Here's how easy it is to make your own BBQ sauce
We meant what we said about how you should experiment and play until you find your perfect barbecue sauce ingredients. But what if you’re cooking this weekend? Here’s a baseline recipe you can start with that works pretty well every time.
We’re going to assume you have a basic kitchen with the normal basic supplies in there, and walk you through this step by step. Keep in mind as you do this that sauce is not an exact science. Play by ear, make adjustments on the fly, and see what happens. Substitute ruthlessly. Give in to inspiration. It’s pretty hard to screw up.
For sweet, let’s use cola. Not diet, but you can try cherry if you have some lying around. Pour about 1/2 cup of that into a saucepan. Don’t drink the rest. We might need it later.
For tangy, we’ll use a combination of balsamic vinegar and yellow mustard, 1/8 cup of each. Pour them in the saucepan.
For tomato, grab that ketchup in the door of your fridge. Give the pot 1/4 cup. That’s nine good squeezes if you don’t feel like measuring.
We’ll skip the fluid because the cola is wet enough on its own. But keep the can nearby just in case.
For hot and spice, we’ll keep it simple. Give it four good shakes of salt, and four good shakes of Tabasco, or Valentina, or Sriracha, or whatever you have in your fridge. If you happen to have liquid smoke, pour in a tablespoon, but don’t panic if you don’t. “Real” barbecue people consider this cheating, but for beginners it can be a serious help.
Plunk it all into a sauce pan, turn it onto medium heat, and stir it with a whisk until it’s all as smooth, brown, and delicious. Cook until it starts to boil, whisking it real good pretty much constantly. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat to low and let it reduce (remember reducing?).
Stir with a spatula every couple of minutes until the stuff moves like something between maple syrup and honey. If it gets too thick too soon, pour in a little more cola, and carry on.
Then put that shit on everything. You’ll surprise your friends, and even yourself, with the miracle you have wrought. You'll never want to step foot in the grocery store's sauce aisle again... unless you need a backup to keep in the pantry, just in case you go a little too crazy with power.