My quest to find or create the perfect BBQ sauce

Discussion in 'Sauces, Rubs & Marinades' started by pg89, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. pg89

    pg89 Newbie


    I am a big fan of BBQ sauce, but I find it hard to create my own. I have tried several recipes, all with top ratings, but they never turn out as I imagine them to be. A good all round BBQ sauce to me should be sweet, slightly tangy, smokey and with a gentle heat.  There should be a backbone of tomato, then onion, garlic, and spices, and it should be almost drinkable on it's own if you know what I mean! Appearance wise, the sauce should be maroon colored, and slightly runnier than the type you would find in a store bought bottle.

    The sauces I have made usually taste overly sweet, ketchup-y, and lack that overall balance, smokiness and wow factor that a good BBQ sauce should deliver. I always aim for restaurant quality!

    Most of the sauces I have tried call for ketchup as the main source of tomato. I disagree with this, as I feel a good BBQ sauce (or any sauce for that matter) should be made as naturally as possible from scratch while minimizing the use of already manufactured products. Saying that, while I'm sure it would be nice to make a sauce from whole tomatoes like I make my salsa, for simplicity, I would choose 'passata' as my tomato base. I also believe there should be some form of 'stock' in the sauce, like beef bouillon for instance. There is obviously vinegar in there, along with either dark brown sugar or molasses (or both) for the rich sweetness. I am not sure if the onion and garlic flavoring should come from the real thing or from powdered form. I would include paprika, celery seed, cumin, chili, salt and black pepper as my spices, maybe mustard powder and worcestershire sauce too. I may also include some whole spices such as cloves, cinnamon, mustard, cumin & coriander seeds. The smokiness could come from liquid smoke, smoked paprika or from simply putting the sauce in the smoker!

    I hope to generate and post a recipe on this thread that will be simple, fail-proof and capture that authentic BBQ sauce aroma & taste!

    If you have any hints, tips or suggestions please feel free to share!
  2. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    I had a bunch of people mob some i made a few weeks ago....let me think what i put it because i don't measure.

    hmmmm.  1 cup of catusp, a little Dave's rib rub, 1 TB of worstershire sauce, and maybe 1/3 to 1/2 cup of brown sugar.....stir very well

    For a little heat i'd add some red pepper flakes and cayenne, the smoke flavor will come from the grill/smoker

    As far as making everything home made sure you can do that but many times i'm not home or just want to whip something up quick....I like all natural catsup anyway which comes in handy as a base for some sauces. 
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013
  3. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have just made a change to my homemade bbq sauce re the onion flavour. I used onions chopped and sauted until soft for years. Then I tried cooking them over medium low heat until they were tobacco brown and using them in my barbecue sauce. I thing it added a mellow onion flavour with some caramel undertones I really enjoyed.

  4. pg89

    pg89 Newbie

    Cheers, so do you think adding real onions as opposed to powdered onions is better? Do you blend them up afterwards? 
  5. pg89

    pg89 Newbie

    Thanks, do you not like adding vinegar to your sauce? Sounds very simple, I might give it a go. If I were to use ketchup it would be Heinz. I noticed the ingredients on the cheaper ketchup bottles were very artificial, whereas Heinz seems to have basic natural ingredients.  
  6. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    a tad of apple cider vinegar sounds good...sometimes simpler is better, and less is more. 
  7. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    First a disclaimer. I have been experimenting with making my own barbecue sauce for years but it was for grilling. I have only been smoking since last fall.

    I have always liked the taste of fresh onions. I chop them quite fine and then cook them over medium low heat for 10 to 20 minutes in butter until they are tobacco brown. I usually don't blend them up afterwards but I have some friends who like their barbecue sauce smooth so I blend it they are coming over or if I give them some of my sauce. There is a slight different taste if you blend them and I think the little chunks of onion add a texture.

    The problem with trying to make the perfect bbq sauce is that mine will be different from yours. For example, my best buddy likes his way spicier than I do.

    So, my suggestion would be to start with a sauce that is close to what you like and try changes one at a time and stick with the one you like. My bbq sauce now is way different than it was 5 years ago. My two most recent changes, the onions as mentioned and I switched from dark brown sugar to molasses. I have loved all the sauces I have made but I just know there is something out there that will make it better!

    I really like that you are trying for the perfect barbecue sauce. I don't think you will ever get there but you will have some great sauce along the way and you will have a lot of fun.

  8. Making a Good bbq  it's not really hard to make the Perfect sauce, you just Have to keep mixing stuff Together until you have the right Ingredients, I have 8 flavors bbq sauces that I invented  1 of them is a White bbq sauce made out of Cool  Whip, I sell them to my friends & family and they loves them so much am gonna soon Market them, So keep on trying and oneday you will have that Perfect sauce, Howard Mitchell
  9. The folks who have all posted their thoughts on this, all gravitate towards, find a recipe, make it, then the next time tweak it, but above all document everything.  There is nothing worse than making that 'dam that is good' sauce and not remembering the recipe

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