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A&E >  Food

Dorothy Dean presents: Sweet and zesty barbecue sauce is a breeze to make

UPDATED: Mon., May 10, 2021

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

Fire up the grill! We’re celebrating National Barbecue Day and all its saucy deliciousness.

A sure sign of summer is the savory smell of barbecue in the air, and May 16 honors the culinary art that mixes food, friends and sun for festive backyard dining.

Barbecue varies by region, and this applies to methods, types and cuts of meat, seasonings and, most importantly, the sauce.

Sticky, delicious barbecue sauce is the quintessential summer condiment, and there’s countless flavors to explore, from Memphis-style and Texas mop sauce to Carolina Gold and Alabama white sauce – yes, white – that’s made with mayonnaise.

Easily the most popular and commonly used is Kansas City barbecue sauce. Dominating store shelves, it packs sweet and tangy flavors that complement just about anything you can throw on your grill.

With this homemade version, you’ll never want to buy a bottle again. It’s the perfect balance of sweet, zesty and robust flavors with a slight kiss of heat. With just a few pantry staples, seasonings and one saucepan, this recipe is completed in a breeze.

It starts with ketchup as a base that’s mixed with brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and an array of spices. After a quick simmer, the mixture thickens to an irresistibly tasty sauce ready to be slathered, dunked or drizzled all over favorite barbecue eats.

It’s great on pulled pork, ribs, baked beans, chicken, salmon or as a glaze on meatloaf (it caramelizes beautifully). I also drizzle it on my barbecue chicken pizza, which I load with chicken, cilantro, pineapple, red onions and bacon. Now I’m drooling!

Barbecue sauce

Adapted from

⅔ cup ketchup

½ cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons hot paprika (Hungarian)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a small saucepan, mix all the ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, then cool slightly before using.

Audrey Alfaro can be reached at

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