I am a BBQ lover through and through. Ribs, BBQ chicken, brunswick stew – you name it. But I am tired of the syrupy sweet commercial BBQ sauces that leave you reeling after the second dollop.
I want to eat BBQ sauce with abandon. And so I figured out how to make it myself.
It’s fresh, packed with flavor and the perfect balance of sweet & tangy – no corn syrup daze here!
Now I’m not about to get into all the ins and outs of BBQ sauce – the varieties, the regions, the applications, etc. But I will just mention that since this is a tomato-based BBQ sauce, it is great for things like ground beef, shredded chicken or pork, hamburgers, grilled chicken – things of this nature.
I’m always making chicken broth out of drumsticks. Shredding the drumstick meat and sauteeing it in a few spoonfuls of this sauce makes great BBQ chicken for a sandwich!
I probably wouldn’t plan this to go with baby back ribs or other special cuts of meat so as not to overshadow or compete with the flavor of the meat.
The basic elements of the common tomato-based BBQ sauce:
Tomato: I chose a combination of tomato paste and crushed tomatoes or sauce – depending on what texture I’m going for.
Sweetener: Good choices are molasses, maple syrup and brown sugar such as sucanat. I think using some molasses is a must to really add a punch of complex flavor, more or less depending on preference.
Vinegar: This is what gives BBQ sauce its tang. You can change the overall taste a lot by adding or reducing vinegar. Many recipes call for white vinegar. I don’t go near that stuff unless I’m cleaning my house. Cider vinegar is a better choice for nutrition as well as taste.
Spices: Garlic, onion, salt, pepper and a touch of chili peppers is a good foundation. If you want some more warming spices, add a pinch of clove, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and/or allspice.
Butter or other healthy fat: To round out the flavors of the tart tomatoes, tangy vinegar and sweetener you’ll need some butter or other healthy fat such as ghee, coconut oil or olive oil.
I’m leaving you with a recipe of how these elements played out for me. You can adjust them and make your own “House” BBQ sauce. Enjoy!
Making your own dressing and condiments is a delicious way to make your meals more nutrient dense (while dropping un-necessaries from your diet – white vinegar, corn syrup, additives & preservatives)!
Here are some more recipes from An Appetite For Joy:
- 15 oz. crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce (I like crushed for a little texture and use Pomi carton tomatoes)
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon unsulphured blackstrap molasses
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 clove pressed garlic)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder (or ½ onion minced and sauteed a bit over low heat before adding the rest of the ingredients)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon unrefined salt
- 1-2 tablespoons sucanat (or other brown sugar)
- black pepper to taste
- ¼ teaspoon crushed chilies
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Start with 1 tablespoon of sucanat (brown sugar). Simmer for 30 minutes. Taste. If needed, adjust sugar and seasonings. Enjoy!