Wicked Good Barbecue

by Tara Bellucci on July 2, 2012

in Authors, Barbeque, Massachusetts

I like to be surrounded by cookbooks.  I let them pile up and inspire me.  Digging in to a new one or leafing through an old favorite make me equally happy.  They are a rainy day comfort, I can pick one up before bed, heck, some even make great beach reads.  And this one – Wicked Good Barbecue – touches Boston, barbecue and bacon jam. Love. -Maggie

As a lifelong Yankee, I don’t have to discriminate against barbecue. I’m free to love tangy Carolina pulled pork, smoked Texas brisket, or ribs slathered in the thick, sweet sauce of Kansas City equally and without prejudice. But when two guys from Boston win the biggest barbecue competition in the world? Well, that inspires some serious hometown pride.

Andy Husbands and Chris Hart have been competing on the barbecue circuit for over 10 years, and in 2009, their IQUE team took the top prize at the Jack Daniel’s World Championship.

Barbecue may be one of the original slow food mentalities, and these two chefs emphasize using the best and the freshest, and doing it right, no matter how long it takes. But more than just a book of really long recipes, Wicked Good Barbecue reads as if you happened upon Andy and Chris tailgating, they tossed you a beer and welcomed you behind the pit. Whether you’re a newbie that’s never seen a smoker or already have your own secret sauce, there’s something to learn from their jovial spirit and love of the craft.

Andy’s South End restaurant, Tremont 647, is one of my favorites for creative spins on classic favorites, and this book embodies that spirit. Beyond the list of ribbon-winning recipes are inventive dishes, some of which are truly outrageous.  Take the $100 Meatloaf, for example, or the 7-Layer Dip of Disbelief.  For the dip, you may want to take their suggestion of having a gaggle of friends each bring a layer, or you’re sure to be broke and broken by the end (but gluttonously satisfied, surely).

As tempting as truffled Wagyu meatloaf is, I decided to stick with what I know: jam. Though this isn’t just any jam: it’s bacon jam. I’ve made bacon jam before, but this is different. I don’t know if it’s the sweet heat of their signature dry rub or the slow caramelizing of the onion base, but it’s addictive and I’m sticking it in everything lately – from slathering it on burgers to sauteing it with chard. It’s perfect for breakfast with a fried egg on toast.

Two cups is a lot of condiment, but like good barbecue, it’s meant for sharing and will be gobbled up in no time.

We’d love to hear what food you pair with Bacon Jam!

Bacon Jam

Makes about 2 cups

Adapted from Wicked Good Barbecue

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs sliced bacon
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 Tbs IQUE rub (recipe to follow)
  • ½ c. cider vinegar
  • ½ c. whiskey
  • ½ c. maple syrup
  • 5 Tbs light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs hot sauce

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, fry the bacon over medium high heat until fully cooked through but not crispy. Drain the bacon, reserving 2 Tbs of bacon fat.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the onions to the pan with the bacon fat. Cook until very soft and golden brown, stirring often,   about 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and the IQUE rub to the pan, stirring to coat the onions, and cook until fragrant, 3 minutes more. Add the vinegar, whiskey, syrup, sugar and hot sauce and bring to a boil, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is thick and sticky, about an hour. Cool to room temperature.
  4. Chop the bacon and add to a food processor with the cooled onion mixture. Pulse 5-6 times to achieve a jammy consistency.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

IQUE Dry Rub

Makes about 3 cups

Adapted from Wicked Good Barbecue

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. turbinado sugar
  • ¾ c. kosher salt
  • ½ c. high-quality paprika, preferably Spanish
  • 6 Tbs. Chili powder
  • 2 Tbs. Cumin seeds
  • 4 tsp. Mixed peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 4 tsp. Garlic granules
  • 3 tsp. Onion granules
  • 1 tsp. Chipotle powder

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a spice grinder and pulse until it becomes a fine powder. Refrigerate in an airtight container. Though it will keep indefinitely, use within 1 month for the freshest flavor.

All photos styled and taken by Tara Bellucci.

Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans.  We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can  order today.

Tara Bellucci

Tara Bellucci is a lifelong New Englander who grew up in the kitchen and never left. A founder of the Boston Food Swap, it's her mission to share culinary creations and connect people through the joys of real food. Outside of swapping, Tara writes about décor & design for Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn. See what she’s up to at tarabellucci.com.

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  • http://twitter.com/ShutUpNCook Shut Up & Cook

    Bacon Jam?!? Could it be?? What could possibly be better…and love the title…being a Boston girl myself I’m always thrilled to hear someone else still says “Wicked”.

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      So delicious, right? Go Boston girls…

    • http://www.tarabellucci.com/ Tara Bellucci

      Seriously, this bacon jam is wicked pissah!

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