Friday, April 24, 2009
Most of the time the Kitchen Genius and I are on the same page in the same cookbook in the kitchen, but every so often he does something that simply makes me shake my head. This week it happened again when he brought home a jar of “authentic” Chinese barbecue sauce to make some Chinese ribs.
I’m not going to name the brand here because I’m afraid they’ll sue me if they happen to have a “Google Alert” out on their name brand and read what I have to say about this product. (I know - paranoid, right?)
The sauce was as thick as mucus and florescent pink. Here’s a list of the ingredients: high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup water, salt, miso (water, fermented soybeans, rice & salt), modified corn starch, hydrolyzed corn protein, garlic powder and red (dye) # 3.
Is there anything in that list that sounds like real food? Like something you actually want to put in your body? Nope, me neither.
But KG dug in his heels and insisted that he wanted his ribs smeared with this viscous product. I let it go. He’s a big boy and I’m not the Food Police – plus we weren’t having the ribs until the following day.
The next day I was browsing through the May issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine and came across a recipe for “Pulled Pork with Strawberry Barbecue Sauce.”
AHA – a (kind of) pink barbecue sauce that was all natural. Excited, I called KG and tried to lure him over to my recipe, instead of that offensive jar of goop that I desperately wanted to throw in the trash.
Nothing doing. He said strawberry barbecue sauce sounded gross. You know what that means, don’t you? Yep, a throw-down.
Our son Tommy thought it was a fun experiment and agreed to be the judge. Before the ribs went into the oven, his comments were that my sauce tasted really good, but the stuff in the jar looked like candy. Uh, oh…
I spread half the ribs with the Chinese barbecue sauce in one baking dish and half with the strawberry barbecue sauce in another, using spoons to spread them both evenly over the pork. Cue scary music here…
Two hours later when I went back in the kitchen to take the ribs out of the oven, I noticed that the stainless steel spoon I used to spread the Chinese sauce was actually tarnished BLACK. See for yourself:
It was so shocking that I showed the two spoons to Tommy.
“Do you really want to eat something that would do this to a spoon?” I asked. “Think about what this must do to your insides!” (Not that I was trying to sway the judge, because that would be just plain wrong – and ineffective. Tommy simply shrugged.)
Here's the candy covered meat:
Here's my 100% natural strawberry covered ribs:
The results: Our poor son is a very nice boy who loves his Mama. He hemmed and hawed and wouldn’t commit to a winner. “They’re both really good,” he said many times, before finally admitting he liked the ribs with the Chinese sauce “a little bit better.”
That’s what I get for letting a 13 year old be the judge. As quirky as it sounds, the strawberry barbecue sauce really was tasty (and the offending jar has disappeared forever).
So which would YOU rather eat?
Strawberry Barbecue Sauce
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens magazine
2 cups strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup ketchup
1/8 cup cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 dashes hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan. Cook over medium low heat for about 20 minutes, until strawberries are softened. Mash strawberries with potato masher.
To make ribs:
8 country style meaty pork ribs
Line bottom of baking dish with aluminum foil. Place ribs in pan and smother with half of the barbecue sauce. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours. Remove ribs from pan and slather with remaining sauce. Cook on the grill for about 5 to 7 minutes until nicely charred.
For a printable recipe click here