Secret Sauce

Tonight, we may get snow. Today, I will use the grill on a 70 degree day.

BBQ spareribs is a frequent request, and it’s all about the

Shirley would sometimes bring leftovers for lunch from her weekend BBQ.

I got a taste.

The sauce blew me away.

She claimed it to be a family secret, locked in the vault.

I persisted. Our friendship evolved at a time when we both needed a confidante.

We were about the same age, and at first glance, couldn’t have been more different. She was a black woman, a mother and wife at age 17, high school dropout, worked her way up as a corporate secretary.  I was a college educated white woman, resisting motherhood, looking for job fulfillment.

We shared an office. We bonded from the first day.

She corrected me early on, “I am not black, I am brown. You are not white, you are pink.” We both laughed about it. We had frequent discussions about race relations.

But mostly, we shared what we had in common… family, home, relationships, feelings, expectations, health issues. Life.

She gave in on the family secret, and I have been blessed to use her recipe.

Every chance I get.

Shirley’s BBQ Sauce

1 bottle Open Pit (0r any unflavored) BBQ sauce.

1 medium onion, diced small.

2 TBS fresh lemon juice.

Pulp from ½ lemon, chopped.

¼ cup sugar.

2 TBS A-1 Steak Sauce.

2 Tsp Hot Sauce.

Stir all ingredients and cook over low/medium flame just until it starts to boil. Stir often to prevent sticking. Allow to cool, it will thicken.

Additional tips:

*Dry-rub the meat with Lawry’s Seasoning Salt. Refrigerate overnight or for several hours. *Pre-bake the ribs at 350 degrees for 30 minutes before grilling. *Add sauce late, maybe 10 minutes before removing from grill.


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34 Responses to Secret Sauce

  1. kingmidget says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I don’t grill ribs very often, but I’ll try this.
    As for the relationship you had with Shirley, I have a couple friends who are African-American. I love having conversations with them about race relations where, because of our friendship, we are able to say things a little more openly and honestly than we might otherwise say. It’s a shame people can’t have those kind of open and honest talks on the subject more often.

  2. Ritu says:

    This sounds delish!!!
    Love your relationship with Shirley!!!

  3. Printed and slipped into my recipe book, Van. I’ve been looking for a great BBQ sauce recipe and can’t wait to try it. A lovely story about Shirley and the wonders of friendship.

  4. polymath0 says:

    Thanks for the recipe, and great mini-story. I love relationships like that one. One good friend of mine is a high school drop-out who did every kind of drug she could get her hand on. Then, she quit it all and had four boys back to back. She’s actually one of the smartest people I know.

    I couldn’t be different. Nine years of college, no kids, tried a hallucinogenic drug once but mostly just a dumb ignorant sober gal. She extrovert and loud, I’m shy and quiet. We couldn’t be a better match.

  5. George says:

    Thank you to Shirley for passing the recipe on to you and thank you for doing the same with us.
    Interesting how friendships develop and connections are made over something as simple as BBQ sauce..:)
    Great story, Van.

  6. Those commonalities, and ribs. work wonders for relationships.

  7. AmyRose🌹 says:

    How cool two women can joke about “color”. Love it!! And talk about temps I was in a tank top two days ago and now we have snow, which you saw over on yonder at my place. *sigh* Get those barbecues in while you can! Crossing fingers temps get back to warm again!!! ❤

  8. Thanks for sharing this recipe and the story! Lovely

  9. dgkaye says:

    Thanks for the yummy sounding recipe Van. It seems you have our weather, lol. It was 60 degrees and yesterday it was 34 degrees, with snow. What a difference a day makes. 🙂

  10. we have no snow 😦 so we can still use the green egg…will try your sauce 🙂

  11. joey says:

    I am also more pink than white. I actually think about this sorta thing all the time. Like, Sassy’s more like the color of a white cast iron sink under bad fluorescent lights at the hardware store, but much prettier than it sounds.
    Anyway, I might give that recipe a shot, bookmarked it. 🙂

  12. The Album says:

    I. Am. Drooling. I thought for a second you weren’t going to share the recipe haha. I bet it’s delicious!

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