Note: This is part 1 of a multi-part blog culminating with my version of pulled pork made indoors
I love condiments, sauces, toppings and the like. I just do! Getting something ordinary then topping it and making it extraordinary is what food is all about. You know you go to that wacky little hotdog stand and get a killer homemade mustard or ketchup, maybe you go to a chi chi restaurant and while the steak was awesome the Bearnaise sauce was what you raved about. Well, that's me! Sauces also happen to be one of my favorite things to make. Now some have a slightly higher degree of difficulty while others are a breeze. One of my absolute favorites, and one that's an absolute breeze to make, is BBQ sauce
BBQ sauce can be made from many different bases ranging from ketchup to vinegar to tomato sauce to mustard depending on your taste, where you're from and what you're using it on. The sweet to heat ration can also vary. For this simple, all purpose, go-to sauce we're going with a ketchup based, sweet but not sickeningly so basic sauce. Prep time is next to nothing and it cooks up right quick. Best of all you should have most of the ingredients lying around the house already (maybe not the paprika but invest in some).
Now before I go any further someone always asks "why bother making your own? You can buy a decent bottle of BBQ sauce for pretty short money". Yes, you can. The reason you make your own is IT TASTES BETTER!! There is something comforting about knowing every ingredient going into something you're going to ingest. Your going to take an ingredient list on the back of a bottle of store bought sauce from 20 plus, most of which you can't identify, to about 6 or 7 (I know mass produced ketchup has a bunch of ingredients too but, well, shut up!!). Anyway try this and tell me if you disagree. As always this is an homage to many base BBQ sauce recipes I've found online and I am in no way claiming it as 100% original
2 cups tomato ketchup- I use a 20 oz bottle and use as much as I can squeeze out. It usually ends up being slightly more then 2 cups (16 oz). But if you have a bigger bottle then measure out the 2 cups. Also, I buy whatever is on sale and not premium stuff like Heinz (I get Hunts at Ocean State Job Lots or Del Monte at the dollar store).
1 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar- A lot of the taste and tang comes from the vinegar. Make sure you use cider vinegar, not straight white vinegar. Trust me on this one
5 tbs brown sugar- I like light brown sugar and it's more common. Dark brown will produce a different taste because it's heavier in molasses. If that's all you got tho, go with it. I have a different sauce I make with molasses that is equally tasty
5 tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard- (if you have a 1/2 tbs measure you can use that. I don't)
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika- I prefer the half sharp to the smoked in this application but again, whatever you have
2-3 grinds black pepper- I've cut way down on how much black pepper I use in this sauce as it kind of over powered the sauce before. If you like more, use more but this is how I like it
1 tbs lemon juice- I have used lime juice in a pinch for that citrus flavor but lemon juice works best
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
Medium saucepan- You want something deep as opposed to wide. In other words not what you boiled pasta in. I use a high sided saucepan but use what you have.
Spatula or spoon- I use a silicone spatula as towards the end the gunk on the sides can get pretty sticky
Step 1- Dump all the ingredients into the pot (everyone in the pool). Mix all the ingredients together
Step 2- Turn the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer (1 or 2 setting in most cases but it depends on your stove top and your pot)
Step 3- Let simmer for 1 hour - 1 hour 15 minutes uncovered- This will reduce the sauce and give it a thicker body. Stir constantly and keep scraping the remnants from the former "fill line" back into the sauce
And that's it!! Try a taste of it while it's still warm and tell me it's not freakin awesome!! Go ahead, I'll wait....
I store the cooled sauce in a mason jar and store in the fridge. I also like to get a cheap condiment squeeze bottle at the dollar store and fill it if I'm having people over for BBQ for more pinpoint accuracy. Try this one as it's simple, cheap and tasty. No excuses!!!