Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce

The snow is almost gone…finally. Summer will be here in no time and you know what that means? Time to break out the grill which means we’ll need to make homemade barbecue sauce first. First up for the season is my Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce. It’s one of my favorites, but if you like it a little spicier, you can add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Don’t worry if you don’t have apple cider vinegar in your pantry, distilled white vinegar works too, it’ll just give a different tang, but is very good too.

When I first started making this particular barbecue sauce, I noticed that I used some of the same ingredients as the dry rub I recently wrote about here, which is made, in part, with the seasoned salt that I wrote about here. So, I figured rather than measuring out the ingredients every time I wanted to make barbecue sauce, I would just use the dry rub mix instead. I was not disappointed. I would recommend making both of these mixes in larger than needed quantities. They’ll keep for a long time in airtight containers and you’ll be surprised how many uses you’ll find for them.

If you just want to make a small batch of barbecue sauce without having to make the other seasoning mixes, start by adding a pinch of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, curry and ginger. Just add a little at a time, you can add more if needed, but you can’t remove it if you put add too much.

Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce

This easy to make barbecue sauce can be easily adapted to suit your tastes. If you like it smokier, add a little liquid smoke. If you like it hotter, add some cayenne pepper.

Course Sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp dry rub mix

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.

    BBQ Sauce ingredients
  2. Using a whisk, stir until well blended.
  3. Heat over medium/low heat until a low boil.

  4. Reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally, allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes to allow those spices to cook together. Sauce will thicken a bit upon standing. 

    BBQ Sauce closeup

Recipe Notes

See my recipe for Dry Rub here.

What’s your favorite barbecue sauce? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to check back often for more recipes.

Versatile Dry Rub

Are there any foodstuffs that you didn’t like as a kid that you still won’t eat today? I’m sure we all can name at least one item that we still harbor a deep-seated aversion to. In the upcoming weeks I will be introducing a special segment of my blog that I call “Outside The Comfort Zone“. I’ll chronicle my experiences with foods or cooking techniques that I am not familiar with. I also plan to give some of those foods from my youth a second chance.

My particular aversion is to steak. I can’t explain it, but I’m just not a huge fan of it. I’ve never found it appealing, so it might be strange that I’m going to talk about dry rubs today. I may not love steak, but I do love flavor. This dry rub is an excellent choice for flavoring chicken, ribs, beef and pork. I actually use a few tablespoons of this mixture to use in my BBQ sauce and even to season nuts. So, you can see why I say that this is a versatile dry rub. I make a large batch of it and store it in an airtight container so I have plenty to use whenever the mood strikes.

This dry rub has a well-balanced sweetness and smokiness with just a hint of spiciness. Of course, if you like the extra heat on your meat, you can add additional cayenne pepper. If you like it a little sweeter, you can add more sugar or even change the type of sugar you use. Just be careful about how you cook using a rub with extra sugar in it. If you are grilling on the barbeque, you’ll want to avoid prolonged direct contact with the flame, otherwise the sugar will melt and burn quickly.

This recipe calls for seasoned salt. There are many seasoned salts available on the market, but I recently shared my homemade recipe which would make a decent dry rub by itself, too. I’m sure you probably have all the ingredients you need and can find my recipe here.

Dry Rub

There are many uses for this flavorful mixture of sweet, smokey and spicey. Dry rubs for meats. Seasoned nuts. BBQ sauce. The possibilities of flavor combinations are endless.

Course Spices
Prep Time 10 minutes
Inactive time 2 hours
Total Time 10 minutes
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup seasoned salt
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp celery salt
  • 1 tbsp sage
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Spread out brown sugar to dry for 2 hours.

  2. Combine all ingredients until thoroughly mixed.

    Dry Rub blended
  3. Use a food processor on pulse or a sifter to break up the larger clumps until you have a fine texture.

    Dry Rub sifted
  4. Store in an airtight container.

    Dry Rub

Recipe Notes

See my recipe for Seasoned Salt.http://mycomfortcafe.com/spices/seasoned-salt/

What food are you willing to try with a different recipe that you previously refused to eat? Let me know in the comments below and check back for “Outside the Comfort Zone”. I’m going to try this dry rub on steak as my first experiment.

 

 

Homemade Kahlua

Homemade rum and coffee liqueur, better known as Kahlua, is so much better than the original. The main reason, it’s way less expensive than buying it from the store. One liter bottle of rum, some very strong coffee, sugar and vanilla will yield a little more than three liters of this rich, delightful, coffee spirit.

I usually use Bacardi rum, but if you like a little more kick, 100 proof vodka or even Everclear grain alcohol (if you can get it) works just as well. Your wallet and your taste buds will thank you. In total, homemade Kahlua costs between $23.00  and $30.00 for three liters of the liqueur ($7.67 – $10.00 per bottle). Whereas, one liter of the original will cost you about $30.00.

A breakdown of your costs are simple. $15.00 (liter of Bacardi) – $22.00 (liter of 100 proof Smirnoff or Everclear). $2.00 for a 2 pound bag of light brown sugar (I know that sounds like a lot of sugar, but we’re using a lot of liquid that needs to be sweetened. Plus, if you measure out and firmly pack the brown sugar, it’s only about 5 cups). Approximately $1.00 for a strong brewed pot of coffee.  This recipe would be an even better bargain if vanilla weren’t so expensive. If you can get an 8 oz bottle of vanilla for $20, using 2 oz (1/4 cup) will add $5.00 to your total.

Don’t use a bunch of your individual coffee pods for this recipe, as it will make your cost even more expensive than the original. Well, maybe not. I haven’t actually done a cost analysis on it, but I drink way too much coffee for those to be cost effective for me on a daily basis, so I don’t imagine it would be economical in this recipe either.

Vanilla has always been on the expensive side, but the last few years, it has really skyrocketed. A higher demand for pure vanilla as opposed to imitation has caused a shortage and driven up the price. It might be fun to experiment with hazelnut extract or almond extract instead of vanilla to see if we can make this recipe even more economical. Plus it would be some fun flavors to add to your favorite cocktail.

After you’ve made the recipe, you should pour the liqueur into glass bottles that have been sterilized then store in a cool, dark place for about 2 or 3 weeks. This product tastes much better after a few weeks, but if you absolutely can’t wait to try it, it is perfectly good to sample it today. I like to make a double batch and make gift bottles for friends and still have an ample supply for me.

Homemade Kahlua

An excellent substitute for  your favorite rum and coffee liqueur. This recipe yields about 3 liters and is easy enough to make, you can double or triple the recipe. 
Course Alcohol, Beverage
Prep Time 10 minutes
Resting time 1 hour
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 3 Liters
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 1 liter rum
  • 1 pot strong coffee use 1 cup ground coffee
  • 2 lbs light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Using a 12 cup coffee maker, brew one cup of coffee grounds with one full pot of water.

    Homemade Kahlua ingredients
  2. Pour brown sugar into a large heat resistant bowl or pot. Pour hot coffee over the sugar and stir until well dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temperature. (About 1 hour)
  3. Add vodka and vanilla. Stir until well blended. 

  4. Store in a cool, dark location for 2-3 weeks. 

Have you tried this recipe or experimented with other extract flavors? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.