Eagle County chefs share some of their favorite sauces, and how to make them
As the days lengthen and warm up, it’s not too early to think of barbecue season. And while there’s nothing wrong with simply slapping some veggies, burgers or brats on the grill, a little culinary elevation will never go amiss, either.
That’s where sauces come in. Adding sweetness or spiciness, creaminess or texture, sauces are like the red high heel or statement tie of the culinary world: They can elevate the casual blue jean appeal of your meal into something a little more memorable. And if you make your own? Well, now you’ve gone from a regular condiment to an accompaniment.
“There’s a difference between a condiment and an accompaniment,” chef David Sanchez of Grill on the Gore said to me a few years ago. Sanchez explained that a condiment is something pre-made, but an accompaniment is something a chef makes that accompanies a dish. “It’s a very exciting and creative way to gourmet up any dish.”
And we want to help you to gourmet your game so we asked some the valley’s chefs and professional barbecue tenders to spill their secrets and share some of their favorite sauces for grilling. The answers? Some pretty tasty culinary accessories.
For Burgers: Smoky Dijonnaise
- Tyson Amick, executive chef, Frost Creek
“It’s a kind of kitchen sink condiment: It’s a lot of condiments that you have in your fridge to go with burgers,” Amick explained. “It’s best on a classic burger with lettuce, tomato and onion.”
This versatile sauce is one that Amick grew up seeing family and friends create. The combination adds flavor and complexity; because you can either keep it chunky or puree it smooth, you can also adjust for your own texture preferences.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons spicy barbecue sauce
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon
- 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 2 tablespoons A-1
- 1/4 cup diced sweet onion
- 3 cloves peeled garlic
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
Measure all ingredients and process until smooth in a food processor or leave chunky.
For Poultry: Moe’s Original Bar B Que White Sauce
- Ben Gilbert, owner, Moe’s Original Bar B Que
When it comes to barbecue, there’s nothing quite like the taste of ‘Bama that is served at Moe’s Original Bar B Que. Though the restaurant has several different barbecue sauces to accompany its various grilled meats, the white sauce that originated in northern Alabama is perhaps the most unique. With its mayonnaise base, it may not look like your typical sauce but it’s incredibly versatile. You can put it on chicken, fish or even try it as a salad dressing.
- 2 cups mayonnaise, heavy duty
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1.5 teaspoons sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons Moe’s Original Bar B Que rub
- A dash or two of hot sauce
- A dash or two of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- A pinch of white pepper
- A dash of cayenne
- 1 slice of lemon, juiced
Mix all ingredients in bowl and mix well until smooth. Make sure there are no lemon seeds or lumps.
For Wings: Korean Wing Sauce
- Chris Schmidt, owner and chef, Craftsman
People are picky about their wings but most are willing to give something new at least one chance. Perk up your next party with a little Korean flavor from Craftsman.
“This sauce is the perfect balance between sweet and spicy with just enough funk to make it interesting,” said Craftsman chef and owner Chris Schmidt. “It beats the hell out of your everyday barbecue sauce.”
While great on wings, Schmidt says it’s good brushed on almost any grilled meat like chicken or pork chops. Finish the dish by sprinkling toasted sesame seeds and freshly sliced scallion.
Sweet and Spicy Korean Gochujang Sauce
- 1 cup Gochujang (korean chili paste)
- ½ cup rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup Tamari Soy
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoons fish sauce
Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
For Vegetables: The Standard Ranch Dressing
- Paul Anders, executive chef, Mountain Standard and Sweet Basil
You’ll find this ranch dressing served alongside Mountain Standard’s onion rings but it would be equally good with grilled vegetables.
“The people at Hidden Valley have been doing a pretty good job for some time now, but I wanted to see if I could replicate the flavor profile, using our own fresh ingredients,” Anders said. “Making your own condiments at home is not that difficult, depending on what you are trying to make. I wouldn’t try to make ketchup, the people at Heinz have that on lock down! However, homemade ranch dressing is really pretty easy and fast.”
The Standard Ranch Dressing
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ ounce parsley, washed, picked and chopped fine
- ¾ ounce chives, minced
- ¾ ounce dill (pre-picked weight) chopped
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 4 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon malt vinegar powder
- 1 teaspoon fennel pollen
Toast all the spices. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. It is best to let this dressing sit for as long as possible before serving.