I don’t think there is any meal that says summer quite like BBQ does. I mean, sure, you can eat BBQ any time of the year, but it just feels so right in the summer. Served alongside fresh-picked corn on the cob, and followed by a plate of juicy watermelon – for me, that’s what summer eating is all about!
This BBQ sauce is a little different from the usual sweet, tomato-based sauces. Although my inspiration for this sauce comes from a fantastic little BBQ restaurant up in the mountains of North Georgia (attached to a gas station, as seems to be a requirement for most great Georgia BBQ), this type of sauce actually has its origins in South Carolina. It’s based on mustard, instead of tomatoes (or ketchup), and is just a little sweet with a definite mustard and vinegar tang. Yes, it is a little different, but it is totally delicious. Use it on chicken, brisket, or a pulled pork sandwich. I keep a batch in the fridge most always lately, because my husband has decided that it’s even perfect as a dipping sauce for almost everything, including egg rolls!
Now I have to give a little confession here, and I make no apologies: this recipe uses a tiny amount of liquid smoke. I know, I know – there are purists out there who wouldn’t dream of using liquid smoke. The recipe will still work if you omit it, but it really helps to gives an extra boost of BBQ flavor to the sauce. If you want to substitute, you could get a bit of smokiness from using some smoked paprika or smoked salt. It is my belief, however, that liquid smoke gets a bit of a bad rap. Contrary to popular belief, liquid smoke really isn’t an artificial flavor, but is actually condensed smoke from hardwoods: see Serious Eats – Pantry Essentials: All About Liquid Smoke to read more about it (read the ingredients on your bottle just to be sure.) I recommend using the liquid smoke, but you are your own BBQ pitmaster, so it’s totally up to you!
Either way, don’t fear the mustard – give this sauce a try!