South Carolina is known for its barbecue sauces based on mustard (see South Carolina Yellow Mustard Sauce), especially in the belt between Columbia and Charleston. Most contain yellow mustard, cider vinegar, hot peppers, and sugar. Others are variations on the honey-mustard theme. I love the classic South Carolina sauces, but I wanted something a bit more interesting and complex.
Savory herb flavors are great with pork, so I started with a classic SC mustard recipe and added layers of complexity by adding rosemary and other more subtle flavors. If the classic SC mustard sauces are trumpet solos, this is a full orchestra. There's a lotta of stuff in this recipe, but try not to leave anything out.
When I served it to Keith Miller, a good friend who has reviewed many of my recipes, he said "Wow, this is a mustard sauce for grownups!" And it had a name. Alas, it does not have the sheen of a typical tomato-based sauce, but it sure does taste good! It also works great on chops or even a loin.
Yield. Makes about one quart. Click here to calculate how much you need and for tips on saucing strategies.
Preparation time. About 30 minutes.
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup onions, finely minced
6 tablespoons sweet red pepper, finely minced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons ground celery seed
2 teaspoons finely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes for mild sauce
1 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
2 cups prepared Dijon-style mustard
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons powdered mustard
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon granules or 2 cubes dissolved in 1 ounce of water
About the hot pepper flakes: Double the amount for medium heat, and triple it for hot.
Optional: Garnish with minced fresh sweet red bell peppers or, if you like the heat, minced red jalapeño. In the picture above the ribs are also garnished with caramelized onions.
1) Put the oil into a two quart sauce pan, and warm it on a medium-low heat. Add the onion and sweet red peppers and sweat them until the onions are limp. Add the garlic and cook it for about a minute.
2) Add the dry ingredients except the sugar. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes in order to develop and extract their flavors.
3) Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Bring to a low boil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently to keep the sugar from burning or sticking to the bottom. Simmer on low for another 15 minutes.
4) Cook the ribs, preferably outdoors with smoke. Add sauce near the end.