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Battle Barbecue – Renegade Rosamund’s Devil’s Apple Sauce

Battle Barbecue – Renegade Rosamund’s Devil’s Apple Sauce

The Fiery Cross

“It’s the tomato fruits she’s using, Mac Dubh,” he hissed, tugging at Jamie’s sleeve and pointing at the red-crusted bowl.  “Devil’s apples!  She’ll poison us all!”

“Oh, I shouldna think so, Ronnie.”  Jamie took a firm grip on Ronnie’s arm, and smiled engagingly at Rosamund.  “Ye mean to sell the meat, I suppose, Mrs. Lindsay?  It’s a poor merchant that would kill her customers, aye?”

“I ain’t yet lost a one, Mr. Fraser,” Rosamund agreed, turning back another sheet of burlap and leaning over to dribble sauce from a wooden ladle over a steaming haunch.  “Ain’t never had but good words about the taste, neither,” she said, “though a-course that would be in Boston, where I come from.”

Where folk have sense, her tone clearly implied.

Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (Chapter 13 – Beans and Barbecue)

I’m baaaack!!!!  Did you miss me? Summer finally arrived to the Pacific Northwest, so I decided to take a week off and have a little fun in the sun.

My R&R meant an interruption to our little recreation of The Fiery Cross’s Battle Barbecue.  But I’m glad for the wee break.  I’m feeling rested, refreshed and ready to conclude this epic BBQ tale with my version of Renegade Rosamund’s tomato-based sauce!

While I held pretty true to the roots of Eastern North Carolina BBQ with Ronnie Sinclair’s Traditional Vinegar Mop, I decided to go out on a bit of a limb with this one.  After all, I’ve got a little Rosie in me — all cooks/chefs do, really — that’s why they keep making Reality TV shows in kitchens all over the world.

Knives, stress and overwhelming heat lead to drama faster than you can say “Did I just see BJR?”

rosamunds-sauce BATTLE BARBECUE

But I digress.

This recipe started with my intention to make some Lexington barbecue, from Western North Carolina, where they use tomatoes in varying proportions in their sauce…and then I reread the excerpt, where it says that Rosamund is from Boston.

So I figured, since Rosamund got around, so could my sauce.

See how easily I get off track?

rosamunds-roast PORK

I caught a savory whiff as the wind changed.  So far as I could tell from smell alone, Rosamund’s sauce seemed to include tomatoes, onions, red pepper, and enough sugar to leave a thick blackish crust on the meat and a tantalizing caramel aroma in the air.

Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (Chapter 13 – Beans and Barbecue)

pork roast - battle barbecue

Some of you may be shocked by the cola – it certainly isn’t 18th C – but then again, neither is the ketchup in this uncooked sauce.  Both up the sugar content, which leads to caramelization, which ends in a blackened crust.

The result is an easy pulled pork that is tangy, sweet and bold.

Just like Rosamund and her barbecue.  Only better…’cause it doesn’t take 2 days from start to finish.


My Englishman preferred Ronnie’s Vinegar Mop, while I thought this one here was the best.  Is it a case of gender stubborness?  The only way to find out is to try both for yourselves…

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Renegade Rosamund’s Devil’s Apple BBQ Sauce

A shoulder (butt) roast seasoned with a dry rub and mopped using a tomato-vinegar sauce with origins in western North Carolina and some added inspiration from Rosamund’s hometown of Boston.  Traditionally served pulled on rolls with coleslaw.

Serves 4-6

Dry Rub:
Sweet Paprika – 2 Tble
Brown Sugar – 2 Tble
Kosher Salt – 2 tsp
Mustard Powder – 1 tsp
Onion Powder – ½ tsp
Cayenne – ½ tsp
Thyme – ½ tsp
Ground Black Pepper – ½ tsp

Pork Butt (Shoulder) Roast – 3 to 4 lbs

Devil’s Apple Sauce:
Ketchup – 1 Cup
Coca Cola – 1 Cup
White Vinegar – ½ Cup
Brown Sugar – ¼ Cup
Kosher Salt – 2 tsp
Ground Black Pepper – 1 tsp
Cayenne – 1 tsp
Onion Powder – 1 tsp

Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl and stir to mix well.

About an hour before you start cooking, remove the pork roast from the fridge.  Use your hands to rub t a generous amount of the dry rub into the roast.  Set aside to come to room temperature.

Place the roast in your smoker/grill, set to between 180°F and 225°F.  Cook with the wood/charcoal of your choice (I used hickory).  Start mopping the surface with sauce at hour 3, and every half hour after that, until the internal temperature measures 190°F on an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the roast, about 5-7 hours.

Remove from the smoker and tent lightly with foil for 15 minutes.  Pull the meat apart with 2 forks, and serve on rolls with coleslaw and additional sauce on the side.

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)


  • To keep food-borne illness away, pour a small amount of the sauce into a bowl from which you can mop the cooking meat.  Replenish as needed, but never dip the brush you use on the meat into the main batch of sauce.
  • Next time I will remove the elastic netting from the roast.  It’s not necessary, and it got in the way.
  • This boiled dressing recipe for coleslaw is my favourite with pulled pork — I’ve found that half the amount of dressing is plenty for a bag of pre-shredded coleslaw.


  1. mary
    August 12, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Have you tried it on chicken yet?

    • Theresa
      August 14, 2012 at 9:43 am

      not yet, Mary…but I don’t have to have tried it to tell you I know it will be fantastic on chicken!

  2. Aaron Brown
    August 13, 2012 at 5:26 am

    sounds wonderful, and I am glad you had a little R&R

    • Theresa
      August 14, 2012 at 9:43 am

      I know you had a good weekend off, recently too, Aaron! We deserve it! 😀

  3. renilyn
    August 13, 2012 at 7:22 am

    I do a similar sauce however beings that us folks that have EVER lived in TX know… you MUST use Dr. Pepper where cola is called for 😉 Sounds awesome! Cant wait to try the rub.

    @mary – I have tried mine on chicken (whole chickens, half chickens, breasts, wings etc) and its tremendous! Give it a go, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in the least hehe

    • Theresa
      August 14, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Dr. Pepper will do the trick!

  4. Kate Johnston
    August 13, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Yes. We missed you!!! You are amazing. Seriously drooling over this BBQ….

    • Theresa
      August 14, 2012 at 9:41 am

      awww, schucks! It’s nice to be missed…LOL

  5. bullrem
    August 15, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    This is something that good ole Southern lasses can sink their teeth into…..
    For sure. We use a Boston Butt around here – that will be mighty tasty with your recipes. Thanks, Theresa

  6. Kathleen Smith
    July 22, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Looking forward to making this sauce for short ribs or slow cooker pork roast. 🙂 I live in an apartment, no grilling allowed.

    The boiled dressing link leads to a notice that it no longer exists. 🙁 Coleslaw sounds delicious with this.

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