The unofficial start of summer and the much anticipated cookouts that accompany it are right around the corner. In lieu of a traditional go-to bottle of wine, I decided to put a personal spin on the hostess gift I will be bringing to this year's Memorial Day festivities. After realizing an open bottle of Syrah was about to go to waste, I averted a tragedy by making a batch of barbecue sauce, hoping the spiciness of the wine would marry well with the smokiness of the sauce's other ingredients. I canned the result and attempted to beautify it by topping the jar with colorful fabric and adding homemade labels.
Syrah Barbecue Sauce (yield, approx. 1.5 cups)
3 tbsp safflower oil
4 medium shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 3/4 cups syrah
1 cup ketchup
2 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tsp liquid smoke (adds a mesquite flavor and is found in the the condiment aisle of most grocery stores)
Pinch coarse sea Salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and sauté until lightly browned and tender.
2. Add the syrah and boil the mixture until it has reduced to approx. 3/4 cup (approx. 10-12 min.).
3. Add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, stirring occassionally.
Note: If your hosts are fans of a sweeter tasting barbecue sauce, you may want to look for an alternative to the Syrah barbecue sauce as it has a spicy, smokey flavor. The June issues of several food magazines (Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, etc.) contain great recipes for marinades and sauces that can just as easily be jarred and presented as a hostess gift.