By Our Recipes Shall Ye Know Us: Shep Hyken

BBQ, Family and Friends – The Best Combination

I love barbeque.  Maybe it’s because while growing up on every holiday and many Sundays over the summer we had these amazing dinners that featured barbeque hamburgers, big thick hotdogs, ribs and chicken.

Of course I remember the tastes, but even more, remember the fun times we had together with family and friends.

As I got older, my taste in barbeque became somewhat refined.  I developed a love for a particular sauce: KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce.  While this sauce is readily available in many supermarkets around the country today, that was not the case back in the 1970’s and 80’s as I was growing up.  The only way for me to get my hands on this hot commodity was to get my Aunt Pam, Uncle Harvey and Aunt Linda, who lived in Kansas City, to bring two cases of sauce whenever they came to visit — one case for my dad and one case for me.

My dad was the barbeque maestro.  He made the most amazing hamburgers.  I couldn’t understand why his burgers were so much better than mine.  Maybe it was his technique.  He taught me the cross-hatch method, where he gave the burgers a quarter turn, creating a cross hatch pattern with the charred marks.  Nope that wasn’t it. Then one day I discovered the secret.

The KC Masterpiece sauce was great by itself, but I saw what my dad did.  He added some “secret ingredients” that made that delicious sauce even more delicious: pancake syrup and pepper, giving the sauce an even sweeter and spicier taste.

I watched what he did and eventually started doing it for my own barbeque dinners.  Somewhere along the line I started adding some additional ingredients, tweaking the sauce to my personal taste.   I started with the basic sauce and added some brown sugar, some minced onions, fresh cracked pepper and some garlic.  Then I let the sauce simmer on low heat for an hour or so before using it to cook, which would break down all of the additional ingredients into an amazing, thick BBQ glaze that gave amazing flavor to whatever I was cooking.

Was this a case of the student surpassing the teacher?  I hardly think so.  It’s not even about the recipe.  I’d give up my modifications to have a few of those delicious family meals back.  My grandparents and my dad have passed on, but the wonderful memories of these family outings are permanently etched in my mind.

I wish you many happy family barbeques!

Shep’s “Doctored Up”  KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce

  1. Add a couple of bottles of KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce to a large saucepan.
  2. Add any mixture of the following ingredients to taste: brown sugar (or pancake syrup), cracked black pepper, minced onions, and very finely minced garlic.
  3. Simmer for one hour to meld the flavors.
  4. It’s good slathered on fish, meat, or fowl.
  5. Store unused sauce in the refrigerator.