Spicy-Sweet Barbecue Sauce

Have you ever thought to yourself 'boy, I would like some barbecue sauce, but I wish it was spicy?' No? Then you're not thinking broadly enough.

During an ill-fated attempt at being a vegetarian when I was a teenager, I never really missed meat very much, but whenever I did, I'd just eat some veggies (usually in the form of french fries) smothered in barbecue sauce. It satisfied my cravings for something meat-like and was as close as I could get to the flavour I wanted without breaking my quest for meatlessness.

Anyway, I became quite adept during those years at modifying barbecue sauces and bottles of A-1 to taste the way I wanted them to, and then I'd dump the sauce over my black-bean burgers and imagine I was being healthy. (This was before I knew much about food. Or nutrition. Or cooking. Or... anything, really.) But one of the flavours I like best in barbecue sauce is the spiciness, and it's kind of hard to find in a bottled sauce. NO MORE, though, friends! This barbecue sauce is the perfect blend of sweet, spicy, and smoky, without being too much of any single flavour.

And even if you, like me, live in a place where chili sauce is not available, you can still make this. Thanks to my awesome mother-in-law, who sent me a photo of the ingredient label from a bottle of chili sauce, I was able to come up with a vague approximation made with ingredients even I could get. You can tweak this to be as hot or mild as you want, but I recommend making it as explained below-- it's the perfect summer meal for those long evenings where it doesn't get dark until midnight and you just want to sit on the porch with your friends...

Unless you live in Scotland, where a sudden cold snap has taken the temperature back down into the 15C/60F range. Oh well, I built up my heat threshold as a kid in Florida, so I guess it's about time I lived somewhere cold.

The verdict:

4 spoons out of five. This barbecue sauce is awesome, but I'm taking off a spoon because it's not intended to be smooth. If you have an immersion blender and can be bothered to do so, I highly recommend blending this until thick and smooth.

The recipe:

Spicy-Sweet Barbecue Sauce

the directions:

Heat oil over medium heat in small pan.
Add onion and saute until tender.
Stir in sriracha, brown sauce or A-1, ketchup, water, corn syrup, vinegar, and worcestershire sauce.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
Let mixture reduce until thick and sticky.
Use on chicken, beef, or pork, brushing on frequently during last stage of cooking.
Serve additional sauce on the side.

Makes 1 ½ cups.

the ingredients:

2 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ c onion, minced or grated as finely as you can
¼ c sriracha
¼ c brown sauce or A-1
½ c ketchup
1/3 c water (or to taste)
¼ c dark corn syrup or black treacle
¼ c vinegar
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce