Barbecue Sauce

Pot of Barbecue Sauce


… and Phew, what a scorcher!

Having given house room for the past 2 years to the five bags of charcoal we optimistically bought in preparation for the barbecue summer of 2009 – you know, the one with the torrential rain – I am allowing myself to use the above  time-honoured tabloid headline phrase whenever the thermometer threatens to creep above 20°C. So seeing as it’s shaping up to be a fine weekend, I’m thinking it’s going to be a great time to fire up the barbecue and use some of our charcoal stockpile.

In the UK, the term barbecue tends to refer to the object you use to cook outside, and therefore anything cooked on this item is deemed barbecue food. In the US, this style of cooking is referred to as grilling, and barbecue actually refers to something closer in style to slow-roasting. Whichever approach you favour, a good sauce is a necessity to slather over the hot food of choice – and so here is my own recipe for just such occasions.

I really love this sauce – not just because of the tangy, smoky flavour (which is AWESOME by the way) – but also its beautiful colour – rich, dark and delicious – and the fact that it’s so simple to make. The use of the sweet, smoked paprika lends a wonderful smoky taste without having to resort to artificial flavourings, and also means its child-friendly in its mildness. Nevertheless, if you like heat in your sauces, use the hot smoked paprika with impunity!

Barbecue Sauce
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced/chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika (NOT the hot one!)
1 pinch salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
500 ml tomato ketchup
200g dark brown sugar (muscovado for preference)
4 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

  •  Heat the oil over medium heat; add onion and cook gently for about 5 minutes, then add in garlic and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add paprika, salt and pepper and stir for 1 minute.
  • Add all remaining ingredients and stir gently to combine. Simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens. You may need to use a splatter guard as the sauce thickens and bubbles.
  • Whizz in a blender if you prefer a smooth consistency.

This makes about 700ml of thick sauce. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add water to desired consistency.
I keep this in my fridge, in the washed and rinsed ketchup bottle used to make it.
To keep costs down, buy basic, no-frills ketchup – I found a 560ml bottle for 22p!

Cost : £1.50 for 700ml (July 2011)

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