Friday, July 1, 2011

Saucy BBQ Sauce

The July 4th is just a few days away.  In our house, the 4th of July usually means beach, BBQ and fireworks.  We head out to the beach early in the day.  I usually cut up some melon and berries for a fruit salad, throw some yogurt in the cooler, and pick up some bagels on the way down to the beach.  Long Island beaches get rather crowded on the Fourth, so when Paul finishes eating all the food, by the time the crowd gets thick, we head home.  Late in the afternoon,  Paul fires up the Weber and gets into serious BBQ mode.  If anyone is coming to watch the fireworks later that night, they have to arrive to our house by 5:00.   Our neighborhood gets blocked off by the Village to prepare for the invasion of the firework gawkers.  Sometimes dinner can be elaborate and sometimes dinner can be straightforward BBQ fare. Whichever it is, you can always count on something being slathered in a little BBQ sauce.  After dinner everyone grabs a beach chair and walks down the road to watch the fireworks with a cold drink in hand.   We come back to the house for dessert...and that pretty much sums up our Fourth.  Tradition...isn't that what holidays are about?

So if you are a true American, or if you are not an American but would like to prepare an American BBQ, you might consider making your own BBQ sauce this year.  Homemade BBQ sauce beats the heck out any bottled sauce I've ever tried.  I'm not just talking about taste, I'm talking about having control over the viscosity of the sauce (is it OK to use the word viscosity here isn't it?), its texture, sodium and my desire to have a BBQ sauce that does not contain high fructose corn syrup.   I'm sure you can get  a decent "gourmet" BBQ sauce, but why not make your own and control EVERYTHING?  I guess I am a bit of a control freak.  Hey, nobody's perfect.

Homemade BBQ Sauce (with a little heat)
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Makes 1 pint
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/4 cups ketchup -look for brands without high fructose corn syrup like Muir Glen or Whole Foods 365
  • 1 tablespoon Srirachi chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (you will add to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan.  Add diced onion and cook over a medium heat until onion is nicely caramelized.
  2. Add the ketchup, Srirachi, molasses, spices and 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar to the pan containing the  cooked onion.  
  3. Combine and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.  Stir sauce often.
  4. After 20 minutes, taste and add the additional vinegar if needed.  (If you are using sauce for chicken or ribs I recommend using the additional vinegar)
  5. Cook another 5-10 minutes.  Cook longer if you desire a thicker consistency.
  6. Remove from heat and transfer sauce to a bowl or jar.  Allow to cool and refrigerate.  
  7. Sauce keeps 2 weeks in the fridge.

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