Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Magic Behind BBQ Sauce

Though Memorial Day is over I still find my self in the mood to barbecue, and with summer on our door step and the 4th of July right around the corner, now is the time to brush up on those skills not used since last summer. I assume most of you already know how to grill, considering it's a right of passage for young men, passed down from their fathers, almost dating back to the beginning of mankind. However how many of you use a store bought BBQ sauce or your favorite local brand? How many of you can actually make your own sauce? Think its hard? Guess again!

The basis for any good BBQ sauce is simple and after you get that down, you can experiment with flavors textures and so on... For the base you'll need:

Olive oil.
1 medium onion chopped.
1 clove of garlic minced.
Brown sugar.
Salt an pepper tt.

I'm sure you've noticed I haven't given any measurements but BBQ sauce is a lot like humans, we all start of the same but grow to be very different. Start of by sauteing the olive oil, onion, and garlic in a sauce pot on medium low heat until the onions become translucent. Next add the ketchup and mustard. A good rule of thumb here is 3 parts catsup to 1 part mustard, and the options are already endless as to what type of catsup and mustard you can use. Mix together well and bring to a light boil. Slowly add the brown sugar to taste. The brown sugar not only acts as a sweetener but also a thickener. Once you've reached a desired thickness and flavor your done.

Now that you got the base down lets talk a little about creativity. There's a whole world of spices and herbs and what not you can use to put your own stamp on BBQ sauce. Molasses is a great example and the right amount will bring your BBQ sauce to life. Another great ingredient is liquid smoke. Use just a little bit of this concentrate, and you'll get a wonderful smokey flavor. Paprika and cumin also add smokey flavors and spices like chili powder and red pepper flakes add a good heat to a BBQ sauce.

Now I've made and had plenty of types of BBQ sauce, all of them very different. If your looking for sweet, using sugars, molasses, syrups, and even soda's will give you a the desired flavor. If you like tangy, using more mustard, mustard powder, and or vinegar's will result in a nice tangy flavor. And of course "some like it hot!!!" Like I said chili powder, and even fresh chillies can be used, or you can add hot sauces like Tabasco, Blair's, and CaJohn's.

For me personally I like a little bit of all three. Now just like any other Grill Master I can't give my full recipe but I can tell you some of my ingredients. Jack Daniels, brown sugar, a specialty French Dijon mustard, chipotle and ancho chillies, another type of alcohol and a few un-named spices. Sorry folks a magician never reveals his secrets!

So hopefully you get the picture that BBQ sauce is what you make of it, and I honestly would like to hear back from y'all and maybe tell me some of your magical ingredients!