Cook Barbecue and They Will Come

Fourth of July was spent grilling. We didn’t really invite everyone over because it’s just a given fact that when we cook…people will come. We ended up serving about 25 friends and family. The hit of the day was the barbecue sauce and the Wendy’s Frosty Homemade Ice Cream.

Grilling relaxes me. Nothing better than firing up the Big Green Egg barbecue grill, placing the meat on it, and kicking back in the lawn chair sipping fruit tea and reading whatever cooking magazines have come that week. I enjoy watching the boys playing basketball. They are VERY competitive. My wife often joins me reading her Nora Roberts book. Friends come over telling of their adventures at their recent trip to Disney world. The air around us smells of the county fair as I lift the lid to remove ribs and replace them with a tray of fresh vegetables marinated in Italian dressing. Great food, great friends, and wonderful conversation made the day fit to celebrate our Independence.


My doctor and very good friend, Chris Gafford, is also an avid griller. He hosts the Swedish International team each year for the world-famous Jack Daniels’s Invitational Barbecue cookoff. Chris and I show up at each others events knowing good and well we have swapped recipes during my check-ups. Right after my best-selling book was published and during a check-up he showed me where one of his recipes was published in Steven Raichlen’s BBQ USA, page 680. He gave me permission to use the recipe in any of my writings. I use this recipe when I do demonstrations for the Big Green Egg and always have a container of it around the house. We love making our own sauces but Chris’ recipe is one we keep on hand at all times because of its amazing flavor. Give it a try:


  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup Heinz chili sauce (found in Ketchup section)
  • 3/4 cup Coca-Cola
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, save rind if using freshly squeezed
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard


  • STEP ONE: Assemble all ingredients and cooking utensils.
  • STEP TWO: Combine all ingredients, including the lemon rind, in a heavy saucepan and whisk to mix.
  • STEP THREE: Gradually bring the sauce to a simmer and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Make sure to stir often as not to scorch.
  • STEP FOUR: As all grillers and barbecue fanatics will do, taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking.
  • STEP FIVE: Remove from heat and discard lemon rind.
  • LAST STEP: Let the sauce cool to room temperature or serve hot immediately. Transfer to a glass container and refrigerate. Will keep up to one month.

Michael Wright