J-Lo’s Special Sauce
This is a post about making your own barbecue sauce. This is a recipe that started based on a concoction my brother in law J-Lo (who has been featured here before) discovered. It has since gone through several iterations. This is the current version which will no doubt change as it does often. Fire up your smoker (optional but if you’re cooking some food on it, may as well cook the sauce there too). Phase one:
8 pieces of thick cut bacon
1 large onion, finely chopped
8 teaspoons minced garlic
5 tablespoons chili powder
1 – 2 chopped cayenne peppers. Note that these can be fresh or dried. I grow my own and the plants produce a lot. So, I hang the excess peppers from a string and let them dry out in the garage. They’ll keep for a very long time.
In a skillet, fry up your bacon. Eat bacon for breakfast because if you’re smoking some meat, you probably started early. Retain the bacon fat. You can substitute a stick of butter for bacon fat but why would you? Unless you’re a vegetarian. But if you’re a vegetarian, I imagine your need for barbecue sauce is low. To the bacon fat, add the onion, garlic, and peppers. Cook until the onions become tender. Add chili powder and stir. Cook for a few minutes longer. Remove from heat and allow to cool. You’re only going to allow this to cool because getting hot stuff on you can burn. After you’re satisfied that you won’t burn yourself, pour the mixture into a food processor. Hit frappe and allow it to run until the mixture is mostly liquefied.
Transfer the liquid to a large pot and put it on the stove. To the mixture, stir in the following:
4 cups ketchup
1 cup yellow mustard
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup honey
2 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons of ginger powder
1/4 cup Soy sauce
ground black pepper to taste (I like mine peppery)
Kosher salt to taste
Bring mixture to a gentle boil and reduce heat. After a few minutes on reduced heat, transfer to your smoker. And let it cook all day. I said the smoker was optional. If you do not plan on using one or don’t have one, no worries. Just keep cooking it on the stove. If you do not use a smoker, I recommend adding a bit of Liquid Smoke to add some smoky flavor. And keep it on your stove on low for an hour or so.
I like mine a bit spicy so I’ll also add some hot sauce on occasion.
You can use the sauce on any thing you’d put barbecue sauce on. Once the sauce cools, I transfer my sauce to a large and clean ketchup bottle and keep it in the fridge. It will keep for several months.