For almost twenty years, T.G.I. Friday’s Jack Daniel’s Sauce has been slathered over the chain’s best-selling items, including the baby back ribs and the Jack Daniel’s burger. Shortly after the sauce debuted at the chain, I was asked to hack it for an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and my original formula has been one of the most popular recipes on TopSecretRecipes.com. But I’ve always felt that there was room for improvement. For one thing, according to the most recent T.G.I. Friday’s menu, the recipe includes Tabasco pepper sauce, which was absent from my first version. And the garlic, which was originally roasted in that earlier version, should be toasted. This method speeds up preparation of the recipe and makes it taste more like the real thing.

There are many other tweaks here, including less pineapple juice and the elimination of the water so that cooking the sauce will take less time. Spread this sauce over chicken, salmon, ribs, wings, pork chops, burgers, or just about any protein, but baste it on after cooking or serve it on the side for dipping since the sugar in the sauce will quickly burn if applied during the cooking step— especially over an open flame like on your grill.

4 teaspoons (3 to 4 cloves) minced garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¾ cup (1 6-ounce can) pineapple juice
1⅓ cups (packed) dark brown sugar
¼ cup teriyaki sauce (such as Kikkoman)
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup diced white onion
2 tablespoons canned crushed pineapple
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
1½ teaspoons Tabasco pepper sauce
⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Cooking method

1-Toast the garlic by combining the garlic and the oil in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until the garlic becomes a golden brown color. Watch it closely so that the garlic does not burn. As soon as the garlic is golden brown, add the pineapple juice to prevent it from cooking any more.

2-Turn the heat up to medium and add the other ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for 25 minutes or until thick. Watch the sauce closely to be sure that it doesn’t bubble over. Remove from the heat, cover, and cool. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for several days.

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