Dear BBQ Friend:
I have been experimenting a little with a peach glaze instead of a BBQ sauce lately. I have not tried it in a contest yet, but it turned out quite well on my chicken and ribs test. So... exactly what is the difference between a glaze
and a BBQ sauce anyway?
I'm no trained chef or anything, so I may be wrong, but in my opinion a BBQ sauce has as it's main ingredients tomatoes or ketchup and vinegar. A glaze has as it's main ingredient some sort of fruit or maybe just something sweet like honey. BBQ sauces and glazes are used in similar fashion... they should be applied during the last 15-60 minutes of a cook and you should be careful not to burn the glaze or BBQ sauce if it contains too much sugar.
So... if you are cooking low and slow around 225-250, you can apply the glaze or sauce when you have 1 hour left in the cook and during that time it will cook onto the meat or "set" so it isn't quite so runny. If you are grilling at a higher temperature over direct heat, you may want to only apply your BBQ sauce or glaze during the last 15 minutes and set it over the high heat being careful not to let it burn by flipping appropriately.
Note that there is a difference between carmelizing and burning... carmelizing is OK and is sometimes a sought after flavor in BBQ. You get that "flame kissed" look and taste which can be quite tasty. Overdo it though and you'll end up with a burnt sugar bitter taste which is not good.
Now back to the subject of glazes... the one I have been experimenting with is a simple peach glaze containing about 6 fresh, peeled peaches, 2 cups of brown sugar, and 1 stick of real butter. Just blanch the peaches in boiling water for 1 minute and cool in an ice bath after removing from hot water. The skins should peel right off. Remove pit and process until smooth in a food processor or blender. Heat with brown sugar and butter just until everything is melted.
This glaze was quite tasty on chicken and ribs, but may require some tweaking to get more peach flavor to stand out. I found some peach extract flavoring at SpicesEtc.com that I am going to try adding to the recipe next. I haven't tried canned peaches yet.
Some other ingredients you can use in glazes are apples or apple jelly, honey, just brown sugar (maybe carmelize it on like they do on hams), raspberry, mango, orange, lemon, lime, pineapple, coca-cola or Dr Pepper, apricot, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, Moore's marinade, wine, muscadine wine or plain muscadine grapes, beer, cherries, balsamic vinegar, whiskey, maple syrup, cranberry, kiwi, pear, ginger, and many more! Just use your imagination and mix and match these ingredients with others.
If you are a BBQ competitor, I think judges will be quite pleased with a simple fruit glaze. Just so long as you don't go overboard with the ingredients and extra spices. For example, too much cinnamon and allspice may be better off in apple pie than on ribs. Use a good rub that compliments your glaze and a combination that does not overpower your natural smoke flavor, and the judges should award you with some nice scores. Also... glazes are most suitable for chicken and ribs, a little less for pulled pork, and I think you should stick with the au jus sauce for brisket.