Help me find the ultimate secret ingredients to make the ultimate (tomato based) BBQ sauce
April 7, 2012 11:05 AM Subscribe
As a connoisseur of barbecue sauce, on a lifelong quest to either find or replicate the best barbecue sauce I ever tasted, I keep coming back to the same thing: What exactly is the key ingredient or ingredients in a barbecue sauce that really make it special? What ingredients really make the difference between a good sauce, and a really great sauce? And just how much of a difference does it make to actually cook it and reduce it rather than mix it cold? Askmefi hivemind, help me out!
posted by Elfasi to Food & Drink (29 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
A long time ago where I live in the UK, a barbecue sauce went on sale. Old Ranch House Smokey Barbecue Sauce. It came and went from the shops over the years and finally vanished forever around the late 2000s. It was a reasonably thick tomato based, tangy, irresistible concoction that was best used as a condiment, though it made a fine marinade too. I kept the last ever bottle that I found (washed out), and the ingredients are:
Water, sugar, tomato purée (18%), acetic acid, worcestershire sauce, salt, stabiliser:xanthan gum; onion powder, hydrolysed maize protein, hickory smoke flavour, ground garlic, antioxidant, ascorbic acid, spices
This is the point at which I started thinking, just what exactly is the vital ingredient in that lot which makes it so special compared to anything else I ever tried? The hickory smoke flavour, perhaps? Or the combination of the onion powder, garlic, magic spices? How much of that list can I just ignore as your typical mass produced preservative stuff? I'd love to somehow replicate it and reproduce that exact flavour, but it seems more realistic to try and just figure out which kind of ingredients to focus on and experiment with my own recipes.
So, mefites who mix or cook your own tangy, tomato based barbecue sauce condiments (and it has to be a good condiment above all else), how would you reverse engineer that sauce? What ingredient(s) stands out to you? Or just in general, what do you consider to be your barbecue sauce ingredients that have the biggest impact on flavour? And how much of a difference does it make to cook a sauce rather than just mix it?
If you are outside the UK and you have specific products to suggest as ingredients, please give me a little background so I can go about finding them or recreating them over here. I'm thinking for example that hickory smoke flavour could exist all kinds of ways from all kinds of different manufacturers. Thanks!