This barbecue sauce is something I created many years ago as alternative to store-bought varieties that were either too tame or laden with high fructose corn syrup, or both.  I stopped making it for a few years when I discovered the excellent Trader Joe’s Bold & Smoky Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce.  It was full of flavor, not overly sweet, just spicy enough, and absent anything that ever came from an ear of corn.  It was the only bottled sauce that met my ingredient and flavor requirements, and I always had it on hand to spike up the flavor of baked beans or to slather onto baby back ribs after they’d slow-baked in a dry spice rub.

Alas, as it goes with so much of what we love from TJ’s, they’ve discontinued it.  So it’s back to making my own.  No problem – this is an outstanding sauce with both kick and complexity, and comes together pretty quickly.

This recipe makes about 3-1/2 cups, and it keeps in the fridge forever.  I use 3 different sweeteners – molasses, light brown sugar, and maple syrup – and three kinds of hots – chili sauce, ground chipotle powder, and a dash of Tabasco.  After sautéing the onions and garlic in the vegetable oil, simply add everything else and let it simmer, stirring now and then, for about 45 minutes.  I store mine in a liter-sized mason jar; any similar-sized jar will do.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 tbsp vegetable oil (not olive oil)

1 large onion and one garlic clove very finely chopped

1-1/2 cups organic ketchup

6 tbsp unsulphured molasses

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup (now called dark robust)

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 tbsp chili sauce

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp ground chipotle powder

A dash of Tabasco