1. Prohibitively expensive
3. Prohibitively expensive ketchup.
Most of the DIY recipes aren't much better - the Heinz flavor in the recipe I use always seems to pull through , and the large quantity of ground seasonings produces gritty texture. I also double the vinegar; while I haven't set foot in Tennessee for nearly ten years, it just doesn't seem right otherwise.
I've been mulling over a few possible improvements, and was wondering if anyone had any insight.
1. Using tomato paste as a base. My past attempts to replace the ketchup weren't very good, but it seems like an obvious improvement. Perhaps frying the paste first would help?
2. Alternate sweeteners. Brown sugar is all right, but the corn syrup has to go. Vietnamese cooking includes a basic caramel in numerous meat glazes - why not use it in barbecue sauce?
3. Alternate seasonings. The recipe I use presently, while functional, includes an absurd number of "spice mixes" with overlapping ingredients: I suspect cayenne is added at least thrice over. Substituting fresh or reconstituted ingredients would be a big improvement.
I've already had success substituting chipotles for smoke extract, and the use of reconstituted anchos could potentially displace paprika. In addition to improvements flavor and texture, they're also much cheaper.
More problematic is dehydrated onion. Fresh onions don't substitute well for onion powder, and too much raw or fried onion would affect the texture. Maybe pureed shallots would work?
4. Infusing spices into vinegar. A BBQ sauce just isn't without black peppercorn, but I'd rather not have it floating about in the bottle. Bearnaise sauce solves this problem by using seasoned vinegar as an ingredient; hopefully the same will work here.
Edited by jrshaul, 11 June 2012 - 12:19 PM.