Before The Goose was born, when I was working full time and finishing my masters degree, I made all my food from a can, jar or box. I lived off ramen noodles, canned ravioli, and frozen biscuits. Nothing was homemade. In fact, I had no idea that you could even make these things from scratch.
Then a friend let me in on a little secret that completely changed my world: You can (and should) make food at home. She wrote her top secret barbecue sauce recipe on a sheet of scrap paper, and it changed my life forever.
I started making my own barbecue sauce. Then I began making homemade macaroni and cheese, and quesadillas. And then, when The Goose was born, I made homemade baby food. Me! The woman who couldn’t even make pancakes without burning them. All because of one little recipe, that still hangs on my fridge, and includes the ingredients ketchup, brown sugar and “whatever herbs you have”.
Since first learning that I could make homemade barbecue sauce, I’ve played around with a lot of different recipes. And, because we all have different tastes (my husband likes his sauce on the spicy side, while The Goose and I prefer a sweeter sauce), I’ve learned how to make one recipe, adjusting the heat level just before serving.
Homemade Barbecue Sauce
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cayenne pepper (for spicy sauce) (optional)
Grape jelly (for sweeter sauce) (optional)
Combine the ingredients in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until the sauce has a smooth consistency. Let cool and adjust the herbs as necessary.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of the basic sauce, try your hand at adding different ingredients for different flavors. Add a bit of pineapple juice for delicious, tropical flavored chicken breast. Add some apple jelly if you’re making barbecued pork. Add some diced jalapenos if you’re looking for some kick. Don’t forget to write down what you add in to the sauce – if it’s a winner you might want to make it again!