A few weeks ago after I disclosed my inexperience with barbecue ribs I was thrilled to get several excellent suggestions and recipes from the rib cookers out there. Thank you. My neighbor Mike asked to swap rib tips for a homemade barbecue sauce recipe. Sounds like a fair trade.
I hadn't gotten around to digging up recipes for the barbecue sauces I've made in the past, when I found myself needing sauce this past weekend. I'm not entirely thrilled that my wife Margie likes Sweet Baby Ray's sauce from the grocery aisle, but if it keeps her happy, well, we know how marriage works. However, while shopping for our Memorial Day BBQ / Birthday Party for Nora I forgot to pick up a bottle.
Not wanting to go back to the store, especially for store-bought sweet sauce, I created this quick sauce which was a hit with the ten 15 year old girls we were feeding. In fact, they used it both for ribs and as a dipping sauce for deep-fried shark bites. The shark was caught by two of Nora's friends last weekend in the Gulf near Galveston.
As most of you know, I'm normally rigid about using recipes – but this is a good exception to my rule. Once you get the base in place (tomato, vinegar, sugar and a few spices) you can modify it very much to your taste. Here's my version from last weekend. Unlike a bottle of sauce, you'll have bits of chopped shallot (or onion) and garlic giving this sauce some texture, as well as flavor.
½ cup minced shallot (or regular onion)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
--- Sauté shallot and garlic in oil in a medium sauce pan over moderate heat until softened
1 cup canned whole or crushed tomatoes
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoons Tabasco sauce (or ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
½ cup white wine
--- Add tomatoes. If whole, break them apart in the sauce pan with a wooden spoon
--- Raise heat to bring to a boil.
--- Key step: Taste it. If you'd like it sweeter, add more brown sugar. It it's too thick or too spicy, add more wine.
--- Then lower heat and simmer 15 minutes