In Hornersville, Missouri, there is a BBQ joint called Wicker's. Never heard of it until this past June, when we cooked a whole pig for my class reunion.
That's Kenny, our neighbor at the farm. Kenny is a genius at anything that needs doing, which is how we have high definition televised football games with no running machines and no electricity in sight. The boy can cook, too, which is how I learned about Wicker's.
For the reunion, we brined the pig with salt, apple cider vinegar and brown sugar. The day of the cooking, Kenny added Wicker's BBQ sauce. Now, if you're from North Alabama, Wicker's isn't BBQ sauce....it doesn't have tomatoes and it's just vinegar and seasonings. But after we sliced up that pig? I am a convert.
No, you don't have to cook a whole pig to make use of Wicker's. You don't have to have gallons of it shipped in either, which is what we did. It makes a good marinade for any pork, if you're doing the wet brine thing. It also, we discovered, makes great pickled eggs and BEFORE YOU TURN UP YOUR NOSE, hear me out.
I will concede that there probably aren't a lot of people with a stash of pickled eggs in their refrigerator. Other than a time or two in a boot-scootin' bar and a lot of beer in long-neck bottles, I don't think I've ever had pickled eggs. But these? Just elevated salads to a new level. For real, that cute little egg slicer you pull out every now and then? Use it. Use it on these eggs and you will love me forever and the people who eat your salad will love you, too.
The eggs get tough if they sit in the marinade for too long, but if you're slicing them it doesn't really matter. We mix up the marinade, pour it into a big jar, and add peeled, hard boiled eggs. When the eggs are gone you just add more, no need to throw out the marinade. This isn't complicated, and it's a lot of bang for the buck. And if you're out on your deck with tubs of beer iced down, you can always bring out the pickled eggs and crank up Dwight Yoakum.
Wicker's BBQ Sauce and Marinade
1-1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon black pepper
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon paprika (I used smoked)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Combine all ingredients and simmer 5-10 minutes to dissolve spices. Cool.