Make the Ultimate Barbecue Sauce Slideshow
The Order of the Steps Matters
Like any recipe you read, the order of steps is important, and the masters behind Shed BBQ in Mississippi swear by this one. Start by heating all of the wet ingredients together, and while they’re heating, whisk the dry spices and sugars together until well blended before adding them to the pot. This is a surefire way to prevent clumping and it will also help create a consistent flavor in the sauce.
You Have to Have Patience…
So many parts of barbecue require low-and-slow cooking, and the sauce is no exception. Great sauces benefit from a long time of simmering (usually one to four hours). The Shed crew calls this "happy hour," and they like using a double-boiler so that they prevent their sauces from burning.
… But Don’t Neglect It
You have to have patience, but you also can’t neglect the sauce. Put on some good tunes and make sure to stir your sauce every now and then it’s simmering, they say.
Short Cuts Are OK
One of Cantwell’s skills is that he’s fast, and he accomplishes this with his barbecue sauce by starting with store-bought brands.
"I always tell folks that the simplest ways to really make your barbecue and grilling events stand out is to create your own 'signature sauce,' but instead of spending a lot of time and money on failed test runs, I find that modifying readily available sauces is the simplest way to go. Find flavors that you love, including fruit juices, jams, preserves, fresh fruits and herbs, or powdered peppers, herbs, and vegetables, to create something truly your own," he says.
Starting from store-bought isn’t a totally crazy idea, either, because Evans recommended the same thing.
Brown Those Onions
Onions aren’t a given for every barbecue sauce recipe, but if you’re going to include them, Evans urges you to brown them well before puréeing them. This will make them worth adding to your recipe by giving your sauce depth and flavor.
How to Apply Spice
If you can’t do barbecue without some spice, there’s a science behind how you apply it, says Evans. Think of adjusting the heat of your sauce as by literally applying heat. If you serve hot ingredients such as chile flakes or minced jalapeño raw, your sauce will have a subtle spiciness but it won’t burn. If you cook the heat component and let it simmer in your sauce, it will have a much more intense burning flavor.
The Perfect Balance
Just like with most things in life, balance is key. You can’t have sugar without some acid, says Evans, so make sure to balance out the sweet — like brown sugar or regular sugar — with the acid by using ingredients like vinegar or citrus juices.
Just a Hint of Garlic
Garlic is a base aromatic that we use for so many of our recipes, and barbecue sauce doesn’t have to be the exception. Evans likes to simmer his sauce with minced garlic and then strain it out in the end. He says that he always ends up with a really nice sauce that’s subtle but flavorful.
How to Get Rich
If you’re looking for a really rich and dynamic barbecue sauce, Evans swears by black currants or blackberries, but says that cherry or peach preserves work, too. He says the fruits’ flavors are unrecognizable but they lend to a really rich flavor to the sauce that takes it to the next level.
The Key Ingredients, According to Andrew Evans
He wouldn’t give us his award-winning recipe, but he was able to share his key ingredients for a solid, basic barbecue sauce. Here they are:
- Worcestershire (and he loves using Lea & Perrins)
- Firmly packed brown sugar
- Black pepper
- Cider vinegar
- A dash (or two) of a pepper sauce, such as Sriracha
Ready to start making your own ultimate barbecue sauce? Check out the following recipes and make sure to share the recipe you’ve created with The Daily Meal.
Mumbo Sauce Recipe
Created by chef Kyle Bailey at Washington, D.C.'s GBD ,this recipe was inspired by the sweet condiment found in some Chinese carry-out bags. Sugar and fiery ingredients like Frank's Red Hot Sauce and Tabasco sauce make it the perfect sweet and spicy sauce to douse your barbecue with.
Peach Love BBQ Sauce Recipe
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que's 'Mutha Sauce' Recipe
From the popular restaurant chain Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, this mother hen of a sauce sure knows how to roost her chicks. It's featured throughout the restaurant's cookbook, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse, and is a classic barbecue sauce that will perfectly douse any dish you're making.