May 21, 1804
Lewis and Clark set out from St. Charles, Missouri as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, sent by President Thomas Jefferson to establish an American presence in the newly acquired territory of the Louisiana Purchase. Captain Lewis and his crew were to find a route to the Pacific Ocean on their journey, and were tasked with creating maps of the country along the way.
The expedition crossed through present day Kansas City, Missouri and continued west to the Columbia River Gorge and the Pacific Ocean at Fort Clatsop (modern day Astoria, Oregon). The Corps of Discovery traveled through 11 states, drew 140 maps, recorded over 200 plants and animals new to science and encountered approximately 72 native tribes.
William Clark noted in his journal on May 21, 1804: “All the forepart of the day arranging our party and procureing the different articles necessary for them at this place. Dined with Mr. Ducett and set out at half passed three o’Clock under three cheers from the gentlemen on the bank and proceeded on…”
More than likely, Clark did not dine on Kansas City Barbecue that evening with Mr. Ducett…but Kansas City has since become famous for the over 100 restaurants that serve award-winning barbecue. Big Al’s features this tantalizing sauce that has yet to be matched in my book….
Big Al’s Kansas City Barbecue Sauce
2 cups ketchup
2 cups tomato sauce
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
1 ¼ cups red wine vinegar
½ cup molasses
4 tsp hickory flavored liquid smoke
2 T butter
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp celery seed
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
In large saucepan over medium heat, mix together the ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, wine vinegar, molasses, liquid smoke, and butter. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, celery seed, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for up to 20 minutes. For thicker sauce, simmer longer, and for thinner, less time is needed. Sauce can also be thinned using a bit of water if necessary. Brush sauce onto any kind of meat during the last 10 minutes of cooking.