The Ultimate Guide to Homemade BBQ Sauce
The BBQ sauce is a must-have in every American household. It’s one of the staples in creating great marinades and dips that will make any grilled (and even fried) dish a blockbuster. Whether it’s chicken, steak, or pork, homemade BBQ sauce never gets old.
Although there are so many sauces you’ll find off the rack at the grocery store, you can always make your own homemade BBQ sauce. The best thing about this is that you can create the recipe based on your preferred taste. If you like it spicy, then you can add more spice to it. If you want it to be tangier, then you can add more apple cider vinegar. When it comes to homemade BBQ sauce, the sky is the limit.
The History of Barbecue Sauce
Consumption of BBQ sauce dates back to the 17th century. There isn’t much about the history of BBQ sauce but each state has its own recipe for this world-famous sauce. But even if it’s one of America’s favorite sauces, it does not have American roots. There are theories that BBQ sauce was created in Europe because in the Middle Ages, mixing of spices were dominant in this part of the world.
It is said that the first commercially-produced BBQ sauce started in Atlanta, Georgia way back in 1909. After that, big companies like Heinz and Kraft Foods followed suit. Heinz produced their own BBQ sauce in 1940.
Recipe #1: The Basics
If you’re a beginner at making sauces, you can always follow a guide. After that, you can keep tweaking the recipe until you find the flavor you are aiming for. To help you out, here is a basic BBQ sauce recipe that you can use on your first try.
- 2 cups of ketchup
- ¼ cup of brown sugar
- ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp liquid seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon hot sauce
- To start off your homemade BBQ sauce, use a large saucepan for your ingredients. Put the ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, liquid seasoning, honey, and hot sauce. If you don’t want your BBQ sauce to have a tinge of spice in it, you don’t have to add the hot sauce.
- Mix all the ingredients properly until you feel that they’re equally distributed throughout the sauce.
- Then, place the saucepan on the stove and cook it in medium heat. Some people choose to just mix the sauce using a blender, but cooking the sauce won’t hurt either. In fact, cooking the sauce will make it thicker. This also allows the flavors to really mix together and blend well with the other ingredients.
- While cooking the sauce, make sure that you stir everything from time to time.
- When the sauce starts to boil, put the temperature in low heat and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also let it simmer for an hour to make the taste even richer.
- After this, remove the saucepan from the stove and let it cool. You will notice that when it cools down, it becomes thicker. But because you’ve mixed it well, there won’t be any lumps in your BBQ sauce.
- Once the sauce is cooled enough, store it in an airtight container. You can store it in room temperature or place it inside the fridge.
Recipe #2: For the Sweet Tooth
If you have a thing for sweets, then you will definitely prefer BBQ sauce that has a certain sweetness to it. Some people think that making a sweet BBQ sauce does not match with a spicy one, but there are recipes that proved that both sweet and spicy flavors can co-exist. If you’re looking for a way to do it, here’s a recipe to help you out.
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- ⅓ cup of apple cider
- 1 ½ tbsp molasses
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp crushed pepper
- ½ tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp celery salt
- Using a medium saucepan, stir all the ingredients together. You can taste the sauce using a teaspoon so that you can adjust the sweetness to your preference. When mixing the ingredients, you can stir as you put the different kinds of powder in the mixture.
- Put the saucepan over a stove or induction cooker. Increase the temperature to medium heat and wait for the sauce to boil.
- While waiting for the BBQ sauce to boil, slowly mix the ingredients together. This will cause the different kinds of powder to break and mix well with the other components of the sauce.
- When the sauce starts to boil, change the temperature to low heat. This will make the sauce get into a simmer.
- After 10-15 minutes, you can now stop cooking and let the BBQ sauce cool down. During this cooling down phase, the sauce becomes slightly thicker.
- Store the BBQ sauce in an airtight container and place it in room temperature.
Recipe #3: Steak-and-Rib
And now you have a smoky BBQ sauce that you can use as a marinade for your steaks and ribs. Having an all-around BBQ sauce might be impossible to create, but having the right smokiness and spice in the sauce is all you need. Here’s a simple recipe that you can try at home.
- 2 cups ketchup
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp molasses
- 1 tbsp hot sauce (Tabasco hot sauce is preferred)
- 2 tbsp molasses
- ½ tsp liquid smoke
- 2 chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan except for the garlic cloves. A saucepan is the best equipment for creating sauces because the walls trap the heat inside, making the flavor richer. Also, it lessens the spills on the table once you start stirring your BBQ sauce. If you want to adjust the flavor, use a small spoon to taste it before you add more spices. When adding spices, do this carefully because you don’t want to make one flavor overpowering.
- Place your saucepan on a stove and cook it in medium to high heat. It’s important that you cook this particular BBQ sauce because of the ingredients. You will be able to bring out more flavor to the sauce if you add a little heat in it.
- When the sauce is starting to boil, this is when you put the garlic cloves. Mix it slowly and well using a spatula. Make sure that the garlic cloves are equally distributed in the saucepan.
- After 15 minutes, remove the garlic cloves. Let the sauce simmer.
- Turn off the heat and keep the sauce in the saucepan. Let the BBQ sauce cool down so that you can transfer it in a container. Cooling it down will also lengthen the shelf life of your sauce.
- When the sauce is cool enough, transfer everything into an airtight container. It’s important that the bottle is airtight so you don’t risk it getting spoiled.
A Few Things To Note
- You can never go wrong with BBQ sauce. If you want it to be less sweet, you can cut back on the brown sugar or the honey. If you want it to be less salty, you can also lessen the liquid seasoning.
- Even if it’s called “BBQ sauce”, you can still use it for your steaks. To give it a smokier flavor, you can increase the amount of Worcestershire sauce. Adding smoked paprika will also give a more rustic flavor to the mix.
- There are many ways to add a tangy flavor to BBQ sauce. One is that you can use Dijon mustard instead of regular mustard. While there’s nothing wrong with using regular mustard, Dijon mustard is richer in flavor. It gives a sauce a spiciness without making it too hot.
- Even if you’re making your own BBQ sauce, there’s no harm in adding BBQ sauce that you bought from a grocery store. Some people do this because there are sauces that have great flavors that complement your own homemade recipe.
- BBQ sauce is a great sauce for marinating food simply because it helps to caramelize the food. Thanks to the brown sugar and honey there, the sweetness reinforces a browning appearance.
- When it comes to the shelf-life of the BBQ sauce, it can last for 1 to 3 weeks. Depending on the ingredients you will use, it can even be used for a full month.
- The trick to increasing the shelf-life of the sauce is in the storage. Make sure that you place it in an airtight container. It will also be better to leave it in a cabinet in room temperature.
In the end, it all comes down to the taste you want your BBQ sauce to have. And instead of buying from a grocery store, you can experiment on a sauce that you will love.