I haven't done a post on barbecue ingredients in a long long time but playing around with a new slather for ribs on July 3rd made me stop and think about one of my favorite ingredients: Worcestershire Sauce.
I was first introduced to this magic mop during my teen years. It was at my friend Dan's house and his father was in the kitchen preparing to grill some steaks. He took this huge slab of London Broil and began to smother it with Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
. He then took a fork and stabbed the steak repeatedly, working the elixir deeper and deeper in to the muscle fiber of the meat. I asked John why he was desiccating the meat and he told me that his method produces "the best steaks in the world." Suspicious, I stepped back as he went upstairs to grill the meat. Yes, upstairs. The grill was on a roof deck accessed through my friend Dan's bedroom. Oh, if that deck could talk. But, I digress.
Dan's dad was right. Those were some outstanding steaks. I liked the flavor so much that to this day whenever I grill a London Broil you will find me dousing it with Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce before it hits the fire. I've also learned to add it to soups, stews and sauces. Worcestershire Sauce has many uses and I keep finding new places to add it.
But what is so amazing about Worcestershire Sauce? Well, it's simply magical. According to the Lea and Perrins website, the invention of Worcestershire Sauce was almost an accident. "The story of Lea & Perrins® famous Worcestershire Sauce begins in the early 1800s, in the county of Worcester. Returning home from his travels in Bengal, Lord Sandys, a nobleman of the area, was eager to duplicate a recipe he'd acquired. On Lord Sandys's request, two chemists—John Lea and William Perrins made up the first batch of the sauce.
Lea and Perrins were not impressed with their initial results. The pair found the taste unpalatable, and simply left the jars in their cellar to gather dust. A few years later, they stumbled across them and decided to taste the contents again. To their delight, the aging process had turned it into a delicious, savory sauce."
And the rest they say is history. Now how does this relate to BBQ you may ask? Well, Worcestershire Sauce is rich and meaty tasting with a strong sense of umami. What is umami you may ask? Well, umami is a pleasant savoury taste imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid, and ribonucleotides, including inosinate and guanylate, which occur naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products. As the taste of umami itself is subtle and blends well with other tastes to expand and round out flavors, most people don’t recognize umami when they encounter it, but it plays an important role making food taste delicious. And Worcestershire Sauce does just that.
My latest rib experiments involve using Worcestershire Sauce as a base for a rib slather. It adds a strong sense of "porkiness" to the final product. I can't' give you the recipe for the slather just yet, but try replacing any of your usual slathers with Worcestershire Sauce. Trust me, you'll be happy you did.
And no, this is not a paid endorsement. I just really like the stuff!
Labels: barbecue, barbeque, bbq, ingredients, umami, worcestershire sauce