Some say the best BBQ sauce is vinegar-based. Many insist on a thick sauce built on a tomato base. Others believe any BBQ sauce true to its roots needs to be driven by dry mustard.
My Highway 61 BBQ sauce draws on all three traditions. Inspired by the chefs of New Orleans, particularly my friend, the incomparable Charlie Sims, this sauce is best on pork ribs.
If you are a devotee of BBQ sauces, you will find many familiar ingredients in this recipe. But I suspect some of what’s in my Highway 61 BBQ Sauce may surprise you.
Highway 61 BBQ Sauce
1 6-Ounce Can Tomato Paste
1 8-Ounce Can Tomato Sauce
¼ Minced Onion
3 Cloves Crushed Garlic
1 Teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 Teaspoon Angostura Aromatic Bitters
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Cinammon
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Cayenne
One note on the preparation of this sauce recipe. Many BBQ chefs like to warm the olive oil and throw in the minced onion before adding the remaining ingredients. I suppose that’s fine, but the Highway 61 BBQ Sauce is inspired by roadhouse cooks with limited resources. When the hell hound is on your trail, you want to be free to move.
So I just throw it all in and let it simmer for a while over low heat. This way seems to provide the best sauce because you wind up with the minced onions playing their proper role.