How to make the best barbecue sauceThere is nothing better than home-made barbecue sauce, and almost everyone who throws a piece of meat on the grill has a sauce that they swear is the best in the world. All sauces are not created equal. You can prepare a thick, thin, sweet or savory sauce that works on all kinds of dishes, or make vinegar based sauces that works best on a particular type of meat.

The Carolina’s
If you want to bring out the flavor of the meat, go with a mustard based sauce. All you need is 1/4 cup brown sugar, ¾ cup cider vinegar, 1 cup yellow mustard and salt and pepper to taste. You can add some heat by throwing in a little bit of cayenne pepper and chili powder. This recipe is delicious on chicken, especially if you marinate it overnight.

Kansas City Here We Come
Made with a thick tomato base, the Kansas City style has a sweet taste with just the right about of heat and is perfect on pork and beef ribs. To prepare add a cup of ketchup, ¼ cup of water, 2 tbsp vinegar, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 tbsp cayenne,1 tbsp chili powder and 1 tsp paprika. Throw about ¼ cup of olive oil into a skillet and sauté the ingredients until they begin to bubble. Simmer for about 20 minutes until your sauce gets thick.

The Golden State of California
For a smooth sauce, mix 1 cup of regular cherry cola, two bottles of thick chili sauce, 1 jar of cherry jam, ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar and some hot pepper sauce to taste. Heat a couple of tbsp of oil in a heavy skillet. Add a couple of cups of chopped white onion and 1 or 2 cloves of garlic. Sauté until clear. Stir in everything but the hot sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Continue to cook for about 45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and the hot sauce. Let it cool completely before you coat your meat. This is delicious on steak and beef ribs. It also tastes great as a wet rub for smoked brisket.

The Longhorn State
Texas is known for great barbecues, and if you want to duplicate the robust flavor, try adding a cup of beer, 3 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce, ¼ cup ketchup, 2 tbsp of butter, 2 cups of beef stock, 1 medium white onion finely chopped, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 3 tbsp brown sugar and 2 tsp Tapatio or Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Mix the dry ingredients and melt the butter in a heavy skillet. Cook the onion and add the beef stock. Stir through and add the dry ingredients. Simmer for about 20 minutes. You can use immediately on beef, chicken or pork, or keep in the fridge for about a month.

Back East
New England is known for seafood, and it tastes great with a little lemon and butter, but if you want to spice things up mix throw about 1 ¼ cup of vegetable stock into a cast iron skillet. Add a ½ cup of red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp of Dijon mustard, a couple of chopped cloves of garlic, a finely chopped red onion, 2 tsp of brown sugar and hot sauce to taste. Heat until it starts to simmer and continue cooking on low until it thickens. Remove from heat, cool and slather it on catfish, trout, bluefish or bass.

Stop using store bought barbecue sauce and get creative. You can even have a competition with your friends and family. Who knows? Maybe someday you will even start bottling your own.

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