Where I grew up the word "barbecue," as in barbecued beef or barbecued chicken, implied the use of a sweetened, tomato-based sauce, and I was all in.
Fast forward to 1998 when I came to work at the Times News. Each day my friend Debbie and I would take a walk to pick up lunch.
One day, she seemed excited to see that one of the nearby establishments had turkey barbecue on the menu. I'd never had it, but as a barbecue sauce aficionado, I thought I would probably like it.
We got back to the office and I took one look at this bland-looking sandwich and was convinced I had gotten someone else's order. She assured me that I had gotten exactly what I ordered; perhaps, but it wasn't what I expected.
I begged a bit of Catalina salad dressing from another co-worker and ate my sandwich, considering myself forewarned for the future.
I've eaten chicken or turkey barbecue since then, and I could take it or leave it. Then my older daughter made it for my granddaughter's first birthday.
I was surprised for a couple reasons: First, she hates to cook, so parties are usually catered; and second, it wasn't something she'd grown up with or was familiar with, but she kept raving about it. She wasn't the only one.
One taste and I was hooked as well. This wasn't the plain, bland barbecue I had become used to, nor was it covered with a rich red, barbecue sauce. It was different and delicious.
The recipe comes from Bev Kalb, who is the mother of a childhood friend of my son-in-law.
She graciously gave me permission to share it here and says she got it from a co-worker some 40 years ago. Now that's staying power! Give it a try. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
1 pound turkey or other meat, cooked and shredded
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, minced
1 small green pepper, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons creamed mustard (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
One-half teaspoon salt
Three-quarter cup ketchup
Melt butter, add onions, peppers and cook slowly for 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, simmer for another 10 minutes. Add meat and heat through. This recipe doubles and triples well, and is a good dish to serve for a large gathering. Just keep it warm in a slow cooker.
Makes approximately 4 tablespoons
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon powder mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons heavy cream
In blender, mix oil and mustard, and gradually add other ingredients, blending constantly to form a creamy sauce.