Back when I was younger, freshly out on my own, I used to make a major kitchen error when it came to cooking barbecue chicken. You see, nobody ever told me that you're supposed to cook it on the grill for a little while before you put the sauce on it. Seem simple, right? But, I always ended up with scorched, burned barbecue chicken because I was attempting to marinate the chicken in the sauce prior to putting it on the grill. A lot of times, it stuck and left a big mess, too - and that's no fun for anyone. Luckily, I learned a few new tricks being married to a guy who watches cooking shows on YouTube all day. It probably didn't hurt that I did a little research of my own, but having a cook on your team can't hurt.
Somewhere along the way of my cooking journey, I decided it would be an interesting challenge to undertake making my own barbecue sauce. I scoured the web for a recipe that sounded decent, dutifully bought all of the ingredients, and went to work experimenting. I rarely follow recipes exactly, if you haven't noticed from the previous ones I've posted.
Because I enjoy this recipe so much, I decided I was going to share it for National Barbecue Month so that others could enjoy this, too.
First thing's first - prep your chicken (or ribs, or whatever you enjoy putting barbecue sauce on) and grill it for a bit. Exact time varies, I'm sure, but make sure you have a little time left to let the sauce steep in as it cooks.
Next: The Sauce.
1 c. ketchup 1/4 c. water (or more, to thin it to your desired consistency) 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar (this adds a tangy, delicious zing) 1/4 - 1/2 c. brown sugar (taste after 1/4 c. and add more to preference) 3 tbsp. olive oil 2 tbsp. smoked paprika (or regular paprika and a few dashes of liquid smoke) 1-2 tbsp chili powder, to taste 2 cloves of minced garlic (or a nice, heaping tablespoon) 1 tsp. cayenne pepper THE SECRET INGREDIENT: Sweet chili sauce! To taste, of course.
In your sauce pan, heat up your olive oil and brown your garlic. Add in the vinegar, the brown sugar, and the ketchup. Give a good stir, and add in all of the spices. Taste it to see how you feel about it, add anything you feel needs to be added, and put in some sweet chili sauce while it simmers. I usually let this simmer about 20 minutes or so, but 10-15 is sufficient, and 30-45 won't hurt, as long as it's on low, and being stirred every so often.
Now that your sauce is done, and your meat is almost done, slather it up and cook until it's finished. Yum!
This sauce is also really great for dipping cooked sausages in, as well as tossing some chicken wings in it.
As an added bonus to your meal, pop some fresh sliced pineapple on the grill and sprinkle it with cinnamon and if you like, a tiny bit of brown sugar. Heat until it has just a bit of crunch left in it.