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Summertime is grilling time, which means it's time to make some BBQ sauce. I know what you're thinking: Why make your own BBQ sauce when there are so many commercial brands to choose from? For starters, it's relatively simple and easily customizable. Once you know the basic ingredients you can tweak them to get the perfect tasting sauce. For example: I prefer more tang to sweet when it comes to BBQ sauce.
Another reason I encourage you to make your own sauce is that commercial brands include a high amount of sugar and other questionable ingredients. While I agree you need some sort of sweetener to make a tasty sauce you definitely don't need that much. Making your own allows you to taste as you go and adjust accordingly.
So here goes my tried and true BBQ Sauce recipe adapted from Steve Raichlen. It's a thin slightly sweet vinegar based sauce with a nice tang.
Basic Vinegar BBQ Sauce
(adapted from Steve Raichlen)
2 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/8 cup dark corn syrup, or honey
1/4 cup cold water
2 teaspoons coarse salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 hot pepper flakes, or more to taste
Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Simmer for 3 minutes. Let cool and correct the seasoning, adding salt, cayenne, or corn syrup; the sauce should be very piquant. (The corn syrup should take the edge off the vinegar, not really make the sauce sweet).
Use right away or transfer to jars, cover, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for several months. Shake well before using.