Can you have a good barbecue with barbecue sauce from a jar? I suppose. Will you pay an arm and leg for it? Yes.
I am cheap. I prefer the more positive terms like “frugal” or “fiscally conservative” when it comes to food. If I can make it myself with better ingredients, for less money, I totally will. You think you are getting organic, high fructose corn syrup free sauces made with the finest ingredients? Probably not. And if you are, you are certainly paying for it. You can make this sauce in no time with ingredients you likely have on hand. Seriously.
What is barbecue sauce? Depends on the type you like. Generally barbecue sauces fall into two categories. I like tomato based “Kansas City” style sauce. I realize being from a mid-Atlantic state, I should be partial to South Carolina’s mustard based sauce, but I’m just not. I like the thick mahogany tomato based sauces. These sauces are not complicated. At all. Barbecue sauce is….ready? Ketchup (I don’t accept Catsup as an option, sorry Catsup crowd). Molasses. Vinegar. Mustard. Brown Sugar. Spices. Done. You think you can put these items in a pan and simmer for a bit? Then you can make your own barbecue sauce! The exact amount you need. No more half used bottles of sauce clogging up valuable real estate in your fridge, waiting to be tossed because you forgot how old they are. No more running to the store because that is the one ingredient you forgot. You will be set free from the tyranny of bottled barbecue sauce!! The best is you can customize it. Want it blazing hot? Add hot sauce or more cayenne. Want it sweeter? Add more brown sugar and leave out the cayenne. You can make the sauce exactly the way you want it! The following is a template of very basic and balanced sauce. Feel free to experiment!
1 cup (dry measure) ketchup
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
1/2 tablespoon mustard (I used French’s, whatever kind is handy)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic (or powder)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and simmer until the flavors combine, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and apply to your favorite barbecue item.