Kaycee “Red Menace” Sauce
Barbecue sauce is important in Missouri. St. Louis leads the nation in per capita sauce consumption, and Kansas City even hosts an annual sauce contest. Perhaps that’s why when most Americans hear “barbecue sauce” they think of the Missouri version—what you find at your grocery store, at chain restaurants, and on a McRib, for that matter. Oddly, you don’t find it at the Kansas City place that local boy Calvin Trillin famously declared to be “the single best restaurant in the world,” Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue, where the idiosyncratic sauce is long on the flavors of vinegar, black pepper, and onion. For a “Kansas City–style” sauce—tomato-based and very sweet, with a touch of heat—check out Bryant’s longtime rival, Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q. Ollie Gates says his sauce tastes good on broccoli. Cynics would say it tastes good on cardboard, and that’s why some of us don’t quite approve of it: You really can’t taste the meat it goes on. As Gary Wiviott says, sauces like Gates’s “can cover a multitude of sins,” so this is what to use if you’ve burned the chicken or undercooked the ribs. Food writer Hanna Raskin calls it a “sauce comb-over.” Barbecue blogger Meathead Goldwyn agrees; he says that sauces like these (“ketchup on steroids”) don’t penetrate the meat and “sit on top like frosting.” But he adds that when used as mops in the final minutes of cooking they caramelize well and add a nice glaze to ribs and chicken. Here’s an utterly typical Kansas City sauce, a lot like what Gates and Sons has served since 1946. (The bourbon’s not typical, but makes the sauce a lot more interesting.)
Servings
1 1/2quarts
Servings
1 1/2quarts
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring them to a boil over moderate heat.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25–30 minutes, stirring often. This freezes well.
Recipe Notes

From Barbecue: a Savor the South® cookbook by John Shelton Reed. Copyright © 2016 by the University of North Carolina Press.

Share this: