If you look at the timeline of my cooking experience, you’ll see something fascinating. From 1981, when I moved out on my own, until 1995, Open Pit Barbecue Sauce graced the shelves of my pantry. For me, it was the best of the best. I enjoyed the way it caramelized on my meat and the hint of tang that went along with the sweet.
Somewhere in 1995-1996, things changed. I joined a war. Bottled sauces weren’t a part of that battle.
If you’ve ever heard the word barbecue breathed in the same sentence as North Carolina, well, them’s fighting words (or word).
And it’s all about the sauce.
But today isn’t about North Carolina’s war over sauce. It’s about Memphis. I’m a peaceable sort so I’ll save the fighting for another day.
Food Network Magazine has a glorious spread called, ‘Liquid Gold,’ and rightly so. The folks in the test kitchens have done the work in pulling together fix wonderful sauce recipes from well-known restaurants in different barbecue-centric regions.
Like the Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce at Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous restaurant in, well, Memphis.
Open the fridge and pull out the condiment drawer. You’ll need just about everything in it, plus a chopped onion.
Only thing I did a little different was to chop my garlic instead of smashing it. Since it was all strained anyhow, I didn’t see the use of trying to pick out the garlic fibers from the press. It worked just fine that way.
With this recipe, there is no need to ever buy barbecue sauce in a bottle again. Take that to the bank. It’s delicious. Hubby said that he was eating the pulled pork just so he could have more sauce. There is a perfect balance of tang, sweet, heat and spice. It’s a delightful thickness and went on the meat perfectly. I would just as easily coat a chicken leg with this as drizzle it over the pork in the photo.
This is an outstanding all-purpose barbecue sauce.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
Not a thing.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 cups ketchup
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup steak sauce
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
- ½ teaspoon ground celery seed
- Kosher salt
- 1 to 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the ketchup, 1 cup water, the vinegar, brown sugar, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, mustard, celery seed and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the onion is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the liquid smoke. Strain the sauce, pressing on the solids to extract any liquid.
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