Monday, June 27, 2011

Recipe: Kick A** Memphis Style Barbeque Sauce

As I have mentioned many a time before, I am from Memphis. And all good girls and boys from Memphis have a reverent respect for the slow cooked barbecue. And in Memphis, the only kind of barbecue is pork. The ONLY kind of barbecue is pork. Got me? Good.

Now in Memphis, we sauce our pork with a thick sweet sauce. The premade sauces that you can buy in the grocery store usually aren't true to the Memphis style. And even the truly local Memphis sauces are made in big factories with yucky stuff like high fructose corn syrup. I had never made my own barbeque sauce before, but on Father's Day I fired up the crock pot and braised a pork shoulder for dear old DH. I thought I'd take a chance and make a sauce from sratch. And boy am I glad I did.

1-26 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes
1-teaspoon chipotle powder (or canned chipotles in adobo; I used the powder, if you use the canned you might need more than a teaspoon...)
1-teaspoon onion powder
1-teapoon cumin
2-teaspoons garlic powder
2-teapoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper grinds, many
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup grade B maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

With your blender puree the tomatoes and then strain out the seeds. If you are using the wet chiptoles then puree with the tomatoes. Don't omit the chipotle because they add both heat and smokiness to the sauce. If you really can't find them try Hungarian smoked paprika. The chipotles really made this sauce for me. But watch out, it is pretty spicy stuff!!

In a sauce pan pour your puree and add all the remaining ingredients and cook on low heat until it reduces and gets syrupy. Watch it, the inclusion of all the sugars make it easy for the sauce to burn. From here you can decide if you like it more sour, add more vinegar. If it needs more sweetness add extra honey. You get the picture.

Also a note about the grade B syrup, it is not necessary to go out and buy grade B syrup. But recently Fairway was out of my normal affordable brand of grade A. The alternative grade A syrups were almost $20 a bottle (Yipes!!!), so I opted for the cheaper grade B syrup. It has a much richer flavor. It is more complex, darker, much like caramel. I recommend that you try it if you get the chance. It added a certain depth to the sauce.

This sauce was as good as anything I had growing up. And it was all the more meaningful since I made it myself. I plan on using this with everything, hamburgers, roasted chicken, and maybe even mixing it with a little of my homemade ranch dressing to make a smoky barbeque ranch salad dressing. YUM!!!

Oh, and lastly, I have no pictures of this sauce or the barbeque on which I ate it. Sorry, I am a fairly lazy blogger. But mostly it's because I am writing this on my phone while cruising up I-95 on our way to a week long blissful vacation!! So the only picture I can possibly insert would be this.

This old random picture is how this barbeque sauce made me feel. Though surely it was equally the pork butt that made me feel so glorious. Ha!!

Enjoy everybody!! Do some grilling on the fourth!!


  1. This recipe sounds awesome! I have 28oz cans of tomato puree on hand and was curious about how much puree you got after you blended the tomoatoes? Thanks!

  2. I only strained out the seeds. So I lost less than a teaspoon. You could use tomato puree but I liked the consistency of the whole tomatoes.