Some folks go crazy for this stuff; and I have to admit that it is my favorite (no prejudice). I’ve been making this sauce since the 1970’s without really having an actual recipe – the original having long since gone to that great recycling bin in the sky; but I hadn’t made it for several years, so when I decided it would make a nice Holiday Gift, I gritted my teeth and actually kept notes on what I was doing (!). That batch was good – THIS batch I made on Saturday is BETTER. The initial hint of cumin when it hits your tongue is enough to make you notice that one spice, but then it fades into a slightly sweet-slightly hot pleasantness that I think begs to be served with just about anything from the grill. Because of the thickness and brown sugar, this is a sauce to add in the last stages of grilling – or, do as my friend Leslie does and just use the sauce as a sammich spread (not my thing – but different strokes…).
There are no exotic ingredients or tricky maneuvers; the only thing to keep in mind is that you should use a really tall, heavy pot, because this sucker will spatter; and the sugar and tomato stuff can burn on the bottom of a lighter pan. I used my 3 quart Circulon stock pot and still found spatters of sauce beyond the spice rack. In retrospect, the white shirt was also not a great idea.
So, are we good to go? You should plan on at least two hours to cook this over moderate heat. Once you mix the ingredients and start cooking, the smell from the pot should be, shall we say, assertive; but the aroma and taste will mellow as the mixture cooks and thickens and darkens from ketchup red to a deep, rich brownish-red. You’ll need to keep an eye on it and stir it every so often, scraping down the sides to mix that goodness back into the whole. You’ll get about seven pints of sauce, which I chose to process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath so that the individual containers are shelf stable for gift-giving. If home canning isn’t for you, just find a container big enough (and refrigerator space), and you’re probably good for a while. Even after opening a jar, I’ve not had it go bad.
Of course, the (maybe) easier route is simply to get on our gift list…
•1 #10 can (7 1/4 cups) ketchup – you can get this at a warehouse club, or, some markets have bulk sections
•3 cups brown sugar – I used what was open – about half and half light and dark
•2 cups vinegar – traditionally, I use cider vinegar. This time, I did 1 cup cider and 1 cup Balsamic, and am quite pleased with the results
•2 tbsp Colman’s dry mustard
•1 tbsp cayenne
•1-1/2 tsp cumin
•1-1/2 tsp paprika
•6 tbsp lemon juice (1 lemon) approx. 1/4 cup
•3 tbsp Worcestershire – 1/4 cup
•1 tbsp garlic powder
•1 tbsp crushed rep pepper
I got approximately 7 pints (that last jar was a wee bit scant)
Add all ingredients into your tall, heavy pot and cook over moderate heat for approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours. You’ll need to be around to stir and scrape down the sides every few minutes, and to evaluate how far along the sauce is. Cook it ‘til it’s done (don’t you love instructions like this?); then put into mason jars and process for 35 minutes in a boiling water bath (consult your Ball Blue Book – I processed mine for years for just 10 minutes without a problem, but better safe than sorry); OR – transfer to a container(s) and refrigerate.
You may begin grilling…