Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mama's Southern-style Barbecue Sauce. Sweet!

Barbecue sauces across the United States are as varied and different as folks' accents.  In the Deep South of Mississippi we like ours sweet.  Here in Leakesville, there's none any sweeter or better than Mama's.

Mama can't remember where she got the recipe.  Her best recollection is of an old cookbook that was Grandma's.  Grandma didn't make this sauce, though, only Mama.  She's made it for as long as I can remember.  And I've made it for as long as The Fellows can remember.  It's a fambly tradition.

Here's what you need:
 Three medium or two large onions
Garlic to taste
Brown sugar
Worcestershire sauce

Finely dice the onions and put in a very large non-reactive pot.
I love lots of onions in this sauce.  This isn't a place for sweet onions either;
they'll cook to nothing without flavoring anything.
Use yellow or white onions.

Add garlic, finely minced or pressed, to the pot of onions.
I've had this Pampered Chef garlic press for a whiiiiile.
It doesn't have a readily affordable equal. 

Add three (yes three) cups firmly packed brown sugar.
 I really prefer dark brown sugar in barbecue sauce
but didn't have any on hand and wasn't going
to The Pig to purchase any.  Use what you have, right?

Add one half cup vinegar or pickle juice.
I usually have sweet pickle juice on hand just for barbecue sauce.
Not wanting to sacrifice any from a jar of pickles, red wine vinegar
was used instead.  Dill pickle juice is good here, too!

Add one half cup of Worcestershire sauce.
I'm not a brand name label consumer for most things.  There is,
however, only one Worcestershire sauce used in this house:
Lea & Perrins.  Others are too hot, too tart, too weak...
Pay the extra cents for the good stuff when it comes to
Worcestershire sauce.  It's worth it.

And most importantly:
Add a big can of catsup.
Is there any food can not shrinking while the price remains fixed?
This isn't a gallon of catsup at all!  Brand doesn't matter here. 

Stir it all in the big pot.

Place on low heat, stirring often to avoid sticking or scorching.

I don't know why the crock pot wasn't used tonight.
I guess with all the rain from Isaac and the beginnings of cabin fever,
it was good to be busy tending a pot.

Cook for almost two hours on low heat or until onions are fully cooked and sauce is almost standing-spoon thick.  It will continue to thicken some upon cooling.

Pour into jars or bowls or even leave it in the pot and let cool on the counter.


It'll be good in the refrigerator for upward of a month, maybe longer.  It doesn't last much past that around here;  not because it's spoiled, but because of getting used.

This isn't a sauce to have on the meat when  it's put on the grill.  The tomato base and brown sugar will burn in a heart beat!  When the meat is almost fully cooked, start basting with it, turning often to create layers of grilled sweetness right on the meat.  It's good for everything:  beef, pork, chicken, sausage, hot dogs, hamburgers, catfish.  Well, maybe not catfish...

Serve it on the side with brisket.  Use it for pulled pork.  You won't be disappointed.

Y'all enjoy!


  1. This sounds wonderful! Do you think it would still taste the same if I canned (PC) this?

    1. I've ladled it straight into sterile jars and canned it that way without any further processing. I don't know about pressure canning. Any time I do anything tomato based in the pressure canner the water always separates out. You can try it and see, although I promise, it won't last long ANY way you can it.

  2. Hurray for this recipe! My dear husband went up the block this evening. He came home to tell me he invited 40 (yes, FORTY) friends and neighbors to our house for a Labor Day party on Saturday, because the folks who have hosted the annual Labor Day event for many years are busy this year. Biggest issue...Saturday is salsa canning day...tomatoes and peppers pre-ordered from the Farmer's Market. Also an issue...the annual party has been on SUNDAY for years and years, 'cuz the Saturday of LD weekend has ALWAYS BEEN SALSA WEEKEND. I'll be mixing up BBQ sauce tomorrow evening, and some nice pork to go with it tomorrow night. Pulled pork for everyone on Saturday!!!

  3. You mentioned the crock pot, can this be made in a slow cooker? It's hard for me to be at the stove for very long (taking care of my 84 yr Mom) if so, how long in the crockpot? Love this recipe, I think it is the one or similar to my Aunt's. She passed and all her good recipes with her.. she had dementia and she used her books as fire starter in the fireplace.

    1. Yes ma'am, it can absolutely be cooked in the crock pot. I like to set it on low for six to eight hours. You'll still need to come by and stir it every now and again (or maybe I need a new crockpot {there's a ring around the middle that stuff sticks to}). You can also scale everything back a bit so so much of it isn't made at one whack. The onion and garlic, Worcestershire, and brown sugar flavors are important; adjust accordingly.

  4. Hello, new follower here and I’d like to invite you to join me at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop:

    I hope you can make it!


    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick