Homemade barbecue sauce, sweet, hot and full of rich flavor, is one of our favorite indulgences. One of the last opportunities for summer barbecues lurks just around the corner, and we’re preparing for labor day by planning our last big picnic of the season: grass-fed brisket with homemade barbecue sauce, fresh tomato salad, plenty of sour pickles, grilled sweet corn, potato salad, blackberry ice cream with wildflower honey with a long draught of lemony, gingery water kefir to wash it all down. And we’ll break out the slip-n-slide and the music and the good times, celebrating the warmth of the summer sun one last time before the snows begin to hit again in a few weeks.
We like a barbecue sauce to be bold and rich and not for the faint of heart. After spending years looking for a good additive-, preservative-free barbecue sauce made from organic ingredients, we began making our own. It took a lot of trial and error to come up with a decent homemade barbecue sauce, but, eventually we settled on this one: a combination of tomato paste, molasses, unrefined cane sugar, onion, garlic and chipotle chilies. If you’re a touch faint of palate (or just don’t like breaking into beads of sweat as you eat your meal), go slowly in adding the chili powder. We love to slather this homemade barbecue sauce over grass-fed beef, pasture-raised pork or even over a spatchcock chicken on the grill.
homemade barbecue sauce
- 2 to 3 tbsp pastured lard bacon fat or coconut oil
- 1 small onion (minced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste (preferably homemade)
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1 cup whole (unrefined evaporated cane juice)
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- up to 2 tbsp chipotle chili powder
- Melt up to three tablespoon pastured lard, bacon fat or coconut oil over a medium flame, then toss in the minced onion and garlic.
- Fry the minced onion and garlic in the hot fat until fragrant and translucent. Allow its edges to caramelize a bit.
- Reduce the heat to low, then spoon about 1/4 cup tomato paste into the saucepan. Take care because the tomato paste could splatter in the hot fat.
- Stir one cup molasses, one cup whole unrefined evaporated cane juice and two tablespoons fish sauce into the tomato paste. Continue to stir the sauce together until the molasses completely dissolves into the tomato paste and the sauce becomes uniform in color.
- Stir unrefined sea salt, onion powder and garlic powder into the sauce and continue to stir until the flavorings are fully dissolved in the sauce.
- Gently and incrementally spoon the chipotle chili powder into the sauce, tasting it periodically and adding only as much heat as you can handle. Remember, the heat of the chili powder will increase as the sauce cooks and ages, so it may be wise to under-season it.
- Continue to cook over a low flame for another twenty minutes, taking care not to let the sauce bubble.
- Pour the sauce into a quart-sized mason jar and place it in the refrigerator.
- Allow the flavors to marry for at least a day before you plan to serve the homemade barbecue sauce.