It's BBQ season, and I love BBQ. Last year, my husband configured our modest kettle girl into an offset smoker that successfully smoked ribs, pork shoulders, turkeys and even a 14-hour passion project that is the Rolls Royce of the BBQ world: brisket. It's safe to say we like to BBQ!
Depending on where you are in the country, BBQ varies immensely. In the Carolinas, vinegar sauce over pulled pork reigns supreme. Kansas City is ketchup and molasses based and thick, served over just about everything. Burnt ends, however are the part to treasure. Memphis is known for the best ribs, served either "wet" (with sauce) or "dry" (rub only). In Texas, it's all about the beef. Texans believe the meat should shine through, and therefore sauce is only an afterthought. If they use it though, it's ketchup based and spicy. In my opinion, Texas-style BBQ is the best. High quality, well smoked meat only requires a simple rub with few spices, and just a little sauce on the side. I love both the vinegar Carolina style sauce and Texas style spice, so the sauce I make combines the two to make the best of both worlds.
The sauce at LA BBQ in Austin, Texas was so good, my husband could literally drink it up!
Making BBQ sauce is a lot easier than many people think. It requires only a few ingredients most people have already in their homes and minimal cooking! I prefer to make most of my condiments homemade. That way you can control the taste and quality, and it's cheaper than buying store-bought versions.
1 cup ketchup-preferably homemade (recipe below) or a high-fructose-corn-syrup free store-bought version
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon (or more, depending on taste) fine chili powder
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil while continuing to stir. Turn off heat and let cool.
Note: you can put all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix, but the cooking ensures that the powders are dissolved and the flavors married.
The sauce will hold for up to a month in the fridge, or if properly canned and preserved, up to a year shelf stable (as mine is in this photo. I was getting ready for summer back at Christmas!).
Easy Homemade Ketchup
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup agave syrup
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Place all ingredients in small saucepan, and bring to a boil stirring continuously. Turn off heat and let cool.
This BBQ sauce will be delicious with all of your grilled meats over the summer. If you could brush up on your grilling skills, join us this summer at The Chopping Block for our outdoor grilling classes and Grilling Boot Camps. Our Big Green Egg Grilling Kickoff Party is this Saturday from 10am-4pm at our Lincoln Square location. Don't miss this free party on our outdoor grilling patio full of grilled goodies, chef demos, discounts on grills and grilling accessories and a chance to win a free cooking class!