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Barbecue Sauces and Fish Dishes for a Party 
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Q. I'm preparing a casual rehearsal dinner barbecue for the wedding party and out of town guests when our daughter gets married later this month. Do you have any favorite barbecue sauces I could try — something for chicken, something else for fish, and something hot?

A. Let's start with the hot first. It doesn't matter how much ketchup or tomato sauce you use. It doesn't matter how much brown sugar or vinegar you use. What matters is how long you hold the bottle of pepper sauce upside down and shake it, how many spoons of cayenne pepper you add, or how many little tiny peppers you mince and add to the pot that adds up to heat. You can make any sauce — those that follow or any other — as hot as you want, as hot as you can stand.

Here are a couple mainstream sauces you can try, as well as a couple of fish recipes. As far as we know, there is no universal fish sauce (other than lemon, perhaps) that complements every variety. And since, you didn't tell us which fish you plan to grill, we've chosen for you.

White House Chicken Sauce
From Strictly Barbecue (Canada, UK), by A.D. Livingston.

This recipe is said to have originated in Georgia and been shared with the masses through the presidency of Jimmy Carter.

Ingredients:

1 cup tomato puree
1 cup spring water
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 medium Vidalia onion, finely chopped
Several cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp dry mustard
Cayenne pepper to taste
salt to taste

Instructions:

Put all the ingredients into a pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 1 hour, or until the sauce is thick to your liking. Stir from time to time, and adjust the seasonings toward the end. Use as a basting sauce for chicken, and as a table condiment.

Dr. Barbecue's Carolina Mustard Sauce
From The Ultimate Barbecue Sauce Cookbook (Canada, UK)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup yellow mustard
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce

Instructions:

In a medium saucepan, combine ingredients, stirring to blend. Over low heat, simmer 30 minutes. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving. Use as a baste or table sauce with pork or chicken.

Yield: 1-3/4 cups

Peppered Tuna Steak with Horseradish Cream
From Born to Grill (Canada, UK), by Cheryl Alters Jamison & Bill Jamison.

Ingredients:

2 tuna steaks, each 1-inch thick, approximately 1 lb each

Lemon-Pepper Paste
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp coarse-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp coarse salt

Horseradish Cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
2 tsp grated mild onion or onion juice
1/4 tsp coarse salt

Instructions:

At least 1 hour and up to 4 hours before you plan to grill the tuna steaks, prepare the paste, combining the ingredients in a small bowl. The mixture will be very wet. Coat the steaks with the paste, cover them, and refrigerate.

Make the horseradish cream, mixing the ingredients in a small serving bowl. Refrigerate until needed.

Remove the tuna from the refrigerator and let it sit covered at room temperature for 30 minutes. Blot any accumulated liquid from the surface of the steaks. Transfer the steaks to a well-oiled grate and grill uncovered over high heat for 2 minutes per side. Move the tuna to medium heat and continue cooking for an additional 2 to 3 minutes per side, leaving a distinctly pink center.

Serve the steaks immediately, halved for four diners, with dollops of the horseradish cream.

Yield: Serves 4

Dilled Salmon Steak
From Born to Grill (Canada, UK), by Cheryl Alters Jamison & Bill Jamison.

Ingredients:

4 salmon steaks, 1-inch thick

Dill Rub
2 Tbsp minced fresh dill
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper

Cucumber-Dill Relish
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/3 cup fresh asparagus tips, chopped, if larger than bite-sized (optional)
3 Tbsp minced onion
6 Tbsp white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp coarse salt, or more to taste
Pinch of white pepper
1 to 2 Tbsp water
Vegetable oil spray

Instructions:

At least 1 hour and up to 4 hours before you plan to grill the salmon, prepare the rub, combining the ingredients in a small bowl. Coat the steaks with the rub, cover them, and refrigerate.

Prepare the relish, combining the ingredients in a medium bowl. Add as much of the water as necessary to keep the relish moist. Refrigerate covered until serving time.

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let them sit covered at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Just before you are ready to grill the steaks, spritz them heavily with oil.

Transfer the steaks to a well-oiled grate. Grill them uncovered over high heat for 4 to 4-1/2 minutes per side, rotating them 180° once on each side. The salmon is done when just barely opaque at the center with a touch of translucence remaining.

Arrange the steaks on individual plates spooning equal portions of the relish over each. Serve immediately.

Yield: Serves 4

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