Delicious BBQ Sauce

Yesterday was the first day of the BBQ season for the Reese household. No vegetables are ready from the garden yet, so it was a relative simple meal and evening by the que. But I figured that I should kick off the season by giving the world my BBQ sauce recipe...

Before we begin there is one thing you need to know about this recipe - it is different every single time you make it. The benefit being that no matter how many times you make the sauce, you are guaranteed to be surprised every single time. The downside, of course, is that if you stumble upon something truly miraculous, then your chances of recreating it are highly unlikely. I happen to like this little trade-off, but some may not like the chemistry-experiment-esque methodology employed to engineer this BBQ sauce. If you are one of those people, then I encourage you to stop reading and find a book that has a recipe that you can depend upon. For the rest of you: you have been warned.

That being said, the good news is that it is really hard to screw this �recipe� up.

As stated before, the recipe is more of a set of guidelines than a true recipe. Simply make the base for the sauce, and then there are a number of things you can do to add your own personal flavor to the sauce.

Base Ingredients
2-3 cups of ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
� tablespoon Kosher salt
� tablespoon pepper, freshly ground
3-4 splashes red wine vinegar
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (chili infused olive oil used to great success)
2 medium sized cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium sized cloves of garlic, crushed
� white onion, chopped
�-1 teaspoon white pepper

First let�s take a look at how to make the base. Keep in mind, that I am doing this from memory, so I am not sure of the exact measurements. Therefore, you are going to have to play around with this until you get it right.

The most important element is the ketchup, as it provides most of the bulk of the sauce. The trick is not to use too much at first, as the last thing you want to do is have a BBQ sauce that tastes like ketchup. In fact, if at any point during this process you taste the ketchup then you clearly have not added enough of some other ingredient. If you are afraid of using too much, remember: it is a lot easier to add more ketchup, than it is to remove it once you�ve started.

Ok, enough about the ketchup. Next add the rest of the ingredients to the base. When you are done, you should have almost doubled the amount of sauce. Stir regularly and completely until well blended and mixed. As a general rule, the ketchup should not be too overpowering � you should taste it yes, but it should not be the only thing you taste. If another ingredient is too overpowering, I typically add a little ketchup at a time until it evens out, and then readjust the other ingredients until I am satisfied. Remember, this is not an exact science, part of the fun is playing around with the ingredients until you find what you want.

The base is an effective sauce all by itself, but I find that any combination of the following ingredients can bring a real distinct flavor to the sauce, and where you can add your own personal twist to the recipe. I will go through some of my favorite additional ingredients and encourage people to contribute their own.

Optional Ingredients

More white pepper � White pepper is very handy because it can really make your sauce spicy without really affecting the overall taste dramatically. White pepper has the effect of creating a nice, slow, burn in the mouth. I tend to put about 1� tablespoons total in my BBQ sauce.

� - � cups honey � This is a favorite ingredient for Yankees. Southerners tend to favor spicier BBQ sauce, while northerners tend to favor sweeter BBQ sauce. I am more of a southerner myself, but honey adds a really nice flavor that can�t be beat, no matter how spicy your sauce becomes. Honey is not something you can add too much of, you just need to be mindful of how sweet you want your honey to be.

� cup of Beer, or Jack Daniels, or Bourbon � Beer is a great ingredient to add. You want to add enough to affect the taste of the sauce without watering the sauce down too much. My wife recommended Bourbon, but we only had Jack Daniels� and it was fantastic.

Dried seasonings � I tend to add a tablespoon of dried parsley to every batch I make, and occasionally some All Spice, or some Italian Seasoning. Spices can help affect different regional flavors. For example, try Italian seasonings (basil, oregano and the like) for an Italian twist, or try some Tony�s for a Cajun twist.