I walked past some sarsaparilla in an international grocery store and did a double take. After some phone google action, I confirmed my suspicion that this was the "root" in root beer. I grabbed it figuring I would decide what to make with it later. The only idea that really came to me was making a BBQ sauce out of it. I have seen people dump a can of root beer into bbq sauce, so I figured why not?
The actual plant. I don't think this is actually the root but more the bark of a vine? You boil these in water to get the flavor. Basically it's a tea.
Cause one minute there's liquid, the next there's not. It evaporated. A culinary reduction! I'm like the food version of Weird Al. Or a loser...
The makings of a BBQ sauce. After this I strained out the roots and added the root juice. Then I added lots of honey and brown sugar. Then I cooled it a bit and poured it in a slow cooker with a pork shoulder.
After the pork cooked all day, I removed it and shredded it down. I took the fat off the top of the sauce and reduced it a bit more (want me to sing again?) before adding it to the shredded pork.
Really tasty, but more on that below.
Alternate names: Root Beerbercue sauce, Sauceparilla, Sassauce, Sassy sauce, Don't you sass me sauce.
The final verdict? The sauce was awesome, but wasn't overly rootbeer-y. I COULD taste what the sarsaparilla was adding to the sauce though, and I could see the root beer connection. I ate 3 of these sandwiches just to analyze the flavors! Official blogging duty. I sacrifice my body for you guys! My roommate however couldn't find the root beer flavors at all. I think if I toned down the spice level on this the root beer would be more pronounced, I might even add more onions, caramelize them better, and take out the tomato. I'm gonna have to work on this one and get back to you guys. Until then, any other ideas for this sarsaparilla? Maybe I should start by making some actual root beer!