Bar-B-Que Sauce

Thank You, Daddy Bruce!

The fashion currently is to get all tricky and fancy with food. There's a place, sure enough, for that. But things do have their own taste and Cooky Cat likes to bring out the native essence in whatever he's cooking up. Besides, if you slavishly follow the trendy recipes, they'll have you shagging your butt all over town to hunt down Lord knows what you have to have for that dish. We once got a hefty parking ticket for just waiting outside Zabar's* on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, double parked with the car running and driver behind the wheel, while our partner scurried inside for some smoked paprika. That is some expensive spice!

*[You know what Zabar's is, don't you? It's what people on the Upper West Side of Manhattan think is a delicatessen.]

So, mostly we say, K-I-S-S. Keep It Simple Stupid! You don't want to find yourself with a S.N.A.F.U. or you will be F.U.B.A.R. Go get the definitions yourself. But, if you're a little prissy pussycat, maybe don't.

Here is a recipe for Bar-B-Que Sauce that is simplicity itself. And the best in the world, thank you very much!

Daddy Bruce Hisself — of the eponymous Daddy Bruce's Bar-B-Que, right around the corner from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado — reveals the secret to his Bar-B-Que Sauce in the video that follows this recipe.

We have gotten down on a Mess O' Ribs at Daddy Bruce's shack several times on trips to Boulder. As is typical of such places, the decor is not all that. But the food is. And, there's a piano! The vibe is good, real good. All God's children welcome. You too, sinner that you are.

We have passed the hint on to Cooky Cat and he came back with the balls-out-best-ever-you-won’t-believe-your-taste-buds-and-your-eyes-will-pop-outta-yo-head Bar-B-Que Sauce. He also likes his Sauce “tangy” like Daddy Bruce says. If you like the sweet, please feel free to look elsewhere. Or, just add more Sugar.

The Bar-B-Que Sauce holy trinity per Mr. Bruce:

1. Catsup (Cooky Cat is “high” [as in, "up" — but, naturally, mind you] on that usage for the #1 USA original, dining table essential. Now available without high-fructose corn syrup. Look for it: Heinz 100% Natural.)

2. Sugar

3. Vinegar

Also, per Bruce, adjust the amount to your taste. That’s all’s you do, folks.

But Cooky Cat likes to read labels. And he thinks that home made everything is usually a best bet. So instead of using store bought catsup, do this: (It's OK to buy the vinegar and sweetener from a store. Only Martha Stewart would do those from scratch—we're impressed—NOT.)

½ medium Onion sliced and sauté until well browned with a small amount of good neutral flavored oil. (Small amount of oil to sauté to caramelize, more and the onions “boil” and never brown.)
2T Tomato paste browned into the onions
Remove from heat and liquefy along with:
1Cup Tomato puree
Transfer to sauce pan and add:
¼ Cup Light Brown Sugar
¼ Cup apple Cider Vinegar
3 Bold Dashes Hot Sauce (Tabasco, Franks, Crystal, or what you got)
1/8 tsp. Salt
Cook over medium heat until flavors are blended. Reduce (if you want) to consistency of your desiring.


Some further thoughts. The trinity items listed previously are basic, and fast. Go there first.

We customized the recipe to add fresh onion, browned/caramelized for depth of flavor. (We still don’t know from Onion Powder — is that somehow better in some instances? Same with Garlic Powder? Somebody, please enlighten us on that!) As for what kind of onion to use? Use the one you got. For our money, when they get to browning, they's pretty much all the same. (Please, no reader outcry email avalanche like in the other recipe, we won't mention which.)

As for the sugar, we brought in a hint of molasses with the light brown sugar. Try dark, or other types of raw sugars. If you want to explore, get some Jaggery from the corner Indian store (just look at the proprietor and say in a deep growl, “Gurrr”; they'll know what you are talking about) or some Mexican Piloncillo. There is a world of sweet out there. (Quick, how many different kinds of sugars do you have on hand right now?)

Last, the Vinegar. Cider Vinegar seems to be de rigueur. But, now, what brand to use? Try Bragg USDA Organic Apple Cider VinegarUsing that wonderful product will offset the sinful use of sugar and give you “bragging” rights when everyone asks for the recipe. (You could, like our friend Ms. Martha Stewart, send over for some French Normandy Apple Cider Vinegar. But, that’s her. And, besides... French for Bar BQ? If you do go that route, please don’t fly the flag at your next outdoor Bar BQ party. Also, Cooky Cat had his heart broken to bits by a coquettish French Chartreux hussy, and French anything is still just too tender for him to deal with. He’s just now getting back to Dijon Moutarde.)

That's all folks!

Thank, you, Daddy Bruce! Thank you, Jesus!