Onion Barbecue Sauce

For condiment month, I really wanted to make a barbecue sauce. I’ve tried a handful out here on the west coast, but nothing I’ve loved. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve had a favorite in years, except for the family secret sauce of my old neighbor. And since he isn’t giving it up, I was thinking maybe I don’t need one favorite. Maybe I need that six pack of possibilities you get at a BBQ restaurant. This is one of that six pack.

I’d set out to make a mustard-y sauce, though I ended up at a different destination. That’s how sauce works! I made a crock pot of caramelized onions (if you like onions and you’re not doing this, you really should!), and before I could freeze the extras, I realized that they would be an excellent base for a sauce. We used this on pulled pork (also done in the crockpot) and it was an excellent match. I think this sauce would also be good on chicken, though I haven’t yet tried it. I would personally want a more tomato-based and acidic sauce for beef.

Basically you puree this sauce and then thin it down to your desired consistency. My onions had only olive oil and salt in them. I did use prepared mustard and ketchup — Maille Dijon is my go-to mustard (mainly because I visited one of their stores in Paris in 2010, where they have mustard on tap and it was amazing. I find mine at most grocery stores, both here in Seattle and back in New Hampshire.) For ketchup, we just buy one of the organic lines that uses sugar rather than corn syrup. If corn is one of your allergens, likely you haven’t found safe ketchup or mustard, but you likely have learned to make them. As with all recipes, make sure your ingredients are safe-for-you.

The only other interesting ingredient in here is the michiu, a Chinese cooking wine that’s close to 20% alcohol, but more importantly, about 15% salt. You can replace this with any rice wine, or even a rice vinegar, but then taste it and add salt to your taste. This is the primary salt in of this sauce.

Jam jar of onion bbq sauce with a dollop of sauce on a cabbage leaf anchored by a whole yellow onion.
Onion Barbecue Sauce
Onion Barbecue Sauce
Print Recipe
Prep Time
10 minutes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Onion Barbecue Sauce
Print Recipe
Prep Time
10 minutes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup caramelized onions
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar make sure this is gluten-free if that's important for you
  • 2 Tablespoons michiu
  • 2 Tablespoons mustard Dijon preferred
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Puree onions and mix all ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth. Taste, and add more broth if you want a thinner sauce. Adjust salt and chili powder if needed.
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