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Spicy Mop Sauce

This flavorful concoction belongs to the family of vinegar-based Carolina mop sauces, so-called because they are popular in North and South Carolina and are traditionally swabbed over a slab of meat with an old-fashioned string mop. The sauces vary from sweet and tangy to fiery hot. This one is at once a dash sweet and moderately hot, but you can adjust the amount of sugar and pepper to suit your taste. It's a great marinade for beef, pork or chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. peppercorns
  • 1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Directions:

Place the peppercorns on a work surface and crush them coarsely by firmly pressing and rolling the bottom of a heavy fry pan or saucepan over them.

In a nonaluminum saucepan over high heat, combine the crushed peppercorns, vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, stirring once or twice. Remove from the heat and let stand, uncovered, for at least 1 hour before using to allow the flavors to blend. For longer storage, let cool completely, then transfer to a nonaluminum container, cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Makes about 2 cups, enough for about 4 lb. of meat or poultry.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Series, Outdoor Cooking, by John Phillip Carroll (Time-Life Books, 1997).