There is an abundance of barbecue sauces on the market. The inexpensive ones are generally packed with sugar, fillers and artificial flavourings and preservatives. The good quality ones are less dodgy, have ingredients you don’t need a chemistry degree to decifer, but are pretty pricey!
I love a good barbecue sauce as much as the next person. It’s an essential condiment for spare ribs, can tart up a sad piece of steak, and makes a humble sausage feel like fois gras (I’m possibly exaggerating with the last one). You should be able to use it as a marinade, not just a sauce on the side, and when it costs a bit, you don’t necessarily want to be splashing it around.
Great news! It’s really not hard to make. There’s no need to pay upwards of $15 a bottle for the good sauce, when with a a bit of know-how and a good recipe, you can make it to order.
My go-to recipe is from Al Brown’s incredible book on all things barbecue, Stoked. It has a LONG list of ingredients – don’t worry, once you have these things on hand, you can make a batch of sauce whenever you need to. Most of the herbs are useful for a good many other things too. The only thing I’ve found challenging to source is Tabasco Chipotle (which Al specifies), so on the recipe below, I’ve used regular Tabasco and added liquid smoke. Culley’s does one of these, which is good quality and lasts for ages. I’ve also used pre-ground spices to make things a bit easier.
If you keep this in the fridge, it should last for at least 3 months, possibly longer. This makes about 5 cups of sauce.
AL’S FAMOUS (IN LYALL BAY) BBQ SAUCE
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup finely diced onion
2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
Pinch chilli flakes
2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp Spanish smoked sweet paprika
1 tsp celery seeds
1/2 cup bourbon
1 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 cans crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
6 drops liquid smoke
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Heat canola oil in large saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Add onion and garlic and sweat for approximately 10 minutes or until soft
- Add chilli flakes, cumin, smoked paprika and celery seeds. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add bourbon, cider vinegar and brown sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes
- Add all other ingredients except salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.
- Remove from heat, cool slightly and blend until smooth. Season to taste.
- Bottle in sterilised jars and refrigerate until required.