Monday, March 24, 2008

Larry's Markets Smoky Cattle Country BBQ Sauce

I miss Larry's Markets, a small chain of upscale groceries in the Seattle area. They went out of business a few years ago, and with them went their most excellent BBQ sauce. They had their own recipe for a sweet, mild sauce that caramelizes nicely on the grill or in the oven, custom manufactured and bottled for them by Green Garden Foods. I've done some sleuthing and some experimentation, and I've come up with a recipe that matches my fading memory of Larry's sauce better than any bottled sauce I've tried, and I've tried a bunch. The only reference points I had were the ingredients and nutrition facts on an empty bottle. Only the food chemists at Green Garden Foods know the real recipe, but I bet they couldn't say, especially since their outfit just got bought by some company in Idaho. It's pretty good sauce, though it may not be exactly the same as Larry's. I didn't have any Modified Food Starch, Potassium Sorbate, or Sodium Benzoate in my pantry, so I left those out. I doubt you'll notice.

1 C water
1 C sugar
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/8 C white vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp liquid hickory smoke concentrate
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the oil and spices and let sizzle for a moment to bring out the flavors. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about an hour until reduced to the right consistency and flavors have melded, turning the sauce a deep reddish-brown. Store in a closed container in the refrigerator.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of sauce.

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