The Next BBQ Sauce

It may be early spring, but in my mind, it’s time to start rolling out the first of the year bbq.  The weather is only getting better, the days are getting longer, nights shorter, and the sun is finally warming things.  Pretty soon, early spring produce will give way to summer peaches and tomatoes, and the wonderful grilling season will be in full swing.

So let’s talk about grilling food.  Almost anything can be grilled, smoked, finished on the grill, slow cooked on a grill, and so on.  But more important than the proteins are the flavors.  Grilling flavors are by essence- by definition, BIG.  Bold flavors, spices, heat, tang, sweet- these are the things we crave when we bbq.  And the sauce is the king.  A great bbq sauce will never ‘save’ a bad or poorly prepared dish, but a great bbq is a perfect finish to your already great dish.  It takes it to the next level.

My bbq sauce is nothing new or unique.  If you google bbq sauce recipes, you will probably find thousands of recipes that look similar to mine.  Simply put, I do not want a unique sauce.  I want a great sauce.  I want the sauce to be delicious, balanced, heavy in the right ways, and familiar in the right ways.  BBQ sauce should taste like bbq sauce.  I add several varieties of dried peppers, caramelized onions, caramelized sugar, and a lot of other things that develop a deep, rich flavor.  It’s delicious.  If you’re going to make bbq sauce, this isn’t the ‘easiest’ recipe, but it’s fantastic and won’t disappoint you.

BBQ sauce

Prep time:  5 minutes
Cook time:  1 hr
Yield:  2 finished cups


1 3/4 cups ketchup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 yellow, thin sliced
1 tsp whole dry corriander
1/2 tsp whole dry cumin
 4 allspice
3 whole cloves
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups beef stock reduced to 3/4 cups
2 dried chipotle chilis (not in adobo sauce) or morita chili
2 dried new mexican chilis
2 dried guajillo chilis
1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp vegetable oil


In a medium heavy bottom sauce pot, heat the oil and begin caramelizing the onion.  When the onions begin to darken and caramelize, add the white sugar.  Stir occasionally until the sugar begins to caramelize (light amber color).  Add the brown sugar and continue to stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Add the vinegar and stir to dissolve.  Let come to a boil and continue to stir.  Add the ketchup and reduced stock.  Bring to a simmer and turn heat to low.  Add all other ingredients.  Cook very slowly for about 1 hour.  The sauce should be thick.  Strain everything.  Sauce is now ready.  Either keep warm and use right away, or cool quickly and store.

Best served on anything grilled, especially chicken or ribs.


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