I can eat barbecue any time of year no matter what the weather is like outside. If it’s a hot summer day, we’ll often have the grill fired up cooking up something for dinner. If it’s a cold winter’s day and there’s a blizzard, we’ll often have the grill fired up ….well maybe not every blizzard, but you get the drift.
Today I decided to give Kevin a break on grilling, and I baked some barbecue chicken thighs. Yes, I know, it doesn’t have that smoky, delicious taste that you get from slow cooking BBQ over charcoal, but it’s still my barbecue sauce, and that’s half the game anyway. And it made me think of summer and how it can’t get here soon enough.
I’ve been making this barbecue sauce ever since Kevin and I have been married. I’ve posted a recipe below, but to be honest, I haven’t followed it in years. Yes, it has the basic ingredients and approximate amounts (because one time I actually did measure everything as I went), but I’ve always made it “to taste.” Melt a pat of butter, add in some ketchup, mustard, garlic powder and other stuff – stir and taste. And taste and stir until I get just the right combination. Then I let it simmer to reduce just a bit, usually timing it to when Kevin needs it to slather on the chicken or ribs or whatever else he’s decided to barbecue for dinner. Feel free to adjust any of the ingredients to suit your family’s taste. If you like it spicier, add in more hot pepper sauce or be a bit more adventurous withe horseradish. Or kick up the amount of brown sugar and molasses for a sweeter taste. However you make it, it’s barbecue, and dinnertime tastes a whole lot better because of it.
I’ve named the recipe after my husband’s nickname simply because he first made it for me when we were dating. However, I make the BBQ sauce now (after tweaking his recipe).
Woodrow’s Barbecue Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup ketchup
1/8 to 1/4 cup prepared mustard
2 dashes Lawry’s seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
2 to 3 dashes hot pepper sauce
Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add remaining ingredients, stirring well to dissolve brown sugar. Cook over low heat until hot and thick-do not boil. Adjust spices to taste. Remove from the heat and use immediately, or store in the refrigerator.
Yield: Approximately 1 cup
Baking Instructions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Place skinless, boneless chicken thighs in the pan. Cover liberally with barbecue sauce. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
I also made a spinach salad to go along side the BBQ chicken – nothing fancy, but I wanted to get some kind of greens on the table. This goes together fast, and you can use your favorite dressing with it. Tonight I decided to make a honey balsamic vinaigrette, which is tasty with just a hint of spicy kick to it. Word of caution about this dressing: do not substitute olive oil that has been infused with garlic for the garlic cloves and olive oil. If you think you can kill two birds with one stone by doing this, you’re more likely to run off any vampires within a 5-mile radius. I did this boo-boo once (and only once). My family and I love garlic, but that was garlic overload 101. Just stick to the 2 cloves of garlic and the EVOO, and you’ll be just fine.
Spinach Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
For the Salad:
1 package fresh spinach
4 ounces slivered almonds
4 ounces dried cranberries
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
For the Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For the salad, wash and dry the spinach leaves. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss to combine.
For the salad dressing, add all the vinaigrette ingredients except for the olive oil to a blender. Puree on high until blended, and then slowly add the olive oil. Continue blending for about 2 minutes, or until thick. Use right away, or chill until ready to serve. You can drizzle this over the entire salad, or you can pass the Mason jar at the table and let everyone add their own amount of dressing.