Eric's BBQ sauce

Posted on Sun 22 March 2020 in Food

Quite a long time ago, I posted my recipe for smokey BBQ-baked beans. It's still one of the only recipes I've seen which starts with dry beans, and includes slow-cooking in a smoker. Most of the recipes I've found are either for oven baking, or start with a literal can of baked beans (wtf).

Well I'm making baked beans again for the first time in ages, and I've taken the time to write down my tweaks. This is primarily around my BBQ sauce, hence the title of this post!

Just a few general reminders about baked beans, and then we'll get into it:

  1. Soak your beans the night before
  2. Make a barbecue sauce
  3. Simmer your beans for a bit in a normal pot
  4. Add your aromatics and BBQ sauce after the beans are simmering
  5. Cook your beans for a few hours until noms

The BBQ Sauce recipe

OK here's the sauce:

  • 350ml tomato sauce / ketchup / catsup. I used Watties, which is a fairly sweet ketchup with quite low acid
  • 200ml brown sugar - the darker the better. You could substitute in some molasses into white sugar if you need
  • 100ml apple cider vinegar
  • 80ml Worchestershire sauce

That's your base sauce. Put them all together in a pot, and bring to a slow simmer while stirring until it's all mixed and smooth.

At this point, you want to start tasting and tweaking it to your tastes. Work out your preferred balance between the zest of the apple cider vinegar, the sweetness of the sugar, and the meaty richness of the Worchestershire sauce.

Once you've got your balance nailed, expand into the flavours:

  • 1Tbsp paprika
  • 1Tbsp English mustard
  • 3 drops liquid smoke
  • 1tsp of adobo sauce, if you can find it
  • alternatively, some cayenne or chilli powder

Be careful about your mixing method - take a quarter cup or so of your simmering sauce out, put your tablespoon of paprika into that, mix it up, and then add it to your pot. Otherwise you'll get chunks of powder that are a pain to mix in.

Adobo sauce is pretty ... interesting. It turns out, if you have a tin of chipotle peppers, they're almost certainly bathing in adobo sauce. It's also pretty spicy, so you really don't use much, but it adds a whole lot of flavour that is beyond just heat. A teaspoon should be a pretty good starting point though, and you can ramp up from there as needed - it does lose a lot of it's heat while it simmers.

A can of chipotle peppers, opened to show them soaking in rich red-brown adobo sauce
Adobo sauce's natural habitat is pretty much a can.