One of our core food principles is using as few processed/prepared ingredients as possible. Condiments like mustards and sauces certainly fit under that category, and we’ve enjoyed making these things ourselves as needed rather than relying on an unknown factory and unneccessary ingredients (corn syrup and the like). So when we decided to celebrate Labor Day with a good southern meal including grilled BBQ ribs, naturally we needed to make a sauce. I’ve made BBQ sauce a few times in the past and always liked the result. It tastes good fresh and can be made using none of the short-cut processed ingredients like ketchup that most recipes call for. Here’s the latest version we used, which was a great success.
I based this sauce on a recipe from an old Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, which was the nearest thing to true scratch that I could find (even Joy of Cooking relied heavily on ketchup and processed sauces). The only forbidden ingredients were a can of tomato paste, apple juice, and Worcestershire sauce, which are easily dealt with. We also didn’t have horseradish, but hot peppers make up for that. Here’s what we used:
One small red onion, minced
Two large cloves hot garlic, minced
1 Tbl olive oil
1 apple (replaces the apple juice and adds heft)
4 tomatoes, chopped with juice squeezed out (replaces tomato paste)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbl brown sugar
2 Tbl molasses
1 Tbl paprika
3 small hot peppers (replaces horseradish)
1 Tsp salt
bit of black pepper
Preparation was easy. We just sauteed the onions and garlic in hot oil, then added everything else and allowed to simmer until the diced apple was soft. We then blended it smooth and let it simmer a bit more until thick enough. Probably 45 minutes total. This resulted in a really nice mix of sweet, hot, and tangy flavors that to me are the essence of barbeque sauce. Obviously there are all sorts of ways this recipe could be altered to fit someone’s taste buds, but the overall point is that you can make fresh, seasonal sauce without relying on handicaps like ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, canned tomatotes, and so on.
Of course, no recipe is complete without a full description of the meal it’s to be used for, so here’s our Labor Day dinner. Grilled barbequed rack of goat ribs, with sides of fried okra, sauteed garlic mustard greens, and spiced black-eyed peas over rice. And beer. Utterly satisfying comfort food from my roots, made from scratch with farm-fresh ingredients the way it used to be. We were full.