Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Superb barbecue sauce

One of the Christmas traditions I've had since getting married is making pulled pork barbecue with homemade sauce on Christmas Eve. Add some homemade coleslaw and a few potato chips and it's a pretty simple meal.

This year, however, Christmas Eve was just the four of us, no extra guests, so we decided to forgo our tradition in lieu of something we were certain both kids would want to eat.

I've not yet modified this recipe to be free of dairy, although I think a simple dairy-free butter substitution would do the trick. As long as gluten-free ingredients are chosen, it should be naturally free of gluten.

I'd also like to make this recipe using only organic ingredients, especially the ketchup. That will require some tweaking as the taste difference between organic ketchup and regular ketchup is substantial (the organic stuff is awesome, I otherwise don't touch ketchup). I once made this recipe using organic ketchup and realized I would need to make a few more alterations before making it as positively delicious as the original.

The original recipe comes from an old Better Homes & Gardens cookbook of my mom's that she claims she bought around the time my older sister was born over 40 years ago.

Superb Barbecue Sauce
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 thick lemon slice
1 onion sliced
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

In saucepan mix vinegar, water, sugar, mustard, pepper, salt, cayenne, lemon, onion and butter.

Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Add ketchup, Worcestershire and liquid smoke.

Bring to boil. Pour over pork and mix well.

Note: I usually triple this recipe to make sure that I have enough to cover 2-3 lbs of Boston butt (or shoulder) pork (the best for pulling) and plenty leftover for those that like extra sauce.

Another note: This recipe also works great with ribs.


  1. I wonder if you could substitute canola and use an imitation butter flavoring instead? I don't know if the butter imparts as much flavor as it does fat to bind it together? I'd be curious if it makes a signifant difference.

  2. Any idea what "prepared" mustard is?

    What does the organic ketchup do the recipe that makes it a bit 'off'? I'm betting it's lower in sugar, so you'd just need to up the sugar added.

    I also wonder whether brown sugar would work as well as white?

    Questions, questions! ;-)

  3. Prepared mustard is just regular old yellow mustard, the condiment (vs. mustard seed I guess).

    Yep, it's the sweetness factor with the organic ketchup. And, yep, tis probably more sugar that would do the trick. I just haven't played around with it. I have seen barbecue sauce call for brown sugar so maybe it's fine??

    I absolutely love this barbecue sauce as is, so I have been reluctant to mess with the original. And as I only make this once or twice a year... well, you know...