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Carolina's Secret Sauce
At Bessinger's Bar-B-Q in Charleston, It's All About the Mustard
Hands down the world's best barbecue is in Texas. Or is it Kansas City? No, wait—down South? Truth is, it all depends on where you're from—and folks from South Carolina say they have the baste thing going. Charleston's Bessinger's Bar-B-Q is famous for its sweet, tangy mustard sauce, one of the four basic barbecue types in the U.S. (besides mustard, there's vinegar and pepper, light tomato and heavy tomato). Honing recipes brought over by 18th-century German settlers, the Bessingers have been in the biz since 1946, when "Big Joe" Bessinger opened a restaurant. Today his son Thomas Bessinger and his boys Tommy, 47, and Michael, 32, run the carousel wood-burning pit that slow cooks pork, chicken and ribs slathered in the family's secret sauce. Michael shared a version of the recipe (below), but "if I gave you the whole recipe and my father found out," he says, "I'd have to move to Canada."
Combine Bessinger's special sauce with shredded cooked smoked pork and serve on buns for a great sandwich. It can also be used to baste chicken, beef, pork or sausage during final 5 to 8 min. of grilling time, or combined with ground beef or turkey when making burgers.
BESSINGER'S GOLD SAUCE
Makes: 1½ cups
½ cup yellow mustard
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
½ teaspoon hot sauce
7 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon black pepper
Combine mustard and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, whisking until sugar dissolves. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.
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