Barbecue season is fast approaching, even though it’s snowing again as I write this.
Yes, you dear readers south of us are probably already basking in your shorts, sipping cocktails on the deck and manning the sizzling, smoking barbecue beast.
We, up here in the north, are dreaming of all that.
And while we dream, I’ve been getting ready. Steaks are in the freezer, summer shorts are out of storage, and wine is a-chillin’.
I am being hopeful.
Oh, yes – and the barbecue sauce is made. I am rarin’ to rush out of the starting gate.
If you’ve never made your own barbecue sauce, now is the time. Plop all the ingredients into a pot, and leave them to simmer together into a thick, tangy-sweet, smokey nectar of the barbecue gods. It’s that easy.
And you will know you are not feeding your family that high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden, cornstarch-thickened, artificially flavoured gloop from the grocery store shelves.
Plus you get bragging rights. How good will it sound when you serve your guests a nice juicy steak or burger and tell them it’s made with your own special, secret Red Wine Barbecue Sauce recipe!? Wow. You can flex your barbecue-flipping muscles and, if you are man, beat on your barbecue-king chest. (We females have much more decorum, and can just smile a mysterious barbecue-lisa smile, and say sweetly, Yes, I made it myself.)
This recipe makes up a big batch that will last you all summer (or at least the next few weeks), but is also easily halved if the amount scares you. Plus, you need to open a bottle of nice full-bodied red wine to make it, so you know what that means – darn it, somebody’s got to drink up the rest of the bottle before it goes bad.
The alcohol in the wine all cooks off, so you can safely feed this barbecue sauce to children – they won’t even know it’s in there. (But you will know what gives this sauce its rich taste!) And if you have no wine in the house – apple juice makes a mighty fine substitute! You could use apple cider vinegar, in that case. And then you’d have to change the name to Triple Apple Barbecue Sauce – on account of the applesauce, apple juice and apple cider vinegar! Jeesh, it’s getting complicated now.
So here’s to barbecue season!
Kitchen Frau Notes: If you are halving this recipe, remember that 3 teaspoons equal one tablespoon, and 4 tablespoons equal ¼ cup.
If your smoked paprika doesn’t say whether it’s hot or mild, it’s probably mild. You can taste it to find out.
Red Wine Barbecue Sauce
- 2 – 5½oz (156ml) cans tomato paste
- 1 cup (240ml) unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup (240ml) honey
- 1 cup (240ml) red wine vinegar
- 1 cup (240ml) full-bodied red wine
- ¼ cup (60ml) dark molasses (blackstrap or cooking molasses)
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (mild)
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
Mix all ingredients together in a large saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until thickened to your liking.
(After about 10 minutes of simmering you can taste it and if you think it needs more kick, add a bit more cayenne pepper. Then continue simmering for the remaining 5 minutes.)
Let cool, and pour into a bottle or jar with a tight fitting lid. I like to keep some in a squeeze bottle for ease of use. (I use an empty agave nectar bottle.)
Will keep for months in the refrigerator, and also freezes well.
Makes about 4½ cups (1 litre and a bit) – enough to fill one quart jar and a smaller jar.
That’s all there is to it!
Now if only the snow will go away.
You might also like: