If your palate needs a flavor jolt, you're in luck. Three mouthwatering barbecue sauces, each made by North Carolina entrepreneurs, are different yet versatile, and boost the sizzle of ordinary dishes.
Put zing in your grilled chicken with The Shizzle Jerk Marinade, which comes in two flavors: Voodoo Hot! and Original Recipe. Austin Williams, chef/ owner of the Big & Fine Food Co., created the sauce after he moved from Atlanta to Charlotte, and couldn't find a jerk marinade that satisfied his craving.
"I couldn't find anything that did it for me," says the 35-year-old Williams, who now lives in Raleigh. He experimented with the spicy marinade made famous by Jamaicans until he hit upon the right combination. Most jerk sauces are made with a scallion mash, he explains, but in his recipe, he substituted it with pineapple and garlic, which adds an onion-like taste.
"It's a bit sweeter than some jerk marinades. I'm giving a nod to American barbecue sauce," he says.
The Shizzle Jerk Marinade is available at Whole Foods and NOFO @ the Pig. Derek Wilkins, owner of the Meat House in Cary and Raleigh, says it's his go-to sauce. "The fresh pineapple really makes the sauce, especially on chicken. It brings out this great spicy sweetness."
Michael Lloyd of Durham grew up hearing about his great-grandfather Ollie Faison's secret sauce. "He called it Faison & Faison BBQ Sauce," Lloyd explains. Faison, a Georgia native, sold the sauce in a few Southern states from the 1940s through the 1960s.
His creation added the wow factor to cookouts, reunions and other family gatherings. The sauce, which includes cayenne and black pepper, was popular among four generations of Lloyd's family. Eventually, Lloyd decided he couldn't keep this recipe to himself and his family any longer.
In 2006, Lloyd reformulated the sauce substituting fresh tomatoes for ketchup, creating a "sweet version of hot sauce" he refers to as Country Boy's Num Num Sauce: Southern Style Grilling and Dipping.
"It's a whole new style of condiment," says the 32-year-old Lloyd. "It's right in the middle of barbecue sauce and ketchup."
Carrie DiPietro, a demo specialist at Whole Foods Market in Cary, loves the versatility of Num Num sauce. "It's good on meat, eggs, vegetables, fish and tofu," she says. "It adds a nice kick to dishes."
Num Num Sauce comes in mild and hot. It's sold locally in Whole Foods Markets and Fresh Market. It retails for about $5 to $5.50.
"I'm sharing what my family had been enjoying secretly," he says. "I'm sharing it with the world."
Triad Chef Barry Moody created Spice Delight Sweet and Zesty BBQ Sauce to use in recipes. Moody, a favorite with Fresh Market customers in the Triangle, is a regular guest at local stores. In fact, the Fresh Market in North Raleigh features a display of his seasonings, barbecue sauce and cookbooks in the store's entryway.
Triangle residents first encountered Moody several years ago through his Spice Delight All Purpose Food Essence, inspired by the seasonings his mother used in her fried chicken.
The 43-year-old former banquet chef at the Hawthorne Inn & Conference Center in Winston-Salem decided to share the spice blend when a customer requested it. But he didn't stop there. He also created Spice Delight BBQ Rub and wrote two cookbooks.
His tomato-based sauce is sweet with a little heat—perfect if you want to make his recipe for Oven-Roasted Baby Back Ribs featured in his Comfort Foods of the South cookbook.
"You can also add it to rotisserie chicken. Pull it off the bone and make a sandwich or a wrap with some coleslaw. Or put it on a bed of your favorite lettuce for a salad," he says.
Moody says some of the barbecue sauces he used for recipes were too thick and heavy. He also likes to add his sauce to a ground pork burger. "It has a strong flavor that stands up to the sauce," he says.
For a lighter and refreshing meal, he likes to add fresh pineapple chunks to a pot of his simmering barbecue sauce and then spoon it over salmon fillets.
"I'm trying to give consumers simple advice for healthy, flavorful food with minimal ingredients, minimal procedure," Moody says. "You don't have to have a lot of kitchen skills to prepare my recipes or use my products."
2 slabs baby back ribs
1 cup Spice Delight BBQ Rub
2 cups apple juice
2 cups Spice Delight Sweet and Zesty BBQ Sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse ribs and pat dry. Season both sides of the ribs with Spice Delight BBQ Rub. Marinate overnight.
When ready to cook, place ribs on the rack. Sprinkle additional rub on the bottom of the roaster. Pour apple juice in the pan to ensure the ribs are completely infused with the seasoning.
Place ribs on the rack in the roaster and cover pan with lid. Cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours until ribs are tender. If the ribs yield a lot of grease, pour it in an oil separator and return the apple juice mixture to the roaster.
Brush ribs on both sides with Spice Delight Sweet and Zesty BBQ Sauce. To brown, return the ribs to the oven for 20 minutes without the top on the roaster. Place ribs in serving dish. Pour the roasting pan juices over the ribs to add flavor and to keep the ribs moist.
Recipe courtesy of Chef Barry Moody, spicedelight.com.
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or breast fillets if preferred
1 cup Shizzle Jerk Marinade
4 potato rolls or preferred sandwich buns
4 tbs mayonnaise
For relish: 2 cups freshly diced pineapple
1/4 cup diced cilantro
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 tbs lime juice (juice of 1–2 limes)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp honey
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
If using chicken breasts more than 3/4 inches thick, cover breasts with plastic wrap and pound to 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick. This will tenderize meat and improve penetration of marinade. Thighs are already tender and absorbent and do not require this step.
Pat meat dry with paper towels. Place meat in zip-top bag. Pour in enough of the Shizzle jerk marinade to thoroughly coat the meat. Marinate for 1 to 24 hours in refrigerator.
To make relish, combine diced pineapple, cilantro, bell pepper and onion in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine lime juice, salt, honey, olive oil; whisk thoroughly to make vinaigrette. Pour vinaigrette over diced relish ingredients and stir thoroughly. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Cook meat on grill over low to medium heat to desired tenderness, ensuring that Shizzle Jerk Marinade becomes crisp and carmelized. If desired, meat can be broiled or cooked directly in a skillet. Place meat on warm or toasted potato rolls with a dab of mayo. Drain pineapple relish of excess juice, and place a generous amount of relish on top of meat.
Recipe courtesy of Austin Williams, theshizzlesauce.com.
Vegetable oil, enough to moisten the grill grate
4 6-ounce salmon fillets
Salt and black pepper
Num Num Sauce
Cooked white rice
Prepare grill by lightly oiling grate over medium-high heat. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper modestly on both sides. Place fillets onto grill. Brush a tablespoon of Num Num Sauce over salmon.
Grill salmon for 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Drizzle Num Num sauce over salmon before serving. Serve with rice.
Recipe courtesy of Michael Lloyd, numnumsauce.com.
Correction (July 30, 2011): The Shizzle Jerk Marinade photos were taken by Adam David Kissick.