Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cognac Barbecue Sauce: Smokin' Pete's Get's Fancy

Most people think of barbecue as down home cooking that is at home in a park field or served outside of a barn. And they would be correct - the bulk of our catering business is outside in the summer. But we also cater weddings, black tie receptions, and fundraising auctions because succulent slow smoked meats do just fine next to white linen and china.

So when American NW Distributors approached us about creating a barbecue sauce with two really good bottles of Cognac, we were delighted. Rep Alan gave us two bottles to play with, most of which we used in the sauce. I saved a wee drappy, as my grandma used to say, to enjoy in a glass.

The first was an organic cognac made by Leopold Gourmel called Bio Attitude (so cool - I didn't even know there were organic cognacs on the market!). Their website describes it as "dawn on a spring day", which I love and agree with. It's delicate for a cognac, but with all the lovely nose tingling, tongue caressing that makes a cognac.

The second bottle, the Pierre Ferrand 1840 won Grand Champion for new products of 2012 by Tales of the Cocktail. Their distillery is a blend of original craft ways and modern technology. This photo from their website shows the aging casks. A deeper flavor than the organic Leopold, I didn't want to give this one up for the sauce. Both bottles, however, were wonderful.
From the Pierre Ferrand website showing their cognac aging in a variety of casks.
Our General Manager Bruce Calvert created this recipe. The cognac comes through nicely, and if you don't have anyone that objects, you can swirl a splash or two fresh at the end to give it a kick. He made the same base for each sauce and found they both had similar flavors, but the BIO Attitude was a little lighter in color.

Here is his recipe:

Cognac Barbecue Sauce
by Bruce Calvert

1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/2 cup Pierre Ferrand Cognac or Leopold Gourmel Bio Attitude cognac
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
3 oz brown sugar
1 Tbls molasses
2 cups apple cider vinegar
3 cups ketchup

Saute onion and garlic until transparent
Remove from heat and cool slightly, then puree in food processor or mill.
Add cognac and spices, bring back to a boil to evaporate alcohol.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.
Cool in shallow pan before putting in bottle.


  1. Nice.This is also great as a marinade and cocktail sauce as well.

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