I like to be surrounded by cookbooks. I let them pile up and inspire me. Digging in to a new one or leafing through an old favorite make me equally happy. They are a rainy day comfort, I can pick one up before bed, heck, some even make great beach reads. And this one – Wicked Good Barbecue – touches Boston, barbecue and bacon jam. Love. -Maggie
As a lifelong Yankee, I don’t have to discriminate against barbecue. I’m free to love tangy Carolina pulled pork, smoked Texas brisket, or ribs slathered in the thick, sweet sauce of Kansas City equally and without prejudice. But when two guys from Boston win the biggest barbecue competition in the world? Well, that inspires some serious hometown pride.
Andy Husbands and Chris Hart have been competing on the barbecue circuit for over 10 years, and in 2009, their IQUE team took the top prize at the Jack Daniel’s World Championship.
Barbecue may be one of the original slow food mentalities, and these two chefs emphasize using the best and the freshest, and doing it right, no matter how long it takes. But more than just a book of really long recipes, Wicked Good Barbecue reads as if you happened upon Andy and Chris tailgating, they tossed you a beer and welcomed you behind the pit. Whether you’re a newbie that’s never seen a smoker or already have your own secret sauce, there’s something to learn from their jovial spirit and love of the craft.
Andy’s South End restaurant, Tremont 647, is one of my favorites for creative spins on classic favorites, and this book embodies that spirit. Beyond the list of ribbon-winning recipes are inventive dishes, some of which are truly outrageous. Take the $100 Meatloaf, for example, or the 7-Layer Dip of Disbelief. For the dip, you may want to take their suggestion of having a gaggle of friends each bring a layer, or you’re sure to be broke and broken by the end (but gluttonously satisfied, surely).
As tempting as truffled Wagyu meatloaf is, I decided to stick with what I know: jam. Though this isn’t just any jam: it’s bacon jam. I’ve made bacon jam before, but this is different. I don’t know if it’s the sweet heat of their signature dry rub or the slow caramelizing of the onion base, but it’s addictive and I’m sticking it in everything lately – from slathering it on burgers to sauteing it with chard. It’s perfect for breakfast with a fried egg on toast.
Two cups is a lot of condiment, but like good barbecue, it’s meant for sharing and will be gobbled up in no time.
We’d love to hear what food you pair with Bacon Jam!
Makes about 2 cups
Adapted from Wicked Good Barbecue
- 2 lbs sliced bacon
- 1 large sweet onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 Tbs IQUE rub (recipe to follow)
- ½ c. cider vinegar
- ½ c. whiskey
- ½ c. maple syrup
- 5 Tbs light brown sugar
- 2 Tbs hot sauce
- In a large skillet, fry the bacon over medium high heat until fully cooked through but not crispy. Drain the bacon, reserving 2 Tbs of bacon fat.
- Reduce the heat to medium, and add the onions to the pan with the bacon fat. Cook until very soft and golden brown, stirring often, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Add the garlic and the IQUE rub to the pan, stirring to coat the onions, and cook until fragrant, 3 minutes more. Add the vinegar, whiskey, syrup, sugar and hot sauce and bring to a boil, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is thick and sticky, about an hour. Cool to room temperature.
- Chop the bacon and add to a food processor with the cooled onion mixture. Pulse 5-6 times to achieve a jammy consistency.
- Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
IQUE Dry Rub
Makes about 3 cups
Adapted from Wicked Good Barbecue
- 1 c. turbinado sugar
- ¾ c. kosher salt
- ½ c. high-quality paprika, preferably Spanish
- 6 Tbs. Chili powder
- 2 Tbs. Cumin seeds
- 4 tsp. Mixed peppercorns, freshly ground
- 4 tsp. Garlic granules
- 3 tsp. Onion granules
- 1 tsp. Chipotle powder
- Add all ingredients to a spice grinder and pulse until it becomes a fine powder. Refrigerate in an airtight container. Though it will keep indefinitely, use within 1 month for the freshest flavor.
All photos styled and taken by Tara Bellucci.
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