I’ve shared this recipe before, as part of my Country Ribs with Golden Eagle Barbecue Sauce post. The sauce isn’t a typical barbecue sauce – it’s not sweet, there isn’t the usual molasses or brown sugar. It’s more of a peppery-bite-you-back kind of sauce.
The recipe has been in my husband’s family for decades. In the Wisconsin Rapids area, the Golden Eagle Tavern and grill was legendary. When I was putting the post together for the country ribs recipe that included the sauce, I searched the internet in hopes of finding some vintage photographs of the Golden Eagle tavern, but I came up empty. However; I did stumble on a travel site where people from the area fondly recalled the tavern of their youth and wishing they had the recipe for the awesome sauce. Naturally, I obliged them with a link to my country ribs recipe. Last week, I heard from a gentleman who stumbled upon my post via the travel site that was so touching. It’s really what sharing recipes is all about – the memories.
“Thanks for providing the story and sauce recipe from the Golden Eagle. I just turned 80, but remember the peppery bbq sauce and the yellow lights from the bbq shack outside The Golden Eagle peeking from the piney woods like it was yesterday. You’ve given many people great joy.”
The sauce goes well with just about anything you can slap on a grill – ribs, beef brisket, smoked pork, chicken – it’s all good eating.
Tonight Hubby was strutting his grill-skills with chicken thighs slathered in the peppery-sauce. As usual, he grilled those bad boys to perfection – moist and tender all the way to the bone, with just the right amount of caramelized sauce and crisp skin to let you know you’re in grill-heaven. Everyone has their own way of grilling, and grilling varies so much from grill to grill, it’s almost impossible to say this way or that way is the definitive way to cook on a grill. All I know is it was darn good barbecue in our house tonight.
For the chicken, we did soak the thighs in a saltwater brine for several hours before grilling. The bone-in thighs were grilled for about 10 minutes over a medium fire before the sauce was applied, then he continued to turn every 10 minutes, slapping on sauce with each turn. All total, it was about 45 minutes on the grill.
The sauce is simple to make. This recipe will make more sauce than you can usually use (we cooked up 2 pounds of chicken and barely put a dent in the sauce). It stores well in the fridge, although the peppery flavor does intensify over time, so watch out for those last few drops!
Golden Eagle Barbecue Sauce
1 Bottle Hunt’s Ketchup (32 oz) – see note
3 Tablespoon Dry Mustard
2 Teaspoons Ground Pepper
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
½ Cup Cider Vinegar
½ Cup Water
1 Tablespoon Chili Sauce
1 Tablespoon Hickory Liquid Smoke
Pour ketchup into a heavy saucepan. Add Mustard, Ground Pepper and Worcestershire Sauce. (To get all the ketchup here’s a little trick that beats the heck out of turning the bottle up-side-down: pour the required amounts of cider vinegar and water into the now nearly empty ketchup bottle. Close bottle and shake well, pour into saucepan). Add Chili Sauce and Liquid Smoke. Whisk well.
Bring sauce to a rolling boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, let “steep” until ready to use – the longer the better.
Refrigerate any unused sauce. (The empty ketchup bottle works well, just be sure to label it “Barbecue Sauce” so no one gets a surprise on their burgers or French fries).
NOTE: For whatever reason, Hunt’s Ketchup is the only brand that works well with this sauce. Apparently “Ketchup is Ketchup” isn’t an accurate statement when it comes to this recipe because when other brands were used, the results were less than desirable. I have the original hand-written recipe, and Hunt’s is underlined – further emphasizing that no other ketchup will do.
Happy Grilling everyone! If you like what you see, let me know. Comments are always welcome.