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Coca-Cola Barbecue Sauce

Dare to be different: That's Jim Budros' motto, and his culinary open-mindedness has won the financial-adviser-turned-pit-boss a championship at the Kansas City Royal International Barbecue Contest. What's different about his barbecue sauce is its main flavoring -- an ingredient most people are more likely to drink than cook with: Coca-Cola. This isn't quite as strange as it sounds, because Coke is sweet, tart and spicy -- the flavor profile of most great barbecue sauces. Incidentally, pot roast braised in Coca-Cola is a delicacy in Venezuela.

1 cup Coca-Cola
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Wright's Liquid Smoke
1/4 cup A-1 Steak Sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Combine the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and gradually bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat slightly to obtain a gentle simmer. Simmer the sauce until reduced by a quarter, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the sauce to clean jars and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until serving. The sauce will keep for several months.

Makes 2 cups, enough to serve 6 to 8.

How to use: Pretty much as you would any sauce, noting the strong affinity this sauce has for chicken, ribs and pork.

-- Steven Raichlen

Thursday, September 28, 2000

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