Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thrifty Thursdays: Homemade BBQ Sauce


I hate to keep things so sauce-centric for this particular feature, and I promise you next week we'll deal with some more solid food, but I did just whip up a batch of barbecue sauce, and it smells so delicious that I just had to write about it. For once, I'm going to post a recipe, because I don't remember where I originally found this recipe, so I offer my humblest apologies for that, and that means I can't just link to it as I normally would.

The great thing about this particular BBQ sauce is that it appeals to fans and non-fans of this particular condiment. Jen, for example, ordinarily can't stand barbecue sauce, which usually means I'm s.o.l. if I'm jonesing to make some pulled pork or chicken. Such is life, but, you know, I'd remained convinced that there was a barbecue sauce out there that Jen would like, and that she just hadn't tried it yet. Such was the case with mango, cherries, and most kinds of cheese--those were all foods she'd rendered seemingly permanent judgment on prior to our relationship, and they're also all foods that she now loves. Luckily, I was right, and the only BBQ sauce that she'll eat--and even seems to really dig--is the one we're discussing today. The recipe I use is as follows:

1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup vinegar
1/9 cup v. oil
1/9 cup worcestershire sauce
1/6 cup dark brown sugar (or regular brown sugar)
1 tbsp. mustard
A large pinch of garlic powder...
and a large pinch of onion powder
dash black pepper (to taste)

The recipe I make is a pretty small amount, with bizarre measurements like "1/9 cup." What I'm really doing here is making 1/3 of the full recipe. The recipe above will yield one cup or so of BBQ sauce, which is plenty for me and Jen. I don't eat a ton of BBQ sauce, so that will last us a few weeks or a month, at which point I'll just make more BBQ sauce whenever we need some. You should feel free to make the full recipe, though. In the spirit of Thrifty Thursdays, the full recipe is pretty equivalent to a small-to-medium-size bottle of barbecue sauce at the supermarket. While that would cost you $2.50 or $3, this recipe costs only 45 cents or so to make. That means a pretty solid savings of about 80% off the store price.

1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 cup vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil (feel free to substitute any neutral oil)
1/3 cup worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 tbsp. mustard
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. onion powder
dash black pepper (to taste)


You can use light or dark brown sugar in this recipe. I personally prefer the flavor of dark and I think it adds some additional depth to the barbecue sauce's flavor profile.


No need to mix your ingredients before adding them to a small pan. Just put each ingredient into the pan, and then mix them all up, turn the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. I think this picture looks a little like barbecue sauce abstract art. Feel free to print it out and hang it on your wall, at no charge. I'm feeling generous.


After the simmering phase, turn off the heat and remove the pan to another burner to let the sauce cool down. When it's no longer hot, pour it into a sealable container and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours. Putting your barbecue sauce in the fridge for a little while gives its flavors some more time to intermingle, but if you absolutely must have the barbecue sauce immediately, it'll already taste pretty good. If you don't need it immediately, though, be sure to refrigerate it first--you'll be amazed by what a difference it makes.

Pulled Pork

Here's one idea for what you can do with your newly-made barbecue sauce: make pulled pork or pulled chicken. For me, what this basically amounts to is braising pork or chicken in this sauce thinned out with some water (to create your braising liquid), simmered for a few hours or until fully cooked and to a perfectly pull-able consistency. I like to serve pulled meats with a little french bread, for scooping up the pulled pork or chicken, and a little avocado, which cuts nicely through the tanginess of the barbecue sauce.


Thanks for stopping by, and I'll see you all tomorrow for the first edition of a new ongoing feature here at Beach City Cooking! Have a great night, and stay cool!

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