We’ve all bought a fast food meal with the counter person asking if we wanted any sauce.
You know it’s happened if you have kids that grew up in the era of the “Chicken Nugget!” Well, there’s some good news that we want to pass along. Barbecue sauce is more than just for dipping nuggets!
There are a couple of basic sauces in the world of barbecue. For this article we’re focusing on three versions. First there’s the standard thick and rich dark barbecue sauce we’ve all been accustom to. Next is the mustard version, and the third is a finishing sauce. Trust us, there are more ways to make a barbecue sauce than you can count. We’re just touching on these three.
It can be thick, it can be thin, and it can taste like hickory, apple wood, honey, and even Jack Daniels. The grocery and fast food industry would have you believe that these thick sauces are for dipping only. Those thick sauces are actually what I consider cooking or topping sauces. You either top your smoked pulled pork or burger with these sauces or you baste your burgers, dogs, steaks, ribs and chicken before you remove them from the grill. These sauces are most often tomato based and almost always contain sugar. Variations of this type of sauce can be found from the east coast all the way to Texas and to California.
A mustard sauce is the perfect cousin to a tomato based sauce. It’s along the same lines of seasonings but the largest ingredient will probably be prepared mustard. This type of sauce is popular along areas of the Carolinas as stretching all the way to Alabama and beyond. It probably has roots based in German style cooking.
A finishing sauce is a classic North Carolina vinegar based sauce that’s thing, almost clear, and packed with flavor. This sauce is used as a finish to hand pulled pork barbecue and more. The basic sauce is a combination of ingredients including, but not limited to, vinegar, water, sugar, red pepper flakes, and more. This sauce is shaken in the bottle, then squeezed/drizzled over the meat just seconds before being served or before you pop a bite in your mouth.
Don’t be scared to try making your own sauces. An easy way to start is with what I call a “junk sauce.” Just grab a bottle of cheap store bought sauce and then add some “junk” like minced onions, peppers, orange juice, or whatever tickles your taste buds.
This is one of our favorite barbecue sauces because it’s so easy to make. And you can add a few things of your own for a twist! Orange juice, Jack Daniels, cola, and more are all things we’ve added to my barbecue sauces with great success.
- 2 cups ketchup
- 1/2 cup mustard
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/ 3 cup lemon juice
- 1/ 2 cup cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon celery powder
- 1/ 4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
Combine everything in a saucepan and simmer for about 10 minutes. Cool and chill for as long as possible be for using. Chill overnight is possible.