I have a list of items that I stock up on whenever we make a run to New Orleans -- Camellia red beans, olive salad and a couple rounds of Italian bread , Savoie's Roux in a jar, Cafe Du Monde Beignet Mix (for my children who insist there is only one real beignet), various perishables such as Leidenheimer french bread and turtle, alligator and crawfish meats, and one of my favorite"secret ingredients", Steen's Pure Cane Syrup.
The Steen Syrup Mill has been producing cane syrup in south Louisiana for over 100 years. At last month's International Food Blogger Conference in New Orleans, local food historian and personality Poppy Tooker speaking on sustainability, promoted the idea that the way to save the region's "endangered local foods" like Steen's cane syrup (as well as Creole cream cheese and rice calas) is "Eat it to Save it". This is my contribution.
Sweet and Spicy Steen's Barbecue Sauce
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
- 5 cups roughly chopped red onion
- 1/3 cup minced garlic
- 5 cups ketchup
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup Steen's syrup
- 1/4 Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the onions to the dutch oven and saute for 10 minutes or until the onions wilt and begin to turn translucent. Add the garlic and continue to saute for about 5 minutes, until the excess liquid has cooked off.
- Stir in the ketchup, apple cider vinegar, Steen's, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke and red pepper flakes. Add the salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce, or cool the sauce before transferring it in batches to a conventional blender. After pureeing, simmer the sauce for 3-5 minutes. Taste to correct seasonings and remove from the heat.
Yield: 6 cups
I made this batch of sauce to serve with pulled pork sandwiches topped with Creamy Cole Slaw (a serving will be about two tablespoons per sandwich). Since I planned to store and serve the sauce in plastic squirt bottles, it needed to be completely pureed and very liquid. The longer the sauce cooks, the thicker it becomes. If needed, the sauce can be thinned with a combination of water or chicken broth and vinegar. I also use this sweet and spicy sauce to baste ribs or chicken before taking it off the grill. If that is the plan, I usually cook the sauce down for about twice the time since thicker, richer and chunkier is a beautiful thing.