I’m getting ready to cook up a big pile-o-pork for a graduation party. I’d like to make all my own rubs and sauces for it, so I thought I’d start with a quart-sized batch of Honey Hog sauce.
1/2 cup honey
1 cup raw or turbinado sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 (12-ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 cup gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup tamarind concentrate
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
1 tablespoon half-sharp paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon allspice
Combine the tomato paste and sugar in a medium sauce pan and cook over low heat, stirring often, until the sugar melts into the paste.
Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stirring constantly, raise the heat a little until the sauce is bubbling away nicely. Keep stirring and cook until all the sugar has dissolved and the sauce starts to thicken a little bit (about five minutes).
Reduce the heat to low and let sauce cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Bottle and store in the fridge. Makes about 1 quart.
Since you can only tell so much about a sauce while tasting it off of a spoon, I tried it on some grilled chicken thighs to get an idea of how it would work and play with others.
About 2 hours before cooking, I dusted some bone-in, skin-on thighs with a bit of salt, pepper, and paprika. I put them in a single layer on a sheet pan and let them sit uncovered in the fridge to let the seasoning work its way into the thighs and dry out the skin a bit to make it crispy.
I set the grill up for a raised indirect cook over medium (350°F) heat. I used the plate setter under the cooking grid on the Big Green Egg to diffuse the heat.
I put the thighs on the grill skin side up, closed the lid, and let them cook for 20 minutes. I flipped them and let them go another 20 minutes. I flipped them back skin side up and checked for doneness. While chicken is technically done when the juices run clear and the internal temperature hits 160°F, that leaves the thighs kind of rubbery. I like mine cooked a little longer to at least 180°F so the meat is tender and the skin is crisp.
This batch of thighs needed about 20 more minutes to hit 180°F. At this point I sauced them on both sides with the Honey Hog, put them back on for 10 more minutes, sauced them one last time and moved them to a warm plate and let sit 10 minutes before serving.
Sometimes less is more. I basically doubled the main ingredients in the v2.0 recipe, but decided to leave out some of the herbs and spices that I didn’t think were key players. The result is a sauce that has a nice sweet and tangy tomato flavor with enough heat and spice to make it interesting. It’s not as complex as the previous version, but I like the clean, straight forward taste.
The sauce was lovely on the chicken thighs – adding a nice spicy sweetness. The thighs themselves were so crispy that biting into one was like biting into a slice of bacon. Mmmmmmmmmmmm… chicken bacon… mmmmmmmmmm…
3 ounces of chicken meat is only about 100 calories and 4 Weight Watchers points. The sauce maybe adds another 1/2 point per thigh.