How to Make Delicious BBQ Sauce at Home

Barbeque (BBQ) Sauce is used in the culinary practice of marinating. It is also used to baste various kinds of meat and as a condiment on the side as well. With a taste profile of sweet and tangy, BBQ sauce is a favorite flavor among meat-loving home cooks and chefs. Although it commonly available as a bottled sauce on the markets, many people still believe in making BBQ sauce at home from scratch.

A Brief History

“Hunger is the best sauce.” This statement by Cervantes in Don Quixote defines the true essence of sauces. The initial idea behind sauces was to preserve food in a pre-refrigerator era. Early humans experimented on different techniques and kept finding new ways to enhance the flavors. It is most likely that some fortunate human came across anchovies and decided to incorporate it with salt, sugar, and smoke.

A Roman cookbook from the 4th century had a compilation of over 100 types of sauces. Among these recipes was a fish-based sauce, commonly known as Worcestershire Sauce these days. This sauce had anchovies as its base, which gave the sauce a distinct umami flavor. Initially, the BBQ sauce was made from only vinegar, salt, and pepper. Over time, more ingredients were introduced, and a lot of variations of BBQ came into existence.

Essential Ingredients

There are three core ingredients to any BBQ sauce – vinegar, tomato paste, and mayonnaise. To give a rich smoky flavor and aroma, liquid smoke is also used. Apart from these, flavor enhancers like onion powder, mustard, and black pepper are also added. A sweet variation of this sauce uses artificial sweeteners or molasses.   

Nutritional Value

If we take bottled BBQ sauces into consideration, they often have synthetic preservatives. This is done to get a longer shelf life on a commercial scale. These preservatives may be unsuitable for human health if taken too much. 

On the other hand, homemade BBQ sauce is just another condiment that has little to no harm. Unlike many other side items, BBQ sauce is mostly consumed with grilled or braised meat. Since a lot of salt and sugar are added, people with blood pressure issues and diabetes should keep its consumption in check. Of course, over-consumption of anything is bad for health.

According to NutritionData, 100 grams of BBQ sauce contains:

  • 150 calories
  • 0g protein
  • 1119mg of sodium
  • 36.3g of carbohydrates
  • 26.1g of sugars
  • 208mg of potassium
  • 0.6g of dietary fibers 

Making Homemade BBQ Sauce

The recipes for BBQ sauce differs with the region and the flavors that are common among local people. It also varies with the kind of meat that is being used – the chicken BBQ sauce will require different ingredients, while the beef one demands its own distinct flavors. 

Here are a few recipes that are sure to get hit:

1. BBQ Sauce for Chicken

This easy recipe calls for minimum ingredients, but it will surely make a perfect sauce. All you need is: 

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

The method is simple. Gather all the ingredients and cook the mixture on slow heat for a maximum of 10 minutes. Let it cool, and voila! Your BBQ sauce is ready for a perfect grilled chicken.

2. BBQ Sauce for Beef

Briskets are a part of beef cut that is taken from the breast section. It requires a slow and long cook to be tender and juicy. Beef brisket is one such example that is deliciously accompanied by a homemade BBQ sauce. The recipe for a perfect BBQ sauce may look something like this:

  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups ketchup
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • A pinch of nutmeg

It literally takes 10 minutes to make this amazing sauce. Just combine all the ingredients and let it simmer with occasional stirring. Baste the beef briskets in it to get a heavenly culinary experience.

3. BBQ Sauce for Lamb

Lamb meat may refer to cuts from goats and sheep. They are usually taken from animals that are of age between a month and a year and are commonly used for BBQ and grilling. An easy BBQ sauce recipe that can be made at home may include:

  • 15 ounces of tomato puree
  • ½ pack of brown sugar
  • ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • A clove of garlic
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A small chopped onion

Again, you only have to place all the ingredients in a saucepan and let the heat do its work. Slow cook the sauce until it gets to your desired consistency. 

Ways to Use BBQ Sauce

An all-rounder for meats, there are more than one ways to incorporate BBQ sauce in your everyday food. We have compiled a list of such methods if you are having a hard time deciding which one to use.

1. Marination

This is a process by which meat is made flavorful before the actual cooking. Meats that are easier to dry are better to marinate with BBQ sauce. It is recommended to let the meat marinate overnight for the best and juicy results. This will ensure that flavors are properly infused deep inside the meat.

2. Basting

A popular technique among professionals, basting is cooking meat in its own juices or with an accompanying sauce. The meat is coated with sauces while it is still cooking, normally on medium to high flames. Once the sauce dries, it is coated again. 

The process is continued till the meat is tender. BBQ sauce is often used for this purpose to get a mild smoky flavor.

3. A Side Condiment

BBQ sauce is often served as a dipping for several dishes, including wings, fries, and tacos. Moreover, it is also a common dribble sauce for burgers and sandwiches. 

Popular Variations

A single sauce could be boring, no matter how tasty it is. It is no wonder that BBQ sauce has a few variations of its own depending on the basic ingredient. 

Tomato-Based BBQ Sauce

Undoubtedly the most favorite type, this sauce consists of either tomato ketchup or tomato puree. The tomato gives it a dark color and a constant thickness, which everyone loves. The tanginess from tomatoes is balanced by adding sugar or molasses.

Vinegar-Based BBQ Sauce

This is the type of sauce that has a chilly effect on the palette. For this reason, it is accompanied by fatty pork dishes. Almost no vinegar-based BBQ sauce has ketchup in it, hence the lack of red color.

Mustard-Based BBQ Sauce

Also a spicy variant, this BBQ sauce is thin in consistency and has the unique taste of mustard. This is a very famous sauce for sandwiches and pulled meat.

Mayonnaise-Based BBQ Sauce

Unlike its fellow variants, the mayo-based sauce is lighter in color, almost white. Mayonnaise is basically oil and vinegar, but it does not have a strong flavor. Its mild nature makes it a perfect companion for smoked chicken.

Popular Food Items that Call for BBQ Sauce

There is a lot that can be made using a good homemade BBQ sauce. While it is considered a must-have for meats, it can be used with other ingredients as well. Following are the most common food items that are cooked using BBQ sauce:

BBQ Wings

Wings are the perfect snack to munch on a family picnic or a soccer match in the stadium. They are easy to eat and a favorite among children too. Honey BBQ wings are probably the most famous combination.

BBQ Meatballs

Who can ever hate a hearty bowl of spaghetti, especially when it has delicious BBQ flavored meatballs in it? Minced meat shaped into balls is cooked with BBQ flavors. A dash of cheese at the end makes it just perfect.

BBQ Ribs

Ribs from lamb or pork are carved with professional delicacy to present this classic dish. Slow-cooked ribs are cooked with BBQ sauces and served with aromatic rice and other sides. 

BBQ Sauce – A Savior

Due to its versatile nature, BBQ sauce is an ingenious creation. Whether it is a humble sandwich made from leftover chicken or a sophisticated dish of the whole chicken, BBQ sauce is a lifesaver. Not only it has amazing taste, but it also serves its purpose among hundreds of dishes. The best thing about it is that it can easily be made by noob home cooks any given day of the week.