.

4. Use warm, or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days and reheat as needed. Dollop it on dinner as you would with any jam.

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