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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Make It Yourself: Barbecue Sauce

Walk down the condiments aisle of your local supermarket and you'll see an amazing array of barbecue sauces, ranging from sticky-sweet to vinegar-sharp to red-hot. This makes sense, given the wide array of barbecue styles in this country.

Some people like the sour tang of Carolina barbecue, while others prefer the tomatoey, molasses-rich flavors of the Midwest. Whatever you like, it's very easy to make your own sauce, adjusting the base to suit your taste. If you like a thick sauce, all you need is ketchup and a few basic ingredients; then you just need to figure out how hot, sweet, and sour you want to make it.

Over the years we've learned that barbecue sauce is very flexible. Heat can come from cayenne, chili powder, or even bottled hot sauce. If you don't have molasses to provide the sweetness, brown sugar works fine. Don't have red wine vinegar? Plain old white distilled will also work.

Here's our usual recipe:

Barbecue Sauce

1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup red wine (old leftover wine works well here)
2 T. red wine, sherry, or balsamic vinegar
2 T. molasses
1 t. Liquid Smoke
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. chili powder
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
a few grinds of black pepper

1. Heat oil in a saucepan, and add onions and garlic; cook for a few minutes, until soft and golden.

2. Add everything else. Stir, cover, and cook for a few minutes. Taste to determine how you want to adjust the seasonings. You might want more cayenne, more vinegar, or more molasses.

This lasts a very long time in the refrigerator, so if you make a big batch early in the season, you'll have it on hand when you need it.


  1. Sweet ride! :-)
    This looks like a great sauce recipe & a bet a little "liquid smoke" would make it just right for us. I'll have to give it a try!