As you may or may not know, I love to make as much of my food from scratch as possible. I think it has to do with being able to control what goes into it. Now, as you saw a few moths back on my post about ribs, there are a plethora of store-bought BBQ sauces that are pretty darned delicious. But they use a lot of salt and sometimes preservatives. Also, there is something to be said about the freshness of a homemade sauce.
This Canada Day (July 1), I smoked 3 racks of ribs using a rub of equal parts berbere spice and brown sugar. I've done this a few times and the ribs with just the rub work really well and have a nice smoky/spicy flavour. Serving the ribs dry with no sauce is commonly known as the Memphis style and it's damn simple. Just smoke/slow cook for a few hours, and serve! But, the past two times I've made a 'finishing' sauce that I serve on the side of the ribs. And, it's that much better with the sauce.
Now, that being said, I can't see why you wouldn't use this sauce in any situation that calls for BBQ sauce, especially when dealing with pork or chicken on the grill. Like a lot of my favourite recipes, I adapted this one from Marcus Samuelsson's Soul of a New Cuisine and it includes a healthy dose of berbere spice as well.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4-5 fresh ripe tomatoes, minced or pureed
- 1 onion finely minced or pureed
- 4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced (or put more if you like; a friend once told me you can never have too much garlic)
- about 2 tbsp worth of minced fresh ginger (a piece about 5 cms long, 1.5 cms wide)
- 1-2 cups dark beer (I recommend Tankhouse Ale or Upper Canada Dark)
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 3-4 drops liquid smoke
- 2-3 tbsp berbere spice
- 1/2 tsp crushed or ground coriander seed
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/8 cup honey
- 1/8 cup maple syrup
- 1/8 cup molasses
- 3-4 tbsp brown sugar
- Heat oil on medium heat in medium saucepan
- Saute onions until transluscent (about 5 minutes)
- Add tomatoes, ginger & garlic and bring to simmer
- Add beer, spices, cocoa, and liquid smoke and bring to simmer
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 35 mins. Stir in brown sugar and simmer for another 5-10 minutes
- Add maple syrup, molasses and honey and simmer for another 10 mins.
If you want your sauce to look like store-bought BBQ sauce, puree the sauce using a hand blender, but this does nothing to change the flavour. Keeps up 3 weeks in the fridge (the reason it doesn't keep for a year like most industrially made sauces might have something to do with salt not being one of the main ingredients).
Serve beside ribs or brush onto chicken or pork while grilling. Not sure how well it will go with beef, fish or shellfish... Really good on scrambled eggs though!
I hope you enjoy it!