A Versatile Barbecue Sauce Recipe

A barbecue sauce you can change up each time you make it

barbecue sauce, BBQ, bbq, sauce

The ugly photo to the left? Yeah, I need to make some more barbecue sauce today.

Personally I’ve never been one for killer, blow-the-taste-buds-from-your-head hot sauce. I just don’t get why someone would do that. Humans have about 10,000 taste buds and they are replaced every two weeks or so, but for me it defies logic. My preference is toward a sweeter barbecue sauce with over and undertones of different flavors. We use this barbecue sauce just as it is but you can mix it up to your preference.

Humans experience five tastes sensations: sweet, sour, salt, bitter, and umami. This recipe allows you to play with some of these to suit your tastes. This barbecue sauce can be used as is or as a base. So If you want to blow the buds from your mouth just start adding hot stuff like chili peppers. Want some more sweetness? Add sugar or honey. Maybe switch the honey for maple syrup. How about adding some coffee or espresso? You get the idea. 

Here’s a tip if you do get your lips on some insanely hot sauce and your tongue is melting – do not slosh water around in there like a horse at a bucket. It will make it worse. Grab some milk, whole milk, or better yet heavy cream. Yes, heavy cream. The fat molecules surround the capsaicin (the chemical responsible for your predicament) and neutralizes it.

A restaurant trick for hot, medium, and mild chicken wing sauce is to use a pre-packaged sauce like Frank’s Red Hot and cut it with butter as the chef sees fit. Why? You weren’t paying attention earlier were you? Butter is fat. Franks is loaded with capsaicin. Fat coats capsaicin. Hot goes away. TA-DA!

Some interesting facts about taste and smell:

  • Humans have about 10,000 taste buds and they are replaced every two weeks or so.
  • About 80% of what we taste is due to our sense of smell.
  • Dogs have about 1700 taste buds.
  • A dogs sense of smell is about is about 1,000,000 times more sensitive than humans.
  • Cats have about 470 taste buds and can’t distinguish sweet.
  • Cats don’t care about any of this. Go away, you’re bothering them.

Go make some barbecue sauce and tell me how you mixed it up!

Dave's Barbecue Sauce
This makes a good base recipe to play with by changing up the ratio of vinegars. Add some apple cider instead of cider vinegar to add a nice apple overtone. More ketchup and sugar will make it a thicker sauce and more vinegar makes it looser. Use a bold flavored honey, like buckwheat. Otherwise the honey is just a sweetener not a flavor component. To make a hotter, spicier add more tabasco or jack it up with some hot chili peppers of your choice and whiz it up in the blender. The sugar that doesn’t dissolve right away will dissipate in few hours so give it a good shake or stir before using.
Recipe type: --
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 drops tabasco sauce
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  1. Mix everything together until the brown sugar dissolves. Put in a jar and refrigerate.

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