Did you know I’m originally from Kansas City? It’s true – born and raised there. This means a few things in light of the fact that I now live in St. Louis:
#1 I don’t care what high school you went to. In fact, I can’t even pronounce half of the Catholic schools here.
#2 I’m not used to cheering for a winning baseball team. In fact, before living here, I never paid more than $10 to go to a game.
#3 Apparently St. Louis style bar-b-que exists, but I only have eyes for the stuff from Kansas City.
My family takes bar-b-que very seriously, especially the sauce. When we eat bar-b-que it’s an event. We go one place to get beans, another ribs, another brisket, and so on. Everyone has their specialty, and we appreciate that. One thing, however, that my family has never agreed on is sauce. So many choices, so many disagreements. Sweet? Hot? Vinegar or molasses based?
Well, Matt and I recently ran out of our favorite sauce, which happens to be Oklahoma Joe’s. Since we can’t find it anywhere in St. Louis, I decided to make my own bar-b-que sauce, so I could try this recipe out. I wasn’t really interested in making it taste like Oklahoma Joe’s, or anything else for that matter. I just wanted to make it, see how it went and go from there.
BBQ Sauce (adapted from Farm Girl Fare)
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
4 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
3 tbsp. raw honey
1/3 cup Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
1 6oz. can tomato paste
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. sweet paprika
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp. salt
several grinds of fresh black pepper
1 1/2 cup water
1. Heat the oil in a large pot and add onions, cooking of medium heat until soft. Lower heat and continue to cook onions until they caramelize (20 to 30 minutes).
2. Turn heat back up to medium, add garlic and cook for additional minute. Stir in brown sugar and honey and cook for 2 more minutes.
3. Add the remaining ingredients, except the water. Stir to combine and allow it to heat for a minute. Add the water. If you don’t want chunks of onions in your sauce, you can puree it at this point with an immersion blender. (I didn’t do this.)
4. Bring to a low boil, then lower the heat so that it simmers, stirring occasionally, for about 20 to 30 minutes until it reaches the desired thickness.
I didn’t want it to be too thick, so I only simmered it for about 20 minutes. It turned out sweet, but not overly sweet, with a nice little kick.
I don’t think it’s quite ready to bust out at the next family bar-b-que meal. Maybe by the 4th of July I can get it perfected for its debut in Kansas City.
Despite not meeting family standards yet, this still is a great sauce. I used it in this recipe and it was fantastic. Luckily, it made enough sauce to be able to make this meal again this week.
What about you, are you a big bar-b-que fan? What are your favorite bar-b-que places? I’ve yet to find on in St. Louis I like. Outside of Kansas City, The Salt Lick in Austin wins hands down.