Monday, February 2, 2009

Lucky Numbers

“To do a common thing, uncommonly well, brings success.”
Henry John Heinz
In preparation for a Super Bowl party last evening I made barbecue sauce on Saturday. As I lined up my ingredients I couldn't help but notice the prominence of numbers on two iconic American products. The first was Heinz ketchup; having lived in Pittsburgh not far from the home of Senator John Heinz and Mrs. Theresa Heinz (now Kerry), I am a devoted Heinz customer when purchasing bottled and canned products.

The number 57 is featured prominently on a number of Heinz products, most notably Heinz 57 Steak Sauce. The number comes from a slogan used by the company at the end of the 19th century boasting that the Heinz company had 57 Varieties, though in true advertising fashion the number was a bit less than accurate as the company had more than 60 products at the time the slogan was put into use. The number 57 was a combination of the number 5 which was Henry John Heinz's lucky number and the number 7 which was his wife's lucky number. Today the number is still in use on packaging, as the P.O. Box for the company's mail, and as the last four digits of their consumer hotline '5757'; though the slogan is long gone and the company now produces more than 6,000 products. The Heinz brand got its start making prepared horseradish and grew quite quickly thereafter.

The second number is the 'No. 7' on the Jack Daniels bottle. Lot's of legends exist regarding the significance of this number, though none is officially endorsed by the company. The most probable theories center around whisky competitions where the product was entrant number 7 or that it won 7 competitions.

Here's a recipe for my Lucky 7's Barbecue Sauce:

1/2 cup Jack Daniels
1/4 cup Cointreau
1/2 cup chopped shallots
zest of one small orange, finely chopped
4 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 cups Heinz ketchup
1/3 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup dark molasses
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce (1 1/2 tablespoons if using reduced sodium)
1/4 cup tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon Crystal hot sauce

Combine shallot, garlic, Jack Daniels, and Cointreau in a 3 quart saucepan. Sauté until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add orange zest for the last 3 minutes of sauteing. Add all remaining ingredients, bring to boil. Simmer uncovered until reduced and thickened, about 15 to 25 minutes.

I like find this sauce particularly well suited to chicken meatballs and wings as well as pork ribs.

1 comment:

Easy and Elegant Life said...

OK, that's impressive. You make your own Barbeque sauce! As close as I am to Pierce's Pitt in Williamsburg, Buzz and Ned's down the street and the Sauer's factory, I'd be hard put to put in the effort. But this sounds tempting.