Easy to make recipe. So why not create your own sweet and tangy homemade barbecue sauce to enjoy with all your favorite grilled meats!
What barbecue sauce do you use? At our house, the refrigerator is typically stocked with Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce. I typically like a thicker, sweet and tangy sauce. However, I’ve been building up my spice tolerance (I hope that doesn’t make me go into labor!).
Jason recently made some nice upgrades to our Weber barbecue grill just in time for the summer, so I’ve been grilling as much as a can.
I’ve always wanted to experiment with my own homemade barbecue sauce, and I didn’t realize how easy it was! It’s fun to play around with the balance of sweetness, acidity, thickness and spice levels. I created this sweet and spicy barbecue sauce so we can pour, slather and dip it on all of our grilled meats, drool.
A good barbecue sauce typically contains a tomato base, acid, sweetness, and spice. Depending on the style you like, you can make adjustments as you go. I tried to shoot for a Western South Carolina style sauce that is sweet, tangy, and infused some hotter elements to give the sauce a little lingering kick! I used ketchup as my tomato base because it gives a nice thick consistency.
To give the sauce “tang” I used apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and spicy brown mustard. Dark brown sugar and apricot preserve added just the right amount of sweetness to the sauce. The molasses from the brown sugar also gives a nice rich flavor too. Now for the heat! I added fresh chopped jalapenos and cayenne pepper that gives a nice lingering kick, but does not make you break a sweat unless you like it that way, just add more of the hot stuff!
We have already used the barbecue sauce to top our tri-tip sandwiches and grilled New York steak, now I just have to find more excuses to use the sauce! This barbecue sauce is also a great tasty Father’s Day gift for those awesome dad’s out there! Make sure to use a clean canning jar to store the sauce and have fun creating your own personalized tags and packaging. Just remember to keep the barbecue sauce refrigerated. I hope to learn canning techniques soon so I can extend the shelf life of the BBQ sauce for longer enjoyment!
Don’t forget to taste as you cook
I recommend as you are cooking down the sauce to taste every 10 minutes to see how it changes as the acids cook-off and sauce thickens. I noticed as you continue gently simmering the sauce, this helps to cook off some of the strong pungency from the acids. Acids like vinegar and lemon juice are very volatile (evaporates with high heat) and aromatic (your kitchen will smell like the acid you use). This a good thing because as the sauce reduces, acids are natural flavor enhancers, so you retain the tangy flavor, but the sauce won’t smell like a bottle of vinegar each time you open it. A sweetener like sugar, honey, jams or preserves help to balance and bring richness to the sauce, and it helps reduce bitterness. If you can be patient, the barbecue sauce will taste better the next day because all of the flavors have time to infuse together.