Last November, after we upgraded our kitchen cookware (to an All-Clad set) a revival in the art of cooking took place in the Heon household. This further continued in March when I finally bought a smoker (Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24"). My current passion lately has been using the smoker to make all sorts of delicous things. During one of my first cooks, a smoked port butt, an old co-worker suggested I make my own sauce and shared this recipe from Simply Scratch with me. I whipped up a batch of this and was blown away at how close it tasted to my current favorite commercial sauce (Sweet Baby Rays). The only difference was consistency, this is much more liquid (and mising all that high fructose corn syrup).
Since that first attempt I've played with the recipe quite a bit, but the original formula stays pretty true. I use this new recipe as my base for variations of this sauce, depending on the meal being made. For instance, if I'm doing ribs and have mopped them with apple juice, then I create an apple juice based variation. Just this past Labor Day weekend I did another pulled pork, using Dr. Pepper and created a really tasty variation of this sauce that I'll write about soon.
So here is my new base sauce recipe:
- 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 1/4 cups Organic Heinz ketchup
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
In case you missed the subtle differences, I omit the water and add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke (typically hickory).
I start by adding the dark brown sugar into a large mixing bowl. I follow that up with the paprika. We use our Kitchen Aid mixer for this, set it on a low setting and then begin adding in the liquid ingredients. Once those are in, the rest of the dry ingredients get added. I then allow the mixer to continue to stir for 5-10 minutes, making sure to use a spatula every so often nothing is sticks to the very bottom.
What, no simmer?
Well no, the recipe does not call for it, however this past weekend I started playing around. I needed to for my Dr. Pepper sauce. I found that after bringing to a boil and simmering for 10 minutes that the flavor of this sauce was considerably tastier and was slightly thicker, but nowhere near as thick as the sauce it is said to copycat. I'll keep playing with this, 10 minutes may not have been long enough.
I want to try thickening this sauce, and plan on trying adding some molasses and/or arrowroot. I want to try mixing this sauce with coffee and bourbon (seperate sauces). I'm also considering trying smoked paprika instead of regular paprika, I think it'll help give it a slightly more smokey flavor. Lately I've started replacing brown sugar with turbinado sugar and might try that here as well.
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