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how long did it take you to perfect your sauce recipe ?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

 for years there was only one bbq place that I had to admit had a better sauce than I did . and I tinkered with copying it off and on for 10 years before I got it right

 what's your story about your quest for that perfect sauce

post #2 of 8

Cal, good on you for being persistent! 


I've only tried making BBQ sauce three times from scratch.  Two were tomato based and one was a white sauce.  The tomato based sauces were not at all what I wanted and ended up being used in making chili.  I didn't see any potential in the base sauce for changes so I scrapped the recipes.  The white sauce, intended to be used on chicken Alabama style, ended up on slaw and with a few minor changes is now my go-to for pulled pork when folks want slaw with it.    


I've got some other red BBQ sauce recipes I'm going to try but want to wait until it gets cold in case I have to make chili again.


In the meantime I doctor Sweet Baby Rays with cheap (Korbel) brandy and apricot-pineapple preserves for chicken.  It tastes great but I know there's a homemade sauce out there in the future with my creative fingerprints on it.   

post #3 of 8
I started reading recipes on several sites about 5 years ago. I copied them down and put all of the ingredients of each one on a spread sheet. Then I totaled all of the ingredients and averaged the various recipes into one. I used this aggregate recipe several times exactly from the math and then started to tweek some of the numbers to our particular taste. I am still using this sauce and rub. I bought Jeffs rub and sauce recipes several months ago and have been using them and my own. I will admit that I tweeked Jeffs somewhat as my friends and family lean more to the sweet side rather than hot. Al rubs and sauces are always subject to personal tastes. Work through it and please yourself. Good luck, Joe
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

while most sauces have many ingredients in common , once in a great while a totally different one will come along that stands out from all the rest , then it can be a maddening 

experience trying to copy it , I got my rub right after just a few tries , but there are some recipes that take years to figure out , for example , I have always loved Popeye's hot and spicy fried chicken , I tried for more than 20 years to copy it , I read any and everything ever printed or published on it and never got anywhere close to getting it right .

 then one day I was having a private conversation with a cook in Germany  ( of all places ) when I mentioned I had been trying to copy Popeyes . so we got to talking and it turned out the guy had been to the states and simply loved Popeye;s hot and spicy chicken also . but when he told me he knew how to make it taste right but couldn't get the crust correct , ( I thought yea right ) ..well as it turns out he had figured out the right spice combination  , I told him that I had long ago figured out the crust but not the spice

so we agreed to share what we knew with one stipulation , and that was if we both agreed  that when we put together what we had and then agreed that it was in fact a true copy , we would take the secret to our graves . so we both told each other what we thought we knew and both tried it and Bingo , it was in fact a perfect copy of Popeyes hot and spicy fried chicken ,  ... I had searched  for years and failed miserably until a fateful conversation with a guy on the other side of the world . so it just goes to show that if you never give up , you might just find your answer

post #5 of 8

Great story Cal!

post #6 of 8
I've "perfected" my rub recipe, in as much as I'm happy with it for now. My sauce is just an extension of that. Some ketchup, molasses, apple cider and vinegar, some rub for seasoning, simmer until it's the consistency I want and there you go. If I want a hot sauce I add some cayenne or puréed habaneros. If I want a mustard sauce I swap the ketchup for mustard. If I want a thick, sticky KC style sauce, I buy Kraft for $.99 and save myself the trouble.
post #7 of 8

Not sure sauce will ever be perfect but I've been working on it for about 10 years. I'm happy with it but always tweaking looking for different flavor profiles.


I'm quite happy with my rub recipes.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

i make 5 different sauces but only that  one took me years to copy , I try to keep a Carolina sauce , a Memphis sauce and a hot Memphis sauce in the house


all the time  , wife makes me keep the Carolina sauce on hand just for her and one friend that's nuts for the stuff


the past few days I have been tinkering with a new version of the Carolina sauce and while you can tell it's definitely   a Carolina sauce , I have gotten a really different

flavor profile  , and I think the wife likes it better than my old version

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