It’s summer time and I know this blog is sorely lacking in grilling recipes. Our gas grill has recently been fixed again by my incredible hubby. It seems to like breaking about once a year. It is not that old, don’t you just feel like things are not made to last anymore? Not only do I refuse to put the grill in the landfill, but I also don’t want to spend the money. Thankfully he puts up with me, and enjoys a challenge. And I am eternally grateful, as cooking inside during this sweltering heat has been miserable.
Nothing screams summer and grilling like a homemade barbecue sauce. This is the one I used to make pulled pork empanadas. I like mine on the tangy side, so that’s the version I’m going to share. But the best thing about barbecue sauce is that it is endlessly versatile. If you know the basic ingredients, you can tweak each batch to to suit your tastes.
Why make barbecue sauce when it is so readily available? Well other than the pure fun of creating your own finger licking concoctions, it helps to avoid some of the more questionable ingredients found in commercial brands. You’ll commonly find brands sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Hidden in the ingredients you may also find other chemicals and preservatives.
In order to customize your sauce, you need to understand some of the components. Here are some of the most common:
- Sweeteners: Honey, Sugar, Maple Syrup, Molasses
- Acidity: Lemons, Limes, Apple Cider Vinegar, Orange Juice,
- Heat: Cayenne, Chipotle, Any sort of Chili Pepper
- Flavorings: Onion, Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Worcestershire, Chili Powder, Chili Sauce, Mustard, Paprika, Fruits
- Base: Tomatoe Paste or Ketchup
So the beauty of making your own sauce, is you can create it from what you have in the house. You can taste and adjust as you make it. A little too tangy? Just add more sweetener. Not Spicy enough? Add more heat. You may find that each time you make barbecue sauce, it turns out a little different. This recipe makes a large batch, the recipe can be halved. Or you could make half sweet, half tangy, pleasing all the varied tastes in your family.
A food purist may balk at my use of ketchup as a base. We don’t use too much ketchup around here, so I consider it one of my convenience compromise foods. There are quite a few organic brands that have just a few ingredients, with the only objectionable one being a bit too much sugar. It’s true you can use just tomato paste. The seasonings may need to be adjusted up, since ketchup generally is sweetened and flavored with a bit of onion and garlic.