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Sweet-and-Smokey Barbecue Sauce

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Ask most Americans to describe the perfect barbecue sauce and they’ll evoke a thick, sweet, red, ketchup-based sauce with a zing of vinegar and a whiff of liquid smoke. In short, the sort of sauce Kansas City barbecue buffs have slathered on ribs and briskets for decades. The following recipe comes from the Kansas City Barbecue Society. (Motto: “Barbecue—it’s not just for breakfast.”)

NotesTry This!

Use as you would any barbecue sauce, that is to say, brushed on pork ribs, and chicken toward the end of cooking end poured freely at the table.

Makes5 cups

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Taste and Texturegarlicky, hot & spicy, savory, sharp, smoky, spiced, sweet, tangy, tart

Type of Dishbarbecue sauce, sauces

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon pure chili powder (not a blend)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 cups ketchup
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except for the ketchup, in a large, deep, heavy, nonreactive saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, until all the ingredients are dissolved, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ketchup and bring to a boil, stirring well, as the ketchup has a tendency to spatter. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  2. Reduce the heat slightly and gently simmer the sauce, uncovered, until dark, thick, and richly flavored, about 30 minutes, stirring often. Use right away or transfer to jars, cover, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for several months.

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This was easy to make and delicious to eat. We used it on pulled chicken ... outstanding.

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