Why Homemade BBQ Sauce Is The Way To Go
One of the most satisfying meal experiences ever is the time-honored barbecue. Throwing some cuts of meat on the grill or going slow and easy with a long preparation of brisket, a barbecue is a fantastic way to share food with the people you love.
And of course, barbecue sauce plays a huge role in any good barbecue. Not only as a condiment to top off the delicious meat you’re grilling, but also as a marinade, infusing the entire meal with its delicious tanginess. It goes on the meat, it goes on the sides, it’s an essential part of the entire experience.
Not only that, but you can use barbecue sauce outside of barbecues, as a condiment on all manner of meals any day of the week. Are you making some oven-baked ribs? Put some barbecue sauce on them. This has the added benefit of turning any meal into its own mini-cookout.
So, given the fact that barbecue sauce is such an important part of the barbecue experience (and beyond), why should we be content with a store-bought, highly processed product?
You likely put in the effort to have the best meat. You have the best kitchen knives. You have the best sides and the best ingredients. Why shouldn’t you also have the best BBQ sauce?
If you really want to put your own stamp on the barbecue experience, there’s no better way to do it than by making your own homemade barbecue sauce, with your own ingredients.
1. Where Did BBQ Sauce Come From?
There are actually many, many variations of barbecue sauce, and they built over time to what we now recognize as the “standard”.
It is believed that barbecue sauce first emerged in the 17th century. Vinegar and peppers prepared together on the coastal plains of North and South Carolina. Then in the 18th century, German settlers brought along their use of mustard, eventually resulting in South Carolina style mustard-based barbecue sauce.
When ketchup became popular around 1900, it entered the barbecue sauce equation and joined in the development of the “light tomato” BBQ sauce variety. This consisted of simply combining ketchup with the vinegar-and-pepper BBQ sauce, resulting in a sweet sauce that’s closer to what we now identify as traditional barbecue sauce.
This led to the creation of the “heavy tomato” variety of BBQ sauce, appearing in the mid 20th century. It’s considerably sweeter, tangier, and thicker, quickly becoming the standard version of “BBQ sauce” for the general population thanks to its mass production and distribution by companies like Heinz and Kraft Foods.
2. BBQ Sauce Recipe
This is our take on the best homemade BBQ sauce recipe.
This is a homemade version of the classic tomato-based BBQ sauce. It uses brown sugar, so it is fairly sweet while also being substantial and tangy. It hits all the right nostalgia spots but it’s also richer, more complex, and better than any of the store-bought stuff.
|Tomato sauce (no salt added)||1 ½ cups|
|Apple cider vinegar||3 tablespoons|
|Packed dark brown sugar||⅔ cup|
|Molasses||1 ½ tablespoons|
|Worcestershire sauce||1 tablespoon|
|Dry mustard||2 teaspoons|
|Chili powder||2 teaspoons|
|Smoked paprika||2 teaspoons|
|Onion powder||1 teaspoon|
|Liquid smoke||2 teaspoons|
|Garlic powder||½ teaspoon|
|Celery seeds||¼ teaspoon|
|Ground cloves||¼ teaspoon|
|Ground red pepper||¼ teaspoon|
|Tomato paste||1 6-ounce can|
This is an extremely simple barbecue sauce to make; you’ll find that it’s mostly about the quality of ingredients you buy. You can also make it more or less spicy by incorporating different elements. Let’s get started.
- Place all your ingredients in a pan over medium low heat.
- Stir your ingredients to combine them.
- Bring your ingredients to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low.
- Let the mix simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until you notice it’s thickened to your desired texture.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to six months.
If you’re a heat lover, you can add in a splash of Tabasco or a similar vinegar-based hot sauce (Crystal, Franks Red Hot, or Tapatio also works great). You could also add additional cayenne pepper.
Smoked paprika is certainly preferable over regular paprika. You want that extra smokiness. You should be able to find it in most grocery stores.
Some people like to add a bit of fruity tang to their hot sauce. You can cut a pineapple and throw the chunks in a food processor, then simply put in the result in your mix. It adds a very interesting, very delicious new flavor.