View Full Version : BBQ Sauce needs help

01-27-2008, 10:53 AM
I've tried my hand at making BBQ sauce but I'm having some difficulty. When I put all of the ingredients together before simmering it tastes great. Unfortunately, after simmering the sauce has a flat note to it. It almost tastes like it has been burnt, though I use very low heat and stir it constantly. The ingredients from memory are:

1 chipotle pepper in adobo
1 tbl of the adobo
brown sugar
lemon juice
Chile powder
Fresh garlic
fresh onion

I've tried subbing garlic powder for the fresh because I thought that the garlic was the villian. I guess what I'm asking is about the process. Most recipes say "mix all ingredients and simmer", I'm wondering if doing it this way is producing the off note. I'll post the full recipe (I left it at home) tomorrow, just looking for some thoughts.

K Kruger
01-27-2008, 12:28 PM
I too have seen numerous recipes that say that, 'mix all ingredients then simmer'. I doubt I've ever made a sauce of any kind that way.

Is that what you are doing now?

How much sugar to ketchup are you using?

01-27-2008, 02:25 PM
Kevin, here's the recipe:

1 cup Ketchup
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
2 tbl Chile Powder
1 tbl Oil (I use peanut oil, it calls for corn oil)
2 tbl Worchestershire Sauce
1 1/2 cup Chopped Onion
1 Chioptle Pepper (in adobo)
1 tbl Adobo Sauce from can
2 Cloves of Garlic minced
12 oz Tomato Paste (I began omitting when I thought that was the problem)
12 oz Beer ( I use cheap light beer)

Yes, I've been doing it that way. The sauce tastes great before it's simmered. It's a bright flavor that disappears after it's cooked.

K Kruger
01-27-2008, 03:15 PM
Wow. That's a ton of paste. (I don't use paste for anything.) Paste is already mega-cooked. Cooking that much paste further isn't going to be good.

Another problem is the onion. Raw onion can give you off notes too. This depends on several variables.

When lemon juice cooks for a while it can dull a bit. I usually add some during cooking then finish with more, off heat, at then end, if I am looking for brightness via lemon.

The brown sugar--with it's caramelized flavor notes--can become over-caramelly when heated, especially with the tomato paste.

Here's what I'd do (with some other optional suggestions in parentheses).

First, I'd ditch the tomato paste entirely. Replace it with a can of diced tomatoes packed in juice. Either dump those in a blender with the juice and puree before making the sauce, or puree the entire sauce later.

Increase the oil to 2 T (or use 1 T oil--peanut is fine--and 1 T unsalted butter, recommended).

Heat the fat in your pot over med-high heat till it's quite hot (if using the butter, till the foam subsides). Add the onion, stir, and cook, stirring somewhat frequently, till the onion is softened ans starting to brown here and there. Add the chili powder and stir (I'd add 1/4 t of dried thyme as well); cook 30 seconds, stirring continuously. Add the garlic and cook till very fragrant, about 30-45 secs.
Add half the beer (or add 3oz beer plus 3oz pineapple or apple juice), then stir in the ketchup and the canned diced tomatoes with their juices (or the puree you made). Add the chipotle and the adobo; add the Worcestershire.

Bring the mix to a simmer then stir in 2 T of the lemon juice and half the brown sugar (or, better perhaps, 2 T of brown sugar and 2 T of white). Cook at a slow simmer about 5 min.

At this point judge the thickness and the sweetness: If you'd like it thicker and sweeter, add the rest of the sugar (or 2 T of brown, 2 of white) and let it cook till it thickens a bit. If you'd like it thicker but not much sweeter--or only a bit sweeter, allow it to cook and thicken a bit, taste, then adjust sweetness.

Adjust salt (and pepper; I'd use white pepper in small quantitites).

Remove from the heat, allow to cool for a few minutes, (puree if desired), then taste again. Adjust lemon, if desired, by adding 1/4-1/2 t at a time.

This make sense?

Steve Petrone
01-27-2008, 04:47 PM
Kevin, you make it seem so simple yet years of experiece are stirred in....thanks.

01-28-2008, 07:11 AM
Thank you very much Kevin, it makes a ton of sense. I'll give it a try and report back. I like the pineapple & butter ideas and have fresh thyme as well.

ETA: all of your suggestions were great and I appreciate your advice.