BBQ Sauce

It is summer.  And even in Los Angeles, where is summer is a year round endeavor, some traditions must always be honored.  The backyard BBQ is one such tradition.  Who doesn’t like a BBQ?  Friends, family, low stress… and the flavors of the food… bold, spicy, tangy, smokey, and delicious in every way.  And when we get down to the nitty-gritty, it’s smoke and seasoning that gives us those flavors.  The sauce… the sauce that do anything, and make anything taste good.  The bbq sauce.  It doesn’t and shouldn’t be ‘signature’, it shouldn’t burn our mouth, what it should be is balanced in every way and delicious enough to rescue any grill disaster.

My version is just that:  a reinterpretation of the incredible classic sauce.  It is smokey, tangy, sweet where it needs to be, hot where it needs to be, and adds that special touch to the grill that complements anything worthy.  Those of you who have had this sauce will agree, it’s damn good, and those of you who haven’t now have something to look forward to as you make this for your next bbq.

Bbq sauce, like so many sauces, is actually a delicate balance of sweet and sour.  The base is tomato, add vinegar, sugar (of any kind) and something smokey, and you have the foundation of a great bbq sauce.  Here is my interpretation:

1 medium sized yellow onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp liquid smoke
1 cup ketchup
franks hot sauce
1/2 can chipotle in adobo
1 tbsp chili powder
1 lime
fresh cilantro
salt
fresh ground black pepper
In a small sauce pot, begin caramelizing the onions in the oil. When deeply browned, add the garlic and sugar and continue to caramelize. When sugar is caramelized; dark but not burnt, deglaze with the vinegar and stir. Add all spices, ketchup, liquid smoke, juice of half the lime, a few sprigs of cilantro, chipotle and franks hot sauce. Simmer over low heat until desired consistency. Check seasonings and continue to reseason until it’s balanced and hot enough for your preference. You may find it needs more vinegar to bring out the tangy flavor. Strain and cool.
This is a basic sauce. For alternative sauces, ingredients such as bourbon, molasses, honey, chipotle peppers adobo sauce, dried sour cherries, dried apricots, almonds, worcestershire sauce, pineapple chunks, etc can be added.  
Enjoy!
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