While brisket is often served in SCBBQ restaurants today, no one would suggest that brisket is historically common in SC BBQ restaurants.
For South Carolinians, barbecue is pork, preferably pulled and served with one of four basic sauce types: vinegar-pepper, light tomato, heavy tomato, or a sauce that originated in SC, a mustard sauce.
Brisket certainly breaks with tradition, but that certainly doesn’t mean we don’t love it. (By the way, if you’re looking for a great brisket in SC, you can do no better than Lewis Barbecue in Charleston.)
“I have a recipe for a really good brisket sauce. It’s so ridiculously simple that it’s embarrassing,” Michael said. “I was trying to copy Rudy’s in San Antonio, and this is what I came up with.”
“People love it and put it on everything, not just brisket.”
“Had a guy text me this weekend that he mixes it with mustard sauce and cooks it on BBQ chicken.
“There is a lady who tells me she can drink it. I’ve told her the recipe, but she still says it is better when I make it. Guess it’s a mental thing.
“Anyway, there is nothing original in this sauce, and I have no idea why people like it, but I don’t mind sharing. There are only 5 ingredients and 2 are optional.
“Brisket done right is certainly good without, but some people like an extra little zing. If you serve it traditionally on a grilled tortilla with fresh green onion, sliced lengthwise, and a side of charros, I think it’s better with a little sauce.”
Making Michael’s Brisket Mojo Sauce
Like he said, the sauce is simple. While you can make your own version of the primary ingredients, there’s really no reason to.
You’ll need Mojo marinade. I found two at my local supermarket on the “International” aisle. One was by Goya and the mojo I purchased was made by Badia. I got the Badia because it was 20 ounces instead of 24, closer to the suggested 12 ounces used in the recipe. If I were making a double batch, the Goya would have been the way to go.
If you haven’t tasted a mojo sauce before, it is a citrus-garlic-onion mix with oil and herbs. It’s said to have originated in the Canary Islands, where red and green mojo are featured. The Cuban Mojo Criollo used in this dish may be based on those concepts but feature different ingredients.
Regardless of how it’s originally made, you’ll just open a bottle and pour it into a bowl that will comfortably hold a quart to make this recipe.
Next, I poured in the Sticky Finger’s Memphis Original sauce. It’s a classic tomato-based sauce in the “Memphis-style” sauce as suggested by Michael in his recipe notes. While Sticky Fingers was born in Mount Pleasant, SC, its founders were from Memphis. You could go with your own favorite BBQ sauce, but the Sticky Finger’s sauce is a good choice. You can find it on Amazon.
After mixing in the barbecue sauce, I poured in the enchilada sauce. Again, any brand will do. I honestly went with the first one I found, which was by Hatch. Another brand I frequently buy is Old El Paso.
I do like to make my own, and honestly, it is better than any store-bought brand I’ve tried, but it’s a lot of work and would not be worth the added effort in this case. (Maybe I’ll share the recipe here one day. Let me know if you’d like me to in the comments below.)
From there, I added the optional olive oil and bourbon.
The olive oil, Dell’s Favorite, was a gift from my daughter who stumbled across it while staying at a Harvest Host site in Elgin, Texas, near Austin. Olive oil from Texas. Good stuff!
That said, I don’t know that any oil is needed in this mix. I’d probably leave it out next time because I didn’t sense any advantage to adding it.
And finally, I poured on probably a tablespoon of what remained of the Jim Beam I had in the pantry. It adds a nice punch to the sauce, but it does not make it “boozy” tasting.
Frankly, I had food when it tastes like alcohol, but I don’t mind food that is enhanced by it. That’s why I shied away from the second tablespoon. Not unhappy with that decision, but I may well have supported two tablespoons without tasting of alcohol.
Feel free to leave out or pour in based on your personal tastes.
Think of Michael’s Mojo brisket sauce as an all-purpose sauce for whatever you put on the grill. My choice of barbecue sauce gave it a nice smoky taste. The mojo criollo offers a nice twang from the citrus. The enchilada sauce ramps up the chile taste, but there’s no added heat from it.
In the end, you end up with a sauce that really is not limited to brisket. It would work just as well on chicken or pork.
- 12 oz Mojo Criollo marinade, about 1/2 bottle
- 12 oz BBQ sauce
- 15 oz Red Enchilada sauce
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, optional
- 2 Tablespoons bourbon, optional
- Mix and serve. That's it.
You can find Mojo Criollo sauce in the Latino area of most grocery stores. It is also, of course, available on Amazon. (see below).
As for the BBQ sauce, Michael writes "Anything but the cheap stuff, no Bull's Eye or KC Masterpiece. I like a Memphis-based sauce, but anything you like works."
As for the Enchilada sauce, Michael notes that sauce "from the can is fine."
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 50Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 569mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g
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