Make your own BBQ Sauce

pulled pork

Quiet a few years ago I had the idea to make my own BBQ sauce. I had long had the approach that there were good products available at the store (and there is), and all I had to do to enhance them was to add an ingredient or two. Maybe a little more brown sugar, perhaps some honey or bourbon and I would have something that was a little more exciting than something that had been setting in a box or on a shelf for as many as six months. I had the basic idea on what all goes in to a good BBQ sauce, however it wasn’t something I had ever really stood over a pot and done.

This lead me to go to the store one weekend and buy several ingredients and make some BBQ sauce at home and see if it really could be better than my favorite national brand. After a lot of headaches, and messes in the kitchen I finally had a good understanding of how to put together a sauce that truly is different than what you can buy, and I’ll include the recipe here.
Not long after coming up with a recipe that everyone seemed to really enjoy, I couldn’t help buy wonder about the several different styles of BBQ sauces from around the country. Memphis style, the two different Carolina styles and I was even inspired by a restaurant owner to develop a Alabama mayonnaise based sauce. Over the years I have been asked about bottling the sauce, selling the sauce or just the recipes themselves, and of course I have considered them all. For now, I’m just going to put one of them here where I know I will get the proper credit, and hopefully someone can get as much enjoyment out of them as me and my family has.

The most popular sauce in this area at least is a Kansas City style sauce. It’s sweet, with a tangy side to it and very easy to make. If I get some response from posting this one, I will include the other sauces as updates.

K.C. Sauce

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups ketchup (not Heinz, see notes)
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon hot sauce (I prefer Franks)
1 cup brown sugar
1 yellow onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp canola oil

1) Place a large sauce pot on the stove over medium heat and add the canola oil until it is heated, then add the onions and garlic. Let them heat through until the onions become translucent, stirring occasionally. You don’t want the onions or the garlic to begin to brown you’re just trying to soften them and have them release their flavor.

2) While the onions and garlic are cooking, combine all of the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well with a whisk. You want to make sure all of the dry ingredients are incorporated in to the liquids.

3) Add the other ingredients to the sauce pot and mix well, then bring to a simmer. Stir the pot every five to ten minutes and let the sauce simmer for about a total of thirty to thirty five minutes. Turn the stove off and allow the sauce to come to room temperature. Put the sauce in a nonreactive container and place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.

This is great mixed in with pulled pork, and I use a very simple method for doing that even without the use of a smoker, yes I prefer a smoker, however living in West Virginia the weather doesn’t always allow us to use one.  Buy a pork roast and set your oven to 225 degrees.  Place the pork roast in a large dutch oven that has a lid and pour in about a cup of water, a cap full of liquid smoke, and a shot of your favorite bourbon.  Place the lid on the dutch oven and then place it in the oven, close the door and let it cook for about ten hours, or until it is falling apart.  Remove it from the oven, let it set for about thirty minutes then pull it, stir in the sauce you made the night before and enjoy.

Notes: I am a huge fan of Heinz ketchup with french fries or onion rings. I think it is the best product on the market. However for use in this recipe it adds a layer of flavor that I just didn’t care for. I’m not sure why, but this recipe just seems to come out better when using an off brand, cost effective ketchup.
This sauce is always better after it is cooled and sets over night in refrigeration, the extra time for the sauce to really come together does make a difference. Enjoy!


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