Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Homemade Barbecue Sauce with Asian Flavors and HoneyYesterday, I decided to undertake yet another expedition into the made-from-scratch realm.  This time – barbecue sauce.  And once again, I’ll be honest: I really am no expert on barbecue sauce (surprise, surprise).   So finding a recipe was a definite challenge: vinegar-based or tomato-based?  Kansas City or North Carolina? Ummm…

I definitely wanted something that would use some of the ingredients we have produced ourselves: like maybe tomatoes and definitely honey.  And for sure I didn’t want a recipe that is based on bottled ketchup.  Don’t get me wrong, ok? I love ketchup.  I just wanted something a little more interesting.

I found my answer from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, who makes this sauce created by Ina Garten at the Food Network.  Deb calls this a barbecue sauce “mutt” (it has no real regional identity), but also claims that running out of this sauce actually causes her to “sob.”  And I LOVE that, OK?  I wanted to make something that good.


Homemade Barbecue Sauce with Asian Flavors and HoneyAlso, the recipe calls for tomato paste and honey, and a bunch of other interesting ingredients: soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Hoisin sauce… but NO ketchup.  Ding, ding, ding!  That’s pretty much EXACTLY what I was looking for.   And, it turns out, this sauce DOES have a complexity that makes it pretty much impossible to stop eating.  So I probably WILL be sobbing as I add a few extra miles to my next bike ride.

Of course, recent circumstances being what they are, I found myself out of about half of the ingredients.  So after a trip to the grocery store, I was really looking forward to the oh-so-satisfying feeling of rooting through the chest freezer for tomato paste that we had made ourselves.  Only to find: no tomato paste (audible sigh).


Homemade Barbecue Sauce with Asian Flavors and HoneySO step one for me was making up some tomato paste.  I started with some of the plain frozen tomato “sauce” that we made last summer.   The sauce is basically plain tomatoes (skin and seeds included), which we stewed in a crockpot all day (or all night) and then pureed using an immersion blender.

 Homemade Barbecue Sauce with Asian Flavors and HoneyI thawed about half of a 1 quart freezer bag, and passed about half of that (so like one cup) through a jelly strainer bag.

  Homemade Barbecue Sauce with Asian Flavors and HoneyI threw the strained pulp and another cup of unstrained thawed tomatoes into a sauce pan…


Homemade Barbecue Sauce with Asian Flavors and HoneyAnd boiled, stirring incessantly, for about 15 minutes.  Et voila!  Yeah, that’s right.  I took French in high school.   I ended up with about ¾ cup of tomato paste.


Homemade Barbecue Sauce with Asian Flavors and HoneySo now, since you will obviously already have tomato paste on hand, you will start out by chopping up your onions and garlic.  I had my doubts about there being bits in the sauce, so I chopped pretty fine.  But truthfully, I didn’t notice them at all once the sauce was done.


Homemade Barbecue Sauce with Asian Flavors and HoneyAdd the oil to a nice big pan, and toss in the onions and garlic.


Homemade Barbecue Sauce with Asian Flavors and HoneySaute until the onions become translucent.


Homemade Barbecue Sauce with Asian Flavors and HoneyNow just dump in everything else.  The original recipe makes six cups of sauce, which is a lot, especially if you aren’t sure you will like it.  So I halved the original.

Also, I am not that big on Dijon mustard, so I cut that in half again, but you can do whatever you want.


Homemade Barbecue Sauce with Asian Flavors and HoneyBy the way, Hoisin sauce: yet another thing I need to try to make from scratch.  In the meantime, I remain convinced that Hoisin sauce is made by angels.


Homemade Barbecue Sauce with Asian Flavors and HoneyStir it all up, and let it simmer on low for a good thirty minutes.  This is important.  When you first combine everything, you will taste it to see what it’s like.  And you will find that at first it won’t be that great.  You really HAVE to let everything meld and mellow…


Homemade Barbecue Sauce with Asian Flavors and HoneyOnce it’s done, use it as a marinade, for basting, on pulled pork, whatever you like.  Try to stop eating it.  Actually no, just forget it – go ahead and keep eating it.  You have my full support.  If you need to, go ahead and sob over it.  Lots of people do…


Homemade Barbecue Sauce
From Smitten Kitchen and Ina Garten at Food Network (recipe halved in post, original recipe below)
  • 1½ cups yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  1. Combine oil, onion, and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute until onions become translucent.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.
  3. Simmer uncovered 30 minutes over low heat.
  4. Use immediately or store in refrigerator up to 10 days.


Comments on this entry are closed.