My Favorite Barbeque Sauce

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Barbeque sauce never passed my lips until I moved to Dallas, Texas, for my first job after college. I moved a lot as a child, but never lived in any barbecue states, so to speak. I’ve lived in California, Washington, New York, and Utah, plus France, and barbecue was unheard of in these places, at least growing up.

When I first tasted barbeque sauce, I wasn’t that impressed. It was probably because I also wasn’t impressed with the meats with which they were served. Especially ribs – they’re so fiddly and messy to eat. And I thought brisket was dreadfully stringy. But looking back, I can see why many barbeque sauces didn’t appeal to me. Some are overly sweet, some are overly tangy, some are overly smokey.

Then I started making my own. Of course, some of them weren’t quite traditional, like adding rum and plums or whatnot, but it seemed to me that it was pretty darn easy to make a good, basic barbeque sauce. I especially detest the over-sweetness of purchased barbeque sauces, but that’s something you can definitely control in your own kitchen.

So now I have my own favorite barbeque sauce. I don’t know really how it began, but it evolved over time, just like all of our favorite recipes we customize as home cooks. It’s a little bit different, but I warn you it is delicious and addictive. Here’s to sharing recipes!

My Favorite Barbecue Sauce

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
3 – 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon, strained

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over med. high heat.
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When the butter begins to brown, stir in the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, mustard powder, and seasonings.

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Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or so over low heat, uncovered.

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Add the vinegar and stir to combine. Simmer for one minute, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.

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It’s really good with chicken, but it’s especially good with spicy, smoked brisket! I’m sure it’s good with spare ribs, but I’m still not a huge fan of them.


For my brisket, I used my sous vide machine. The machine makes the meat so amazingly tender that you’re just excited that the brisket isn’t tough and stringy. Plus I did use a rub, and smoked it post-the 48 hour sous vide in my stove-top smoker for 45 minutes using hickory chips.

One thing that I’ve been doing when I sous vide is making a double seal when I vacuum seal the bags containing meat. If there’s any liquid at all in the bags, the vaccum sealer sucks out the liquid as well as air, and this might keep the seal from being water tight. Just for safety reasons.

54 thoughts on “My Favorite Barbeque Sauce

  1. I’m definitely going to try this! When we lived in Malta I used to make my own barbecue sauce simply because there weren’t lots of choices in Malta, as you can only imagine! I’ve never seen a sauce recipe which contains butter – I bet the addition of butter lends a lovely creaminess to the sauce. How long do you think this will keep? I know the one I used to make was only supposed to be kept for a few weeks. (If this sauce doesn’t have a long ‘shelf life’, then I’ll just share it and make others happy !)

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    • Wow. Malta sounds so exotic! I have no idea how long this sauce will last. I would probably freeze it after a couple of weeks. But I’ve never had any left over that long. It’s seriously that good, and probably because of the butter, even though that doesn’t seem like a BBQ sauce ingredient!

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    • Cecille, I read your conversation with Mimi and just wanted to say how sorry I am for the loss of your husband, I also wanted to tell you I lived in Malta off and on for a year. Loved it there, I was in Sliema had a villa overlooking the sea, it was wonderful. I remember the fig tree in my yard, it was happy times.

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      • No kidding – how lucky … since most of the villas have now been torn down…. which was breaking my heart when we lived there! We, too, lived in Silema – and my husband’s office was about a five minute walk, which is why we never chose to leave our flat in Silema, which overlooked Valletta and the Med. Sea. How did you come to be living there. How cool – and when did you live there. Wouldn’t it be funny if we actually knew each other OR if we knew the same people!!

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      • I was in Malta a very long time ago, I was there with my husband who was a musician. He was working with some musicians in Malta. When I first arrived I stayed at a hotel in Valetta, can’t remember the name. It has been a long time but I have fond memories,

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      • The hotel might’ve been Hotel Phoenicia… I would’ve loved to have seen Malta as it used to be – lucky you!! Actually – we were both lucky to have lived in Malta!!

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      • I went to your ‘about’ page… guess what !? We lived in Brooklyn Heights when my husband worked on Wall Street. Our twin sons went to five schools in six years, so when we ended up in Philadelphia (Villanova, actually) we promised them they could attend middle school and high school in one place!

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  2. Your BBQ sauce sounds great, really like that you add butter, everything is better with butter IMHO. You are so right, commercial sauces are too sweet or smoky or what have you. Pretty much dislike them all but have never made my own. Looks good on your sous vide brisket.

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  3. I have a recipe for BBQ sauce from my Better Homes and Garden recipe book from 1981 that I adapted over the years to suit our tastes. I totally agree with you about the sweetness of the store-bought BBQ sauces. Blech! Plus, when you grill something with an overly sugary sauce, it burns the heck out of it! This looks like a great recipe, when we get back to grilling again in my neck of the woods I’ll have to try yours out!

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    • In the states we have canned tomato sauce and tomato puree, as well as whole and diced tomatoes and paste. Puree is liquid but a little more condensed, and tomato sauce is on the thinner side. They’re all from cooked and strained tomatoes, with no additional ingredients. Either sauce or puree or passata could be used – the more liquid tomato sauce would require a little more cooking time, since the resulting BBQ sauce is thick. You could always add a bit of tomato paste from a tube at the end to enrich the tomato flavor.

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  4. Looks like a lovely sauce! I grew up on KC Masterpiece, but started making my own for the same reasons you did! I just can’t pick a favorite, though…my sauces are like me kids, I guess. Some days I just like one more than another, even though I always love them!

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  5. I love homemard BBQ sauce so much more than store bought. And, I love having another BBQ recipe to add to the collection. Thanks Mimi! Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen

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    • In the US, there’s too much sugar in every product. It’s like the manufacturers of food products think we won’t buy food unless it’s sweet. Which is why I make everything from scratch!

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  6. I agree with you on a homemade sauce being so much better than bottled although if I use a bottled one I like Sweet Baby Ray’s. I used to make one that had a can of Coke in it & it was really a good one. Can I find that recipe now? Of course not.

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