July 21, 2014

The exact origin of barbecue sauce is unknown. However, historians have a few leads. Prehistoric chefs found they could add flavor to meat and help preserve it by basting it with wine and vinegar seasoned with salt and seeds.

According to amazingribs.com early forms of barbecue sauce probably traveled with Christopher Columbus from Spain to North America. The meat was salted and dried before being soaked in sauce and then cooked in stews.

More than 500 years later, the first commercial barbecue sauce was produced in Atlanta, Georgia, by the Georgia Barbecue Sauce Company in 1909. Heinz followed with its own version of barbecue sauce in 1940.

Make your next dinner a little more sauce-y by revving up the flavor with a bit of barbecue sauce.

Beefy Barbecue Macaroni

Taste of Home has a way to help your hamburger by jazzing up a traditional comfort food. Add barbecue sauce, pepper and cayenne pepper to the ground beef before adding it to homemade mac and cheese.

3/4 lb ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 1/2 cups cooked elbow macaroni

3/4 cup barbecue sauce

1/4 teaspoon pepper

dash cayenne pepper

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup (4 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

additional cheddar cheese, optional

In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the macaroni, barbecue sauce, pepper and cayenne pepper.

In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter over medium heat until butter is melted. Stir in cheese until melted. Pour over the macaroni mixture; gently toss to coat. Sprinkle with additional cheese if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Baked Chicken in a Sweet Barbecue Sauce

Don't let it rain on your barbecue. If you can't grill your chicken outside, bake it in the oven in a sweet barbecue sauce instead. The sauce is made both smoky and sweet by adding chili powder, cumin and real maple syrup.

1/2 cup prepared barbecue sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup red wine

1/4 cup real maple syrup

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon dry mustard powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together the barbecue sauce, soy sauce, red wine, maple syrup, chili powder, dry mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Place the chicken breasts into a 9x13 baking dish, and pour the sauce over the chicken. Turn the chicken pieces over in the sauce to coat both sides. Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear, about 40 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a breast should read 160 degrees.

Remove the chicken from the baking dish, and keep warm. Pour the remaining sauce into a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Whisk the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until smooth. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce; reduce heat to a simmer, and allow the sauce to thicken, whisking constantly. Return the chicken to the dish, and pour the thickened sauce over the chicken to serve.

Makes 4 servings

Oven Barbecue Meatloaf

The next time you make meatloaf, reach for the barbecue sauce instead. It will add something special your family will devour.

1/2 cup KC Masterpiece Original or Hickory Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce

1 lb ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 egg

salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients. Mix lightly just to blend. Form into a loaf; place in shallow baking dish. Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Top with additional sauce if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Sweet Barbecued Pork Chops

You won't need anything special to make these flavorful pork chops. Just use what you have in your pantry.

These pork chops are easy to prepare and freeze for later. When you know you'll need dinner, but won't have time to prepare anything, just grab them from the freezer the night before.

2 tablespoons canola oil

8 boneless pork loin chops (3/4 inch thick and 8 oz each)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped sweet onion

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1/2 cup French salad dressing

1/2 cup honey

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. In batches, brown pork chops 2-3 minutes on each side. Return all to pan. In a small bowl, mix remaining ingredients; pour over chops. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 4-5 minutes or until a thermometer reads 145 degrees. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Freeze option: Place pork chops in freezer containers; top with sauce. Cool and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a covered saucepan, gently stirring sauce and adding a little water if necessary.

Makes 8 servings