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Barbecue Sauce


SobaAddict70
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Okay, this is not tomato based, but it can be adjusted many ways. Take equal portions (say a cup) of low sodium soy sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar. Put them all in a pot and heat until just simmering and the sugar is melted. Now, in a separate bowl, whisk a table spoon or more of corn starch into a couple of shots of whiskey. I like bourbon, but you can use whatever works or you can use something like apple juice. When the starch is dissolved, stir the mixture into the other pot and bring to a boil. It should thicken up nicely. If not, add more corn starch & liquid mixture. That's your base. You want tomato? Add tomato paste or even ketchup. You want garlic? Saute some and add it. You like it spicy? Throw in some red pepper flakes. Whatever. Just don't apply it to the meat early in the process. This sauce, like most BBQ sauces is full of sugar and will burn. Brush it on near the end.

Paul B

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I actually always offer two sauces, one tomato based and one mustard vinegar. You should try them both. perhaps you will educate some folks and they may surprise themselves and like it.

Here is a link to a Marlena Spieler recipe. She contributes articles and recipes to the San Francisco Chronicle. This is a great recipe that lends itself to tweeks of your choice.

http://www.marlenaspieler.com/recip200406.shtml

For a vinegar sauce you can't do much better than this one in the eGullet recipe file.

http://recipes.egullet.org/recipes/r509.html

I make this using Chipotle Tabasco Sauce.

Let us know what you choose and how things turn out.

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne."

John Maynard Keynes

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Here's my favorite way to make BBQ sauce. Even my onion-hating brothers like this one. It's very tomato-y and sweet, so I usually use it on pork (I like tomato-y but vinegar-y for beef and chicken).

In a blender, puree one peeled and quartered red onion with between one-half and one cup of orange juice. Cook this over medium-low heat with dark brown sugar and molasses (about a 2:1 ratio), vinegar (about the same amount as the molasses), a can of tomato sauce and one of paste, dry mustard, granulated garlic powder (around 1 T of each), salt and pepper (I usually use a mixture of white pepper and cayenne) to taste.

I just let this simmer an hour or two when I'm jsut making a batch to have around, but when I'm grilling or smoking a big hunk of meat, I put it in an aluminum pan on the corner of my grill and let it absorb the smokiness. It makes a large-ish saucepan-full. I have no idea on actual measurements because I just toss them in by eye.

ETA: I meant to say that this is a great base to add many different flavors to. I like to add a head of roasted garlic instead of the garlic powder, grainy mustard sometimes, and when vidalias are in season, I make a super huge batch (but I use 2 vidalias to each red onion to get a similarly onion-y flavor).

Edited by emilyr (log)

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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  • 5 years later...

The lend of an electric smoker has lead to record-breaking quantities of barbecue this summer. Smoked meat just isn't complete without a vinegary Tennessee-style sauce, and I've found the stuff from the store comes in only three categories:

1. Prohibitively expensive

2. Ketchup

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 (log)
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1. Try infusing whole spices into your tomato paste when you heat/fry it (I'd heat it, myself, with a hint of vinegar to round out the flavours). Then remove the whole spices before you use the paste.

2. Absolutely no reason not to make caramel, but why not investigate burnt brown sugar as well? You'd get a hint of smokey flavour that way.

3. A pinch of wasabi goes a really long way....

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I've been happy with the Memphis BBQ Sauce in Modernist Cuisine: the basic components are

  • Canned tomatoes (100%)
  • Cider vinegar (27%)
  • Lemon juice (13%)
  • Butter (13%)
  • Brown sugar (11.5%)
  • Worcestershire sauce (10%)

The spices they use are chili powder, onion powder, tobasco, mustard powder, and cayenne.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I'm a convert to the mustard-based South Carolina sauces, as exemplified by =Mark's version: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php/topic/126568-south-carolina-mustard-barbecue-sauce/

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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I wing it. Always.

There are really two kinds of sauces in my opinion, mop sauces and also straight up BBQ sauces.

A mop sauce you use when smoking any kind of meat and you want to keep it moist. For that reason, it needs to be pretty liquid. I usually take a big bowl and fill it with whatever fruit juice I have lying around (apple/orange) and add cider vinegar, mustard and hot sauce and whatever other seasonings I want to add, such as more of the rub that is already on the meat. This I apply liberally to whatever I am smoking every 30 minutes or so, such as ribs, pork loin, pork shoulder, turkeys, chickens, etc.

This I will then reduce with sugar or add molasses or other ingredients to have a glaze at the end if the mop itself isn't sufficient. I'm not really fond of most regular or commercial barbecue sauces, but I try to find ones that are molasses rather than HFCS-based. Weber actually has a very good line of molasses-based BBQ sauces which are a good starting point, but I've had a tough time finding them.

If meat is properly rubbed and smoked, and has a good mop, you really don't need a BBQ sauce.

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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If meat is properly rubbed and smoked, and has a good mop, you really don't need a BBQ sauce.

Well, now... "need" is such a relative term. I mean, pork seasoned with salt and cooked on the BBQ tastes great, because pork is good: it doesn't "need" anything else. But variety is nice too, and sometimes I like the variety that includes sauce. But I agree wholeheartedly that the vast majority of commercial sauces are gross. I haven't tried Weber's line, though.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I don't actually have a recipe but I have made bbq sauce this way for decades and without fail people tell me it's the best. I do use ketchup--but thinned with as much water (1:1). Start by sauteeing onion and garlic in vegetable oil. Add ketchup and water. Add very fresh, high quality spices, never blends: chile powder (I use an ancho powder), cayenne, dry mustard, s, bl pepper, brown sugar, molasses, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, cumin (tiny bit), coriander (tiny bit), and a kind of secret ingredient, caraway seed. Simmer. Strain out the onion. You just need to play it by ear, tasting til it is what you want. It should be dark and, I think, what you are looking for. Once you get it, you can try other additions: maple syrup, fennel seed, thyme. Always strain.

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The way I deal with onion is just to blend the sauce after it's cooked. My Asian side comes out at times and I sneak in some soy sauce: combination of light, dark, and sweet. And depending on how I want my sauce at that moment, sometimes hoisin sauce makes it in as well.

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I use tomato puree (paste), no ketchup. A bit of red wine (mainly to get the consistency right), about the same amount of corn oil + the same amount again of white wine vinegar, dry mustard to taste, A good dollop of paprika (smoked is nice). Lots of freshly ground black pepper, crushed cloves of garlic and a generous amount of dried oregano. A normally add a bit of honey as well. I whiz it all in the food processor to finish.

I've deliberately left out quantities as they depend upon the quantity you want to make & your personal taste preferences. This sauce keeps well in the fridge for several weeks.

I like to marinate my ribs (cut into suitable lengths) in this sauce overnight in the fridge in zip-lock bags. I scrape off the excess before BBQing.

Works for me. Especially as I find it difficult to get smoker wood around here.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been happy with the Memphis BBQ Sauce in Modernist Cuisine: the basic components are

  • Canned tomatoes (100%)
  • Cider vinegar (27%)
  • Lemon juice (13%)
  • Butter (13%)
  • Brown sugar (11.5%)
  • Worcestershire sauce (10%)

The spices they use are chili powder, onion powder, tobasco, mustard powder, and cayenne.

Wow, that is an interesting formula. Is it cooked down for a while for a thicker texture or left on the looser side?

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I just made a "mop sauce" as suggested, but with a bit of a twist: No tomato sauce.

Instead, I used allspice, cloves, cinnamon, some other stuff, reconstituted dried ancho peppers, water, cider vinegar and butter to make something with approximately the correct viscosity and taste. It turned out pretty good, and it was pleasantly different in an I'm-not-quite-sure-how sort of way.

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Here's a picture of how it turned out. My smoker is rage-inducingly awful, but the meat was fabulous anyway.

image2hpk.jpg

I was actually happier with the texture (and increased surface area!) on a big pork chop that was thrown in with the roasts to see what would happen. A higher cooking temperature also produced better results; however, the heater in question has no thermostat (!) and as a result just sets at whatever temperature the electric heating element produces.

Edited by jrshaul (log)
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One of the better tips I have picked up over the years is to take the water pan water after the end of the smoke and use a gravy/fat seperator to skim the fat off .. The liquid underneath will have lots of flavour from the drippings and will carry a deep smoke flavour. Think homemade liquid smoke that doesn't have that funky aftertaste. You can use it straight up or even concentrate it down in a saucepan. A touch or more of this will give your homemade BBQ sauce a deep flavour

"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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