Fiery foods, forgive my bad pun, are hot right now. A few years ago nobody north of Texas had heard of chipotle. Now it's on everyone's spice rack and there's even a restaurant chain named after the smoked jalapeño.
But in Bayou country, hot stuff has always been big. The first bottled hot sauces came out of Louisiana, home of Tabasco Sauce. Today there are lots of great hot and spicy barbecue sauces on the market. Some just burn from capsaicin (the active ingredient in chile peppers), but the best are complex blends and the heat is tempered with sweetness and savory.
Bayou Bite, my version of a great Louisiana Barbecue Sauce is a wonderful blend of sweet and hot peppers. Even if you don't like hot stuff, you really should try this one. It is a finishing and dipping sauce. It loses much of its fresh, bright goodness when cooked. So paint it on your meats near the end and serve it in a bowl for dipping ribs, and chicken, or spoon a few dollops on steaks and chops. The recipe below is medium hot. If you want it hotter, add 1 more tablespoon of Chipotle Tabasco Sauce. Go ahead, add more. I dare you.
Bayou Bite is especially good on shellfish, especially shrimp and oysters. I've even been known to dump it on top of a brick of cream cheese and serve it with crackers.
Yield. Makes 1 1/2 cups. Click here to calculate how much you need and for tips on saucing strategies.
Preparation time. 30 minutes to roast the peppers and 10 minutes to assemble
3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons Chipotle Tabasco Sauce
4 tablespoons distilled vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 pinches kosher salt
About Steen's. Steen's is made in Louisiana, so it is included for authenticity, but if you can't find Steen's, molasses will do.
1) Prepare the red peppers if you don't have them in the freezer.
2) Turn the heat on the grill down to medium. Peel the garlic cloves and wrap them in foil. Put them on the grill for about 15 minutes or until they are tender.
3) Put the pepper and garlic in a blender and puree. You should get about 1 cup of liquid. If you have more or less pepper juice, adjust the rest of the ingredients accordingly.
4) Add the remaining ingredients and liquefy. Taste and adjust the flavors to your preferences. Add more Tabasco if you want it hotter or more syrup if you want it sweeter. Bottle it in a clean jar and refrigerate. It will lose some of its freshness after a month or so.