30 August 2011

Birthday Barbecue Sauce

Happy Birthday to Me!

I will not bake my own birthday cake.

I will not cook my own birthday dinner.

But I WILL make my own birthday barbecue sauce.

Yesterday, on the eve of my birthday, I had some friends over for dinner, but IT WAS NOT MY BIRTHDAY DINNER. Who cooks dinner for their own friends for their own birthday? Losers, that’s who. Losers that nobody loves. So, I repeat, this was NOT my birthday dinner.

Ok, back to the homemade barbecue sauce. Something you may or may not know about me is that when a particular food is exceptionally delicious, I like to rub it all over my face. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who has this tendency when it comes to an exceptional sauce. Observe these dinner guests at my non-birthday dinner.

Please note that dinner has mostly been cleared off the table. And sauce is STILL on faces. THAT'S how good it is. You think this picture was posed? Ha. Do you actually think people would willingly smear BBQ sauce on their faces and agree to have their pictures taken and posted on the internet?


So, no, the above picture was not posed, and yes, this sauce is spectacular, and no, you should not leave it on your face for extended periods of time, and yes, you should make it as soon as humanly possible, and no, you should never buy BBQ sauce at the store ever again, and yes, actually, this picture was posed. But it just goes to show the lengths that people will go to prove the worthiness of this sauce!

Aside from slurping this sauce by the spoonful, I enjoy it on pulled pork, grilled chicken, and anything else you would slather barbecue sauce on. Making it from scratch is really not that difficult or time-consuming. You should try it! Make a huge batch and freeze it in different-sized containers. Consider freezing it in ice cube trays so that you don’t have to thaw the whole batch if you need just a dollop for a hamburger. Or if you need to satisfy your craving for a barbecue-sauce popsicle.

Homemade Barbecue Sauce:

~adapted from Emeril Lagasse


4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 1/2 teaspoons paprika (if you have smoked paprika, use a mixture of smoked and sweet)

1 ½ teaspoon Kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

¼ easpoon cayenne pepper (optional)

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 1/2 cups water

3/4 cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon molasses

5 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons ground coffee or instant espresso


In a medium non-reactive saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the butter and, when melted, add the onions and cook until they are very soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and all of the spices and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, or until the tomato paste begins to brown. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the sauce has thickened and the flavors have come together, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes about 3 cups of sauce. Remember that you can freeze it!