Friday, July 1, 2011

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

I've been making homemade barbecue sauce for several years. It's pretty easy to do and always tastes better than the store bought crap - even the good stuff you shell out $10 a bottle for. Right Tara? That said, the number one ingredient in my barbecue sauce is ketchup. Store bought Heinz 57.

Whole and Crushed Tomatoes
Yep, good old Heinz secret recipe of 57 herbs, spices, preservatives and high fructose corn syrup. Add some bourbon, molasses, brown sugar, a dash of this, a dash of that and BOOM! Barbecue sauce is born! It's always bothered me that my homemade barbecue sauce, the sauce everyone loves and raves about (cue Tara) is based on some junky store bought ketchup.

Chopped Vidalia Onion
When I cook up a batch of sauce, I base my recipe off a 64 ounce jug-o-Heinz, mostly because I need to hook some friends up with their fresh supply of crack-sauce. Right Tara? But I hate all the additives and HFCS, so I looked for the Heinz Simply Ketchup. It's just good old ketchup: tomatoes, sugar, vinegar and spices. But with the Simply Heinz Ketchup running a cool $3.29 for a 32 ounce container - the regular stuff is $4.29 for 64 ounces - I decided that I need to jettison the store bought gunk and make some from scratch.

Minced Garlic
Remember, I don't measure my cups and spoons, but my nose and tongue. If you're looking to follow along at home, I suggest making sure those two tools are in good working order, because they are more valuable than an others in the kitchen.

My barbecue sauce started out as 6 28 ounce cans of crushed and whole tomatoes, 3 each. I'd skip the whole next time around in favor of all crushed. Those went into a large stock pot with roughly 2 cups of white sugar, a cup of molasses, a cup of apple cider vinegar, a half cup of Worcestershire sauce and several good dashes of liquid smoke. I didn't dump all that in at once, I went slowly, tasting as I went to make sure I didn't over do anything.

Tomatoes in the pool
I sautéed half of a Vidalia onion and three cloves of garlic in some olive oil, taking them to a light caramel color before adding them in. On top of that went some hot sauce, paprika, cayenne, cumin, cinnamon and black pepper. No measuring here, just shake, stir, test, shake, stir, retest, but best guess is something in the neighborhood of a tablespoon of paprika and pepper and a teaspoon of the rest.

Garlic and Onions getting sautéed
We scooped the whole tomatoes into the our bar blender and M took them for a spin. Once everything was processed, the whole pot simmered for an hour. I would should have let it run longer, but it was nearing midnight, we ran and I was exhausted.

In the end we made 192 ounces of sauce for about $10.00. Even if you count the two hours of work, with one hour just sitting there, this is still cheaper than an equal amount of store bought gourmet sauce.

Giving it a Stir
Next time I will make a smaller batch and allow to simmer long, cause it's a little thin. I'm probably going to simmer the bottles I already have made up a little bit over the next few days just so they thicken up some more.

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