Blue Ribbon Barbeque Sauce

Last week’s column was about meatloaf that I topped with barbeque sauce before popping it into the oven. That got me thinking about barbeque sauce. Then I remembered that a few weeks ago, I met fellow food aficionados Clark and Jessica VanHook of Fossil. The pair mentioned that their All Purpose Barbeque Sauce won first prize at the Wheeler County fair in 2020. As usual, I asked if they would share their recipe and they said yes!

When I received the recipe, I was happy to see how easy it was to make. You know how much I love easy! Having a good sauce on hand is like having a magic wand in the fridge. Put a sauce on it and kick the flavors up a notch. There are some excellent barbeque sauces out there. Is it really worth the extra effort to make your own? I wanted to do a taste test. So I went to the store and bought a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s because the label said “Award Winning”. Well okay then. Now we are on a level playing field.

Then I went into the kitchen and whipped up a batch. Clark and Jessica told me to bring the sauce to a bubbling simmer, then to taste and be careful to not overcook it. I did that and the sauce was so delicious that I could not stop tasting it! The deep mahogany mixture was sweet and tangy and had a bold, complex flavor. I asked my friend Heather for her opinion. She tasted it and said “Dang, that’s a humdinger.” I hadn’t heard that word in years and giggled like I was a little kid.

Jessica and Clark use generic ketchup and Brer Rabbit molasses.

All Purpose Barbeque Sauce

2 cups ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons mild flavor molasses
1½ teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon liquid hickory smoke
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together all ingredients in a medium-sized sauce pan. Heat to a low boil over medium heat until thoroughly heated through. That’s it!

I let the flavors meld overnight. Then came the taste test. Sweet Baby Ray’s is good, but since the main ingredient is corn syrup, the sauce had that corn-syrup overkill sweetness that overpowers the other flavors. All Purpose Barbeque Sauce is easy to make and lasts for months in the fridge. Thank you, Clark and Jessica, for sharing your award winning recipe. Stay tuned for their recipe that won a blue ribbon in the Walmart Cooking Challenge.