It’s that time of year again. When everyone starts to grill their meats, when the sun sets later and when corn on the cob becomes the staple side dish. It’s been an unusually warm winter and an early spring, despite the temperatures dropping quite low at night lately (which has threatened crops that started to grow far too early when it was 80° degrees in March), it is indeed only a few weeks from the unofficial start of summer: Memorial Day.
I saw this recipe at The Black Peppercorn and I knew I’d have to make it myself. I’ve made Guinness cupcakes, Guinness jelly, even put Guinness in macaroni & cheese. Why not Guinness barbecue sauce? Beer & barbecues go together like… rama lama lama ke ding a de dinga a dong. Or peanut butter & jelly. I love me a good beer. Don’t you?
This was my first attempt at a barbecue sauce. I was a bit nervous, actually, but I think it all worked out just fine in the end.
GUINNESS BARBECUE SAUCE (adapted slightly from The Black Peppercorn)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 onions, minced (I used one very large white onion)
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup molasses
- 1 cup Guinness beer
- ½ cup white distilled 5% vinegar
- 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 “shakes” Tabasco sauce
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 18-oz. can tomato paste
- Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion, and garlic to the saucepan and saute until they are tender and beginning to caramelize, about 8 minutes.
- Add the molasses, beer, brown sugar, both vinegars, salt, pepper and cayenne . Bring to a boil. Let it cook with a low rolling boil for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the saucepan.
- Stir in the tomato paste & Tabasco and lower the heat. Let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool slightly. Puree, I did so right in the pot using an immersion blender.
- For shelf-stable sauce: pour into hot sterilized jars to within ½” from the top. Process in a waterbath for 20 minutes for pint jars, 15 for half-pints. Allow to cool overnight, then check the seals. As always, if the top pops up and down, the seal is damaged and you have to put it in your refrigerator and use right away. If you’re using the sauce immediately or don’t want to make it shelf-stable, you can pour into any container and either use right away or put it in the fridge.
There’s no end to the possibilities for this sauce. You can make it hotter, make it sweeter, do whatever you want. You could even totally alter it and use some Jack Daniel’s or Jameson, or a lighter beer. Play with it, tinker with it. Come up with your own sauce! And the best part? It doesn’t have to be a “canned” recipe. You can use it right away or put half in the fridge in a Tupperware. But if you do decide to jar it up, just know I got 5 half-pint jars and I would’ve had enough for a 4 oz. jar as well. And also know that in order to “can” it, the acidity has to be of a certain percent, so do your research before you tinker with it!
So how did it taste?
Right before I put it on the grill!
Delicious. I had it on a steak and it was just great. Not too sweet, not too tangy, not too overpowering. It’s a subtle taste, and you could taste the actual steak, not just the sauce like can happen with some sauces. And it actually mellowed more in the jar, after processing. Initially it was a bit tangier, after a day or two it was much mellower. I can’t wait to try it on chicken next. Actually, I can’t wait to try my hand at making more barbecue sauces & dipping sauces in the future. Thai hot & sweet dipping sauce, anyone!?