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"Neutralque"

Photo: Oxmoor House
Hands-on time 3 mins
Total time 1 hr, 10 mins
Yield Serves 22 (serving size: 2 tablespoons)
There's no easier way to bring yourself to the verge of an anxiety attack than to read the contentious comment threads attached to anything online about barbecue--wait, BBQ, no, barbeque. The word is an evolution of the Spanish barbacoa. No? Maybe not? Okay, then it's a mash-up of the French barbe and queue--suggestive of snout-to-tail cooking--and therefore, nothing is really barbecue unless it involves the whole pig. People, please. I propose a new definition: Barbecue is the universal word for togetherness. This recipe is as neutral as it gets and can be used in any way you'd normally use barbecue sauce. You have to build on top of it to make it yours, your town's, your state's (take it away, Montana!). Feel free to tinker with ratios. Now, stop arguing and cue up. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups rough chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Nutrition Information

  • calories 82
  • fat 0.0 g
  • satfat 0.0 g
  • monofat 0.0 g
  • polyfat 0.0 g
  • protein 0.0 g
  • carbohydrate 21 g
  • fiber 0.0 g
  • cholesterol 0.0 mg
  • iron 0.0 mg
  • sodium 113 mg
  • calcium 20 mg

How to Make It

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.

  2. Bring to a boil.

  3. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes, covered.

  4. Carefully remove the lid, and blend with an immersion blender (or put the mixture into a blender with the center lid removed; cover opening with a towel). Puree until as smooth or as chunky as you like. This formula is a building block, and it's time to play.

  5. Add a splash or two of water if needed.

  6. Return the mixture to the pan, and, over low heat, simmer until the sauce is the texture you desire. Again, you can reduce tightly to a syrupy consistency, or not at all. It can take as long as an hour if you prefer sticky-sweet-syrupy sauces.

  7. Now, look at the sauces chart, look in your cupboard and your fridge, and start playing with herbs, spices, spirits, condiments, what have you.

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