Saturday, January 29, 2011

Barbecue sauce from scratch

I love a good barbecue sauce. I like a good traditional Kansas City style sauce -- that's a sweet tomato based sauce that most commercial sauces are based on. I've made my own years ago, and it turned out okay, but not good enough that i would want to try to recreate it. Plus I didn't totally even remember what I did, so I started over, and created a recipe of my own based on bits and pieces of informations from various recipes.

One thing I noticed is that most recipes called for ketchup. Now I love ketchup, and I an almost religious admirer of Heinz ketchup, but I wanted a more made from scratch thing here. I take pride in my cooking, and making barbecue sauce that's little more than suped-up ketchup isn't really my style.

So, based on all this I'm going to give the following recipe. This will make a a sweet and tomatoey sauce.

  • One large can of crushed tomatoes
  • Half of a small red onion, finely chopped
  • Five to seven cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • White vinegar -- 1/3 cup
  • Liquid smoke -- 1/2 teaspoon (a cap full)
  • Soy sauce -- 1/4 cup
  • Brown sugar -- 1/3 cup
  • Regular yellow mustard -- 1 teaspoon
  • Crushed red pepper -- 1 teaspoon for a mild sauce (up to a couple of tablespoons if you are bad ass)
  • Arrowroot powder -- make a slurry of several tablespoons.

Heat up some olive oil in a sauce pan on medium-high heat, and add the onions. Cook a couple of minutes until translucent, then put your heat down to medium and ass the red pepper flakes and the garlic.

After a couple of minutes (watch your garlic -- don't let it burn) add the vinegar, soy sauce, and the liquid smoke and turn the heat back up to med-high. When it gets boiling pour in the tomatoes, brown sugar, and mustard.

Stir all this together well and let it simmer (turn back down to med-low) for about 40 minutes, stirring every few minutes so it doesn't stick.

After it's cooked for about 40 minutes stir in your arrowroot slurry a bit at a time. It should thicken as it heats up. Allow it to simmer another minute or two -- it should be noticeably thicker.

At this point you have a pretty decent sauce, but it will be a bit chunky. Ladle the sauce out of the pan into a blender, and blend the mixture well. Let cool, and refrigerate.


  1. I am so glad to find a vegan barbecue recipe that doesn't use ketchup. Ketchup is a condiment to put on things, not an ingredient to put in things! I am going to try this recipe next time I need some sauce. Thanks for posting it.

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