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Smitty’s Birdland Sauce #2

Our friend Howard Werner is a world-class wood sculptor. He crafts large, breathtaking pieces that can be found in museums around the country. He’d happily prepare a piece for your home! Howard studied at R.I.T in Rochester, New York. Howard’s other passion is barbeque, and perhaps his love for ‘que began in Rochester at Smitty’s. An outstanding barbeque joint, run by talented former boxer, Smitty’s was most famous for its barbeque sauce, a mixture that is truly different — and better — than all those standard sauces you may have seen and tasted.

Howard has prepared this version of the sauce he remembers. In his version, distinct from Smitty’s sauces you can find on the web, Howard has added fruit which deepens the flavors and adds true complexity. Let this sauce simmer until it is thick as paste.

This sauce on chicken is ideal barbeque. I haven’t tried it yet, but I bet a bit of this sauce, chilled, would combine with bourbon to make a hair-shifting cocktail.

Smitty’s Birdland Sauce #2

Yield:  approximately 1 quart


6 ounces honey
6 ounces white vinegar
6 ounces yellow mustard
3 ounces ketchup
3 ounces hot sauce [Frank’s if you can find it]
3-4 oranges with rind and/or peaches/mango
1 cup sugar
1 cup water


Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low until thicker. Use immediately or store.

If you want a hotter sauce, as the sauce thickens add crushed red peppers to taste.

Source: Howard Warner

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3 thoughts on “Smitty’s Birdland Sauce #2

  1. I was in Rochester in Grad. school 1972-77 and I fondly remember Smitty’s!! I have replicated the sauce exactly and use it on just about everything. My recipe is very different from yours and is loaded with the crushed red pepper as I remember it.

    • I would like to try my hand at the recipe. Andrew, if yours is different could you email a copy? I now live in Fort Myers Florida and wish there was a Smitty’s Birdland here. If I knew how to start one than people here would be in heaven.

    • I’m also interested in the recipe. I remember Smitty telling me one night (when he was on Genesee Street) that the secret was maple syrup.

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