The meat should stand on its own.

Out of the thousands of barbecue joints I’ve eaten at over the years, the sauce was of such quality that it bore mentioning only a handful of times: Rountree’s Hickory Pit, Luling City Market, Louie Mueller, and the all-time king-Archibald’s. The best pit bosses spend their time hovering over a hardwood fire not standing over a cook stove stirring a sauce.

Have you ever shook hands with the saucier of a serious kitchen? His formidable grip is hard-earned after eons spent stirring and stirring his creations. This recipe is an homage to those men, the wiry-armed Vietnamese sauciers of the world.

Recipe: Vietnamese Barbecue Sauce With Red Boat Anchovy Salt

4 cups chopped sweet onion

2 T. Red Boat Anchovy Salt

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 bunches green onions, minced

3 cups tomato ketchup ( ketsiap was invented in China)

1 cup Turbinado or plain brown sugar if you can’t get the good stuff

1/2 cup soy sauce

3/4 cup rice vinegar

6 tablespoons chile paste with garlic (Sambal Oelek)

1 c. Water

* Heat heavy bottomed sauce pan with butter

* Add onions and Red Boat anchovy salt, cook for one hour or til heavily caramelized

* Add green onions, cook 20 minutes more

* Add remaining ingredients, simmer one hour

* Purée with bur mixer, force sauce through China cap

Voila!

You now have a delicious Vietnamese inspired barbecue sauce that you can slather on anything. I like it on pork spare ribs but it also goes great on smoked chicken thighs, brisket or lamb ribs. It has a serious salty punch with a sweet start and a spicy, chile finish.

Watching your salt intake? Cut the salt in the recipe by half

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