Dishing Up Memories: Dads and barbecue sauce

Both of our dads loved to grill and preferred to make their own barbecue sauce. There were other similarities between them as well. Both grew up poor during the Great Depression, a fact that impacted who they were internally for the rest of their lives. Both served in the Navy in World War II in the Pacific. Both were artistically gifted––my dad was a professional artist; Bob’s dad could have been. Both were only children and looked after their mothers for long years after both were widowed. Both loved the outdoors and loved to hunt. Both were amazing dads. And, both had a wicked sense of humor.

At our wedding rehearsal dinner, the entertainment was a slide show (yes, in 1974 that’s all there was) entitled “This is your life, Bob and Margie, OR ‘Gee, I thought she was a blonde.” The comment on not being blonde came the first time I met Bob’s grandmother Lillian. Apparently, she hadn’t got the message that the blonde was out and that I was in. Bob’s dad never let me forget it. He even gave me a blonde wig for a Christmas present.

Probably the funniest photo of the night was of young, teenaged Bob, modeling his Christmas-present long underwear by posing as Atlas. Bob laughed so hard he had tears streaming down his face.

There were many funny pictures that night. For example, because the bridesmaids (all sisters) would mostly be seen from the back, the dads collected pictures of our sisters in less-than-glamorous positions taken from behind. It was hilarious.

Interesting story: When Bob and I were moving to Louisville, Kentucky, for him to go to seminary, our dads went with us, driving a small U-Haul truck with our few possessions. During the eight-hour drive, my dad, Monk, kept looking at Bob’s dad’s face. After awhile, Monk asked Jim if he had ever posed for publicity photos at Warner Robbins Air Force Base. When Jim replied he had, Monk realized that he had painted a picture of Jim in an airplane. My dad worked at Lockheed in Marietta for most of his career as an illustrator and artist.

Small world, huh. In honor of these men that we dearly loved and deeply miss, I’m sharing both of their Barbecue Sauce recipes. To be honest, my dad’s recipe came from Aunt Estelle, one of his mother’s sisters. However, both of these men fiddled with their recipes until they thought their’s was the best. You decide and tell me what you think.

Both our dads loved to grill and liked to make their own barbecue sauce.

Monk’s Barbecue Sauce

Mix together:

1 bottle catsup (regular size)

Juice of 6 lemons

2 sticks of butter

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vinegar

2 Tbsp mustard

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper

1/2 bottle Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp brown sugar OR 1/2 bottle Coca-Cola (regular size)

Put on stove until hot and butter is melted. Don’t boil. Baste meat every 20 minutes until done.

Sauce can be stored in refrigerator for several weeks.

Jim’s Barbecue Sauce

3 cups catsup

1 Tbsp Tabasco (2 if hotter sauce desired)

1 cup tomato sauce or 1 cup V-8 juice

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp dry mustard

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 soy sauce

1/2 cup dark molasses

1-1/2 cups onions, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic

2 tsp salt

1/4 cup liquid smoke

1 (15-oz.) can beef broth

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. When cooled, place mixture in a blender to get a smooth texture (blend for 15 seconds). Remove and strain mixture through mesh strainer. Place in small glass containers and seal. Makes about 5-8 cups of sauce.

Updated September 9, 2020.

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