In Search of the Perfect BBQ Sauce

Ok, maybe “perfect” isn’t exactly the right word here…different might be closer to the true meaning. Yes, I like the spike of vinegar that’s at the heart of many sauces, but at times I’ve found it hard to get by that to enjoy any subtleties.  Same for the sauces wrapped around the heavy presence of smoke…a bit of smoke goes a long way on my tongue.

A few years ago, I came across this in one of those toss-away newspapers. For no real reason other than it just looked different, I cut it out.  It’s now my go-to sauce.

Juice Florida BBQ Sauce

24 oz. ketchup

1/2T yellow or brown mustard

1/2C onion juice *

4T cornstarch

3T water, cold

1 pound light brown sugar

3/4C fresh OJ

3/4C fresh or prepared pineapple juice

3/4C mango juice

Combine everything but the cornstarch and water in a large nonreactive saucepan over low heat until the mixture begins to bubble and starts to thicken. Stir it now and then.

Combine the cornstarch and cold water, stir well to dissolve the cornstarch. Slowly add this to the mix, stirring, until you get to the desired thickness (think thick). Remove from the heat, cool.

When cooled, pour back into your ketchup bottles or other suitable container with a cap or lid.

This is an incredibly versatile sauce – great with chicken, equally good with ribs. And it will stand up to as much hot sauce as you can take.

* Onion juice

Peel one, perhaps two, large onions, white or yellow. Put a clean dish towel on your cutting board. Place a sturdy box grater on the dish towel, then grate the onions. When done, twist the towel around the grated onion, and wring out as much of the onion juice as you can into a bowl. Rinse and scrub the dish towel with soapy water right away.

Note: Follow the recipe the first time, after that, experiment with other sauces. However, keep the pineapple, as its juice cuts the sweetness of the sauce.

Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef, living and working in Phoenix, AZ. (c) All rights reserved, 2011.

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