We’ve made this together before and I shared how I learned it as well. But for the sake of your occasional lost memories, I’ll go though it again.
My grandfather (my mother’s father) cooked. He taught me how to grill, bake pies, make a decent roast. And he taught me this basic barbecue sauce recipe.
Remember this is a recipe of unmeasured amounts, though I always mix mine up in a 2 cup Pyrex measure. And like the dressing, make only what you need.
This recipe is flexible too. The base consists of a tomato sauce (catsup, tomato purée, unseasoned tomato sauce, or during desperate times – a can on condensed tomato soup), a sweetener (honey, OR brown sugar OR molasses), a mustard (yellow, Dijon, brown), liquid smoke, seasonings (Worcestershire sauce, OR BBQ rub seasoning) AND liquid smoke
The one we made together was pretty basic but my go-to for ribs or chicken on the grill.
1 c tomato base (catsup in this case)
1 generous handful of brown sugar
2 TBSP of BBQ rub seasoning
1 tsp of yellow mustard
And a few drops of liquid smoke (to taste)
Mix until all is incorporated and smooth. Taste it and be sure it is how you remember it.
If it’s too sweet add more tomato base and a little more mustard.
Not smokey enough? A few more drops of liquid smoke.
Not sweet enough? A little more sweetener.
Too Smokey? Make more of the base without the smoke and add to your too smokey concoction.
This is another where you use whatever is on hand that fits the basic recipe premise.
This should cover both sides of a rack of ribs or all areas of a whole chicken.
Never reuse the sauce days later if you have leftovers. Cross contamination of meat juices from partially cooked meats is a recipe for an all night date with the toilet.
Seriously only make what you need. If you had to double it due to a “too smokey” situation, split what you have into two containers so that you don’t have to pitch any leftovers.
You should be able to keep the overage for about a week tightly covered in the fridge.
**A note about molasses: a little goes a long way and it has a powerful dimension of flavor. If you use it start conservatively until you have the taste where you like it.