Time For Some Barbeque

The end of May brings whispers of late spring, early summer activities and food. May is National Barbeque Month! Did you know? It took me nearly all month to come up with a killer barbeque (or bbq, for lazy orthographic artists).

First, let me say a little something about barbeque and what it is:

(n) bar·be·que: 1) a social gathering at which food is roasted over an open fire 2) a large animal (pig/cow) that is roasted over an open fire, spit, or pit.

bar·be·que: 1) to cook pork in a highly seasoned vinegar sauce.

Pork. Always pork. No beef, no chicken.

[this is NOT highly debated in North Carolina. But! You have to join one camp or another: do you like it chopped, sliced, pulled; With the red slaw or the green?; Vinegar-based or spicy tomato based? On a bun or with hushpuppies? The possibilities and the fights over authenticity will never end. I'm sure. But you can always join the North Carolina BBQ Society and argue with those folks.]

So...you can either go to a barbeque or eat it. But let it be known, that in the South, we eat barbeque. We don't go to one. We go to cookouts. Or just Cook Out.

I took it upon myself to make my own barbeque sauce for all of the meat I plan on roasting over the next 3 months. The wonderful people at POM Wonderful sent me a case of pomegranate juice and I drank a good bit of it, but I knew I needed to save some for culinary purposes.

Fast forward a few weeks and I'm drinking a local soft drink, Cheerwine, thinking about how great it'd be in a sauce. Cheerwine is Pennsylvania's equivilant to a wishniak. It's only sold in the Carolinas and there really is nothing like it. The fact that it comes in diet, makes it a staple in my kitchen. I digress...

So, bright idea #746: Pomegranate-Cheerwine BBQ sauce

The sesame seeds were just for photogenic quality. Hey, it looked pretty.

Pomegranate-Cheerwine BBQ sauce

Reduce equal parts pomegranate juice and Cheerwine (cherry-flavored soda can be substituted here) by 1/2. Add 1 part ketchup, 1 part light brown sugar, 3 cloves of garlic (minced) and white pepper to taste.

The result? A smoky, sweet sauce that goes fantastic on ribs...

Beef ribs, cole slaw, french fries, cornbread. The only thing missing were baked beans. And maybe a drop or two of Beano...

I used equal parts smoked salt, white pepper & my no-salt shake [a la Emeril] to rub down the ribs. I let them sit in the fridge for 8 hours before roasting.

Low & Slow: the keys to great ribs. 275 F oven for 3 hours. I basted the ribs after 90 min of cooking & had the sauce available or dipping at the table. Since I don't have my own grill in my tiny apartment, I have to cheat... A) use the stovetop smoker or B) use smoked salt.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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  1. Okay, Cheerwine has really peaked my interest. family vacation to carolina?

  2. I used some POM in a bbq sauce as well & it was so perfect...now how do I get some cherrywine

  3. Nikki, this looks absolutely delicious. I'll have to try it. Have you ever had a dish famous up in Harem called Waffles and Chicken? I just saw a special on Food Network (it was a Bobby Flay Throwdown) where this dish was served. The idea is really tempting.

  4. Mom: come on down! I'll show you guys around to all of the places that have good eats :) Pick a festival, drive on down!

    Teresa: I've never eaten chicken & waffles together, but I've heard of Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles in Harlem. I'm sure they're delicious...but I prefer biscuits with my chicken.

  5. I love that NC has a BBQ Society. It makes me think of people in fancy hats hashing out the minutae of hickory versus apple smoke, and about how much brown sugar makes the best crust.

  6. I love the sauce. I laughed reading the beginning the post about how it's only PORK, and then we see beef ribs. ;-) Those ribs looks mouth-meltingly delicious.

    (That is, they look as if they would melt in your mouth, not that they would actually melt your mouth)

    I never knew May was National BBQ Month. Now it's Jue and I missed it. :-(

    I'm so with you on the no-barbecue in-the-apartment thing. I want your stovetop smoker though.

  7. My husband and I are in two separate camps. He like barbecue North Carolina style best. Me? Texas.

    Thanks heavens we agree on who to vote for or we'd really be in trouble!


  8. Yum, a pomegranate sauce sounds wonderful. And for me...pork...pork and BBQ just go together for me.


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