BeeI don’t usually do ingredient-centric recipes, but I wanted to share this one. In most parts of the country, BBQ season is still several freezing months away, but for those of us in the sunny Southwest, it continues year round. Don’t hate me because I’m warm!

I love to make a BBQ Sauce that always gets rave reviews. I prefer to dry rub my meats with a savory rub before putting them on the grill or smoker. I don’t daub the meats with sauce, but reduce it so that people can apply the sauce to their taste.

My sauce always has honey. I love honey and have several different varieties, including Buckwheat, Clover, Mesquite, Desert Wildflower, and more. I use it a lot in hot tea during cold months (especially since I’m now on a “diet”), on homemade biscuits, in hot cereal, and of course, in quite a few of my favorite recipes calling for sweetening.

Here is my recipe – it has changed little through the years. Oh yeah – I almost forgot; I don’t do exact measurements, so you’ll have to kind of wing it like I do. I don’t change the makeup of the ingredients, but sometimes if I’m a little low on some items, I’ll just adjust the others accordingly to taste. YMMV*

Irene’s Favorite BBQ Sauce

1 cup Ketchup (non-high fructose corn syrup or “corn sugar” – available reasonably at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or other stores that care about your health)
1 medium (15 oz, I think) can tomato sauce
3/4 cup (or so) dark Honey (there is a difference)
3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
Juice and zest from one large-ish lemon
5 (or so) cloves of garlic
1 medium to large Onion, rough chopped
4 tbs Soy Sauce (leave out if there are gluten issues, although some Vietnamese soy sauces don’t have wheat)
1/4 cup EVOO

1/4 tsp Cayenne (or to taste)
1 tbl Smoked Paprika
1 Bay Leaf
1 sm bunch Parsley
2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 (or so) tsp Powdered Sage
1/2 (or so) tsp Thyme – more if using fresh
2 tsp Dry Mustard
Salt to taste after cooking

1 or 2 of your favorite hot chili peppers


Pour can of tomato sauce into measuring cup. Put all ingredients except tomato sauce and chili peppers into a food processor bowl and process until liquid, pouring a little tomato sauce as needed to help with the process. When done, pour into a saucepan and put over medium heat. When it starts to bubble just a bit, reduce burner to simmer and let cook, covered for about 45 minutes. It is very important that it remains covered so that all of the flavors are melded and you don’t lose moisture.

After 45 minutes, remove cover and carefully increase the heat under the burner. Reduce by about a third, stirring frequently so that it won’t scorch. Taste, adjust seasonings, and ta da!

I used this recipe a lot for chicken and steak when my kids were growing up, and found that it also makes an excellent dip for vegetables. Increase the amount of chilies, and you have a pretty good BBQ Buffalo wing sauce as well.

While I think this is best over foods from the grill, try pouring it over a cut-up chicken and roasting for an hour. Delicious!

*Your Mileage May Vary


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