Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
Tip: Each of these sauces may be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week, or put them in the freezer.
It's the time of year to fall in love with a barbecue sauce. Any of these might become your signature sauce. Tinker with the spices if you like, and mix and match the meat, fish or poultry.
All sauces should be brushed on in the last 10 minutes of cooking: They are high in sugar and will scorch if applied too early.
CHERRY-COLA BARBECUE SAUCE
Cola is often used in Southern barbecue sauces: The sugars give the sauce a caramelized flavor.
1 (12-ounce) can cherry cola
3 / 4 cup ketchup
1 / 4 cup cherry preserves
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 / 4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Hot sauce to taste (start with 4 dashes)
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium high heat; reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until somewhat thickened, about 15 minutes. Taste and add hot sauce if desired. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 101 calories, 0 protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 429 mg sodium
KANSAS CITY-STYLE BARBECUE SAUCE
1 cup ketchup
1 / 4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 1 / 2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 / 8 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1. Combine the ketchup, sugar, molasses, vinegar, mustard, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, allspice and cayenne pepper in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar; immediately reduce heat to medium low and cover the pot.
2. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until slightly thickened. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 119 calories, 1 g protein, 29 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 526 mg sodium
SMOKEY HONEY-MUSTARD BARBECUE SAUCE
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 / 2 cup yellow mustard
1 / 4 cup ketchup
1 / 4 cup honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1 / 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1. Cook bacon in a deep skillet or saucepan. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan and return to medium high heat.
2. Add onion and cook 3 to 4 minutes until somewhat softened. Add mustard, ketchup, honey, sugar, chili powder and paprika; bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes until somewhat thickened. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 131 calories, 4 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 529 mg sodium