Note from Margaret: My sidebar on Central New York barbecue products, intended to run with the May 22 cover story on lesser-known local barbecue joints for the Syracuse New Times, got left on the cutting room floor. That’s where a blog comes in handy!
Memorial Day is the traditional start of summer -- and the outdoor cooking season.
If you enjoy the thrill of the grill and food from the fire, why not enhance the experience -- and the flavor -- with a local rub, brine or sauce?
Here are some options:
Tom's Bootleg BBQ Sauce: Tom Armstrong is a chef who has worked at restaurants like Rosalie's Cucina in Skaneateles. He started making barbecue sauce and selling it in wine bottles, out of the trunk of his car, hence its name -- Bootleg.
The sauce is now made at Nelson Farms, near Morrisville, and sold in condiment bottles. It's thin in consistency but full-flavored, savory rather than sweet, with a slight kick. Try it with pulled pork and pulled chicken, or brush it on a tortilla and make a Southwestern-style pizza.
Find Tom's Bootleg BBQ Sauce at Green Hills Farms, the Blue Tusk in Armory Square, the Nelson Farms store and other locations. Click here for more information.
Dinosaur’s Roasted Garlic Honey Bar-B-Que Sauce took first place in the mild category of the 2012 The Hot Pepper Awards. Like more heat? Try the Wango Tango Habanero BBQ sauce and the Garlic Chipotle hot sauce.
Find Dinosaur sauces at Wegmans, Tops, Price Chopper - just about everywhere, including Amazon.com and online at the Dinosaur Store. Click here for more information.
Buck's is made in Mallory, Oswego County. A newer addition to the Buck's line is Buck's Zestier: salt, pepper, garlic and spices with a bit more zip than the original. Try it on wings, potatoes, ribs, eggs, burgers, popcorn -- you name it.
Look for Buck's in grocery and specialty stores and online. Click here for more information.
The company is named for his maternal grandparents, and Giruzzi uses some of their recipes. Look for Sammy and Annie Spicy Sweet Barbecue Seasoning, Spicy Sweet Barbecue Sauce Fennel Citrus Barbecue Sauce and others at the Westmoreland Summer Farmers Market, Oneida County Public Market in Utica and online. Click here for more information.
You know coffee tastes good in your morning cup. It also enhances the flavor of meats and imparts nutty flavor and notes of smoke.
Java Gourmet comes in a variety of blends and international accents, like Sicilian Citrus, Tuscan Seaside and Shanghai Six Spice Rub. The rubs are sold throughout the Finger Lakes, at the company store in Penn Yan and online. Click here for more information.
Miller's Dry Brine: Miller's Dry Brine is handmade at Miller's Meat Market, near Lowville, by owners, Danny and Charlene Miller. Among the most popular items at the market are the jerked meats in the meat case and the brine, a jerk rub for pork, beef and venison -- a friend also uses it on chicken.
"It's best if you rub it on at least the night before or even a full 24 hours,'' says my friend and former colleague Gina Chen, who has it shipped to her new home in Mississippi. "It makes the meat taste delicious and tender. ... It's the best rub we've ever found.''