Thursday, November 5, 2015

AE's Pulled Pork and BBQ Sauce Secrets

Pickled salmon - the most popular post... Until now?

It’s funny what catches on when writing a blog. Having posted things about fishing, camping, ice carvings, exploring Nome and other neat Alaska type stuff, the singularly most popular post for this blog came out over three years ago, in April of 2012. Since that time, it has had more visits than any other post. In fact, if one Googles “best pickled salmon recipe,” the search displays a link to that post, usually in the top five results. Today, it’s number two.

In an effort to see if there is any chance another post about a personal recipe could generate that kind of response, we’re going to talk barbecue. BBQ isn’t a subject totally unfamiliar to the blog. In 2012 a post mentioned pulled pork. As I recall the intent was to provide the “secret” recipe for the rub, but I got sidetracked. Well, we’re going fix that. Not only is this post going to provide the rub recipe, but also the heretofore ultra-secret, if-I-told-you-I’d-have-to-kill-you recipe for my BBQ sauce. 

Rubbed and ready to go

Pork butt dry rub:
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/4 cup paprika (smoked is best)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne

Mix the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl with a whisk, then rub it liberally on the pork butt just before putting the butt in the barbecue. Place the butt fat cap up on the grate and cook with indirect heat at around 250-300 degrees using apple wood chunks to generate lots of smoke. A pan with water should be placed directly beneath the butt to keep it moist and catch the drippings. 

Indirect heat, lots of smoke creates a good bark

Cook the butt for about four hours on the barbecue, or until a dark “bark” forms on the outside of the butt. Pull the butt from the grate, double wrap it in heavy duty foil and continue cooking it in a conventional oven at 300 degrees for another 4 hours. Take the butt out of the oven and wrap with a towel and allow to sit for an additional hour. At that point it should be falling apart and easy to pull.

The BBQ sauce to mix in with the pulled pork is the product of over twelve years of fooling around. It started with a basic recipe and is the result of trying out variations until just the right taste - in my opinion - was achieved. It’s called Brain-Slappin’ BBQ Sauce because your tongue will slap your brains out trying to get to it. 

Rested and ready to pull.

AE’s Brain-Slappin’ BBQ Sauce

2 1/4 cup (24 oz. by weight) Catsup (I use Heinz)
2/3 cup White Vinegar
1/2 cup Lee & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce (a dash more if desired, after simmering)
1 - 2 teaspoon Tabasco (depending on how spicy you like it)
3 Tablespoons ground chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Juice of 1 fresh lime, or 2 Tablespoon bottled Key Lime Juice
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Espresso or very strong coffee

Directions: Mix all ingredients except the brown sugar and espresso in a glass or stainless pan and bring up to almost boiling. Stir in the brown sugar. Bring to boiling stirring frequently, then reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally. The secret is to get the brown sugar to caramelize a bit without burning the tomato base. Gently simmer for at least an hour. In the course of simmering, the sauce will thicken a little, and mellow out. Test the flavor by dipping a saltine cracker in the sauce. The sauce will still have a little “bite” to it at this point.  

Brain-Slappin' Sauce is good on brisket, too!

Make a double batch of espresso, or about a half cup of very strong coffee. Add a tablespoon, or two, of the coffee and stir it in and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Test the sauce again. The coffee tempers the bite. Repeat adding small amounts of coffee until the sauce is a little more mellow to your taste.

With the pork pulled thoroughly, stir in enough of the sauce to very lightly coat the meat. Additional sauce can be added, if desired, after serving. My favorite way to serve this is on a bun with a thin slice of onion and a dill pickle on the side. 

The sauce goes well with ANYTHING grilled or barbecued. However, due to the tomato and sugar content it will burn easily.  Do not use it as a baste on anything while cooking. Use it as a condiment/dipping sauce at the table, or mixed into cooked, shredded meat.

Hope you enjoy.


  1. This sounds so good, thanks for sharing this delicious looking recipe.


  2. Thank you for the great recipe! I will try to cook it. Recently I bought the rice cooker and now I like to cook dishes with rice. This rice looks so great! With the device, I will cook it faster and without any trouble. Rice cookers are created for teaching us to love the dishes with rice. The cooking process became so simple with it! You can check it out here.

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