Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Back to Basics: Quick & Easy BBQ Sauce

As sacrilegious as it may be, I was never a fan of bbq growing up.  I didn't eat meat, so no pulled pork, smoked chicken, or ribs for me.  And don't get me started on those horrendous "bbq" flavored potato chips.  So it was quite a surprise when I was pregnant with Caroline and my biggest craving was bbq pulled pork.  I just couldn't get enough.  I fully expected my love of bbq to go away once I had her, but it's almost four years later, and it's still going strong.

When the craving first hit, I was pretty partial to Williamson Bros. (a local bbq place) and Sweet Baby Ray's bbq sauces.  But as any kitchen fiend would, I eventually decided that I could and should be making my own bbq sauce!  

There are countless recipes out there for homemade bbq sauce, but this one is my standby.  It's no-cook, and comes together in literally two minutes.  Just add all the ingredients and whisk them together.  It also keeps really well in the fridge.  It's made with things that you probably already have in your pantry, and while it is pretty basic and no-frills, it's just what you want - a little sweet, a tad spicy, a little smokey.  The perfect addition to pulled pork or grilled chicken.  And it's open to countless variations:

  • add extra hot sauce or a few chopped chipotle chiles for a spicy sauce
  • mix in a few tablespoons of peach or raspberry preserves for a fruity version
  • stir in some mustard for a South Carolina-style hybrid
  • add some hoison sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar for an Asian flair
  • add some pineapple puree and soy sauce for some Hawaiian-style
  • If you want to make things grown up, stir in a few tablespoons of beer or bourbon
No matter which route you decide to take, this is an easy, no-frills base recipe that is great on it's own.  And now what to do with all that sauce?  I'll be sharing a super-fun idea tomorrow, but for now, check out these ideas from around the blogosphere:

BBQ Chicken Burgers (one of our favorite dinners)
BBQ Chicken Wings (also works well on grilled chicken breasts or thighs)
Hawaiian BBQ Pork (or chicken) Pizza
Pulled Pork Empanadas with Chipotle-Peach BBQ Sauce (Confections of a Foodie Bride)
BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ-Cilantro-Lime Dressing (Erin's Food Files)
Cheeseburgers with BBQ Caramelized Onions (Elly Says Opa)
BBQ Chicken Tacos with Blue Cheese Slaw (Prevention, RD)
BBQ Portabello Sliders (How Sweet It Is)
BBQ Chicken, Brie, and Plaintain Wraps - totally intrigued by these (My Life as a Mrs.)
BBQ Pork Enchiladas (Branny Boils Over)

I'm always looking for new and fun ideas, so what's your favorite use of BBQ sauce?

Quick and Easy BBQ Sauce
barely adapted from America's Test Kitchen

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • salt and pepper
Whisk together all the ingredients in a medium bowl.  Taste and season with additional salt, pepper, honey, and/or hot sauce.  Store covered, in the refrigerator, for several weeks.


Anonymous said...

To me, BBQ sauce is delicious, heavenly, and I want to smother everything in it. It's the opposite of mayonnaise (i have a phobia). thank you so much for this recipe; I love all the different BBQ twists you added!

I am looking up liquid smoke right now, b/c i have no idea what that is!

Eileen said...

Homemade BBQ sauce, yeah! I usually make the Joy of Cooking standard recipe--I will have to try your variation out too. BBQ sauce showdown!

Regarding Rehse said...

This whole post is delish! Haha! Bbq is huge here in Savannah, and after my husband was stationed in both Carolinas, we got a taste for all the regions sauces!

Heather said...

I have tried many BBQ sauces and have yet to find one that we really enjoy. I can’t wait to try this recipe and some of the different versions. Looks yummy!

And I just added the BBQ chicken burgers to our menu for next week :)

Joanne said...

I'm always looking for a new favorite bbq sauce recipe because my family loves it so much. thsi is next on my list to try!

ErinsFoodFiles said...

Thanks for the linkback! :) I've never made homemade bbq sauce, but my dad has. In parts of KY and TN, vinegar based sauces (which is what he made) are really popular, especially on pulled pork!

Angie said...

I am so glad you posted this! We're grilling for my son's party and I wanted to have BBQ sauce for anyone that wants it, but I don't want bottles on my elaborately planned table and I want everything in mason jars! Looks like I'll be trying this out this weekend, and judging on your reaction to it, putting it on the table!

Ana said...

Amazing! So easy and delicious - no more bottled sauce for us! Used this w/ Crumbly Cookie's Crockpot Pulled Pork. Next time I'll double to have extra for later. :)

Christine N said...

Thanks for sharing, Josie! Do you know if you can use this recipe for canning to extend the lifetime?

branny said...

I made this today and we loved it - esp Danny. I added some mustard to the mix.

Josie said...

Christine, I have no idea. I'm not sure about the ins-and-outs of canning, so I can't recommend it. I will say that it lasts for a long time in the refrigerator. I think I've used it at least a month after making it, with no ill-effects.

Josie said...

So glad you liked it! My favorite bbq sauce is actually this mixed with SC style mustard sauce.

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