This easy homemade barbecue sauce is exactly that. Easy. Homemade. And delicious . And everyone will think you slow-simmered it for several hours. And they’ll love it. Most good from-scratch barbecue recipes need to allow a lot of time to break down the tomatoes in the recipe. The secret to making this sauce quickly is to start with ketchup and skip the tomatoes. And onion juice. What? That’s right. Making onion juice is the only step in this recipe that requires more than just dump and stir. Make this today and have it on hand for every barbecue need you can think of. Perfect brushed on any meat, thick enough for dipping…
And is fabulous when used in this recipe for Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken Wings.
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup ketchup
- 5 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1½ teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (Frank's is excellent)
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium clove garlic, finely minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Process the onion with the water in a food processor until pureed and the mixture resembles slush, about 30 seconds. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup, pressing on the solids with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to obtain ½ cup juice. Some solids may seep through, that's okay. Discard remaining solids that remain in strainer.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the onion pulp, ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, liquid smoke, hot pepper sauce, and black pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the ketchup mixture and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, until the flavors come together and the sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes. Cool the sauce to room temperature before using. The sauce may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week or frozen for up to three months.
- Cook's note: The recipe as written makes what I would call a "thick and spicy" taste with the spicy being just right but not too hot. If you want more of a sweet sauce, substitute 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce with 1 tablespoon brown sugar. For a very spicy sauce, double the hot pepper sauce and add the full ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Recipe adapted from How To Grill and America’s Test Kitchen.