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Wingin’ It: BBBQ sauce tops a Cleveland-inspired Polish Boy

Think garbage plate meets Primanti Bros sandwich

Wingin it 2022 - Cleveland at Buffalo - Polish Boy

Can you believe it? Season Five of Wingin’ It. Where has the time gone? For any newcomers, here’s the premise. It’s hungry work being a fan of the Buffalo Bills. Every week of the regular and postseason, Buffalo Rumblings brings you a recipe to try out with a “Buffalo” twist.

The Buffalo Bills are set to host the Cleveland Browns (and by “host,” I mean more like “throw a house party at someone else’s place while they’re out of town”) and I landed on a Cleveland recipe that’s quite honestly a game-changer. The Polish Boy sandwich is a kielbasa on a roll with french fries, BBQ sauce, and cole slaw. I’m going to focus on the sauce, as I assume you can handle the rest. I wanted to make a Loganberry-inspired BBBQ sauce (the extra “B” is for “berry”). Rather than use syrup or the sugary drink, I went with blackberries, because who can find Loganberries this time of year? If you can, easy swap for you.

BBBQ Sauce

Serves: A lot
Active Time: 10 min
Total Time: 30 - 40 min


2 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 oz. package of berries
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup ketchup
14 cup apple cider vinegar
14 cup water
3 Tbsp brown sugar

  1. Melt butter in a medium pot on LOW.
  2. Increase heat to MED and stir in berries. While stirring, you can crush berries to help reduce cooking time (see below); crush and stir periodically for 3-5 min.
  3. Add onion powder and black pepper; continue stirring about 1 min.
  4. Stir in the remainder of the ingredients and bring to a simmer, stirring periodically.
  5. Reduce heat to LOW and stir occasionally, allowing the mixture to combine for about half an hour in total. (You may also want to scrape down the sides and stir back in.)
  6. Rest sauce for a few minutes before adding to your Polish Boy or other food.

Wingin’ It Tips and Prep Gallery

The big thing here is using whole berries in a sauce. With most sauces, you would use juice, cider, or another liquid. While I’d still recommend allowing the sauce to combine for half an hour at least, you can make a good sauce in under five minutes.

The berries add a lot of flavor directly, and can be worth the extra time and effort. You will want to reach that half-hour point, for sure. If you don’t, the seeds might be problematic. Cooked this long, they’ll likely be fine. You can slice the berries ahead of time, but I like to combine my stir with a crushing technique to save a bit of time.

The first picture shows that there are lumps and seeds visible in the sauce. This is fairly early in the process, right after the heat reduction to LOW—which is why it looks like the picture was taken through steam. The other two pics are to show the sauce after being added, and the full Polish Boy experience.

I used a vinegar and poppy seed-based slaw, which mingled perfectly with the sauce. For BBQ lovers, this sauce steers toward sweet and tangy. You can reduce the vinegar to cut down on the tangy, or the sugar to cut down on the sweet. If you’re worried about these ingredients, add them last and start with smaller amounts.