Thursday, August 23, 2007

Boog's Hot Sauce

"Boog, Mo. Mo, Boog."

It was the most fun I'd ever had making an introduction.

The scene took place at Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 2006. It was before a game and I was walking down the outfield promenade with my youngest, Mo, when we saw Boog Powell, the hulking former Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians first baseman. He was sitting outside his bbq joint, a popular ballpark eatery.

Boog is frequently on site at his place, signing autographs for all who ask. And he did so, graciously, for Mo, who was delighted. Afterward, she begged for my cell phone, called home and announced to the rest of the family, "I got Boot's autograph!"

Well, she's a little young to know much about Boog as either a ballplayer or a bbq maven. But I remember him as a player - a power hitter and All-Star on some great Orioles teams of the '60s and '70s. Late in his career, he was traded to the Indians at an unfortunate time in the game's history when ugly polyester uniforms were in vogue. After seeing him clad in the Tribe's all-maroon uniforms in 1975, someone referred to him as "the world's largest blood clot."

After his playing days he returned to Baltimore and now he's a permanent fixture at Camden Yards. During game telecasts, you can see smoke rising from Boog's Barbecue, just beyond the right field bleachers. To be accurate, Boog's bbq is really pit beef, Maryland's version of smoked meat. It's brisket - or turkey or ham - that usually has some sort of rub and that's about it. Sauce, if used at all, is squirted on after meat hits bun. Just as often, Marylanders opt instead for a horseradish sauce. I'll have more about pit beef in an upcoming post.

Away from the ballpark, Boog grows an impressive assortment of peppers. A few years ago my Baltimore Sun colleague Rob Kasper wrote a story about Boog's pepper garden and the story included the big guy's recipe for hot sauce. Here it is:

Boog's Hot Sauce

1 1/2 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup water
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups cayenne peppers, stemmed and chopped

Put all ingredients into a pot used solely for cooking peppers. Bring to boil, then cut back heat to just below boil and let mixture cook until peppers soften, about 30-45 minutes.

Drain cooked peppers and liquefy in blender, running at high speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Strain, pour into bottles.

Thanks, Boog!

1 comment:

Chef JP said...

Pretty cool---Boog was a great player and it looks like he knows his way around town with dem hot peppers! How many other baseball players made their own hot sauce? The only one I can think of is Ron Guidry (Louisiana Lightning)...Rusty Staub made barbecue sauce...anybody else? chefjp