The Ladies' Tea Guild

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Did you know you can barbecue with tea?

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While the local weather is still more spring-like than summer-like, many people in my neighborhood have begun to barbecue every day. My mother is one of those people! Now, my mom makes a mean barbecue, and I'm sure you have friends and relatives who are good barbecue cooks, too, but everyone's best menu can sometimes use a variation! Iced tea and sweet tea are well-known and popular beverages at summer barbecues, but did you know that tea can be used to flavor the sauce, barbecued meat and veggies themselves? There is also a variation of the popular Beer Can Chicken recipe, called Iced Tea BBQ Chicken; it calls for instant iced tea mix in the spice rub and a can of iced tea inside the chicken.

While tea is usually used in sweet recipes, it is a wonderful addition to savory dishes, too. Some teas, like Lapsang Souchong – which is black tea that has been dried over a fire of pine needles – seem to have been made for meat dishes, especially barbecue, but you can add it to baked meat dishes, too, to imitate that flame-broiled flavor. There are several ways of adding tea to your barbecued and grilled meats. You can use brewed tea to make a barbecue sauce. A really simple recipe comes from a company called Two Leaves and a Bud:

Assam Tea Barbecue Sauce
“Brew a really strong pot of Assam Tea - 2 sachets for every 16 oz. of water. Dilute your favorite Barbecue sauce 50 - 50 with your tea. Marinate per your favorite grandma's recipe!”

You can also use dry tea leaves in a spice rub for meat or tofu, add tea to a spicy sauce to serve alongside, or prepare a marinade from tea and spices, to use on meat, tofu or vegetables. The slight acidity of the brewed tea will also help tenderize the meat! Several recipes for barbecued ribs require you to par-boil the meat before finishing it on the grill or in the oven; why not add some tea and spices to the pot with the meat? You can use any unflavored tea, and many flavored teas, as well, especially lemon or orange flavored blends. The tea will add a wonderful savory flavor to your dish, and will complement the flavor of beef, pork, chicken, fish, tofu and vegetables. Tea in your barbecue might become a tradition!

Here are some more tea barbecue recipes:

Green Tea Baked Kobe Beef Ribs with Ginger-Plum Barbecue Sauce
Grilled Green Tea Chicken and Peaches
Lapsang Souchong Baby Back Ribs
Lapsang Souchong Citrus Barbecue Sauce
Orange and Spice Tea BBQ Sauce
Pu-erh Tea Rub for Grilled Chicken
Tea-marinated Grilled Tofu Sandwich
Tea-marinated Grilled Lamb Kabob

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)