Saturday, June 17, 2006

Balsamic Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce is a great condiment to have around, especially during summer when the grill gets a lot of use. You can put it on just about anything and, somehow, it manages to always taste great. My current favorite way to have it is to add it to a salad instead of dressing.
While I love barbecue sauce, sometimes they tend to be a little on the sweet side. I think that a sweet sauce is great for dishes like ribs, but sometimes I want a little more zing. When I set out to look for a sauce recipe on this occasion (which happened to be yesterday), I decided that balsamic vinegar was the ingredient I wanted to highlight.
WhileI have added a bit of vinegar to sauces before, I can't recall putting it into a starring role. So originally, I thought that I might make some sort of reduction sauce for this chicken to add balsamic vinegar to the dish. Fortunately, I came across a recipe for balsamic barbecue sauce on the Sunset magazine website and, after reading it, knew that it was exactly what I had in mind.
The sauce was fairly thick and very smooth. It had a complex, rich taste and a definite tang from the balamic vinegar. There was a small kick of spice, from the Worcestershire and the dry mustard. I opted to use dried, powdered garlic instead of a fresh clove to ensure that I would have a smooth texture in the final product.

Balsamic Barbecue Sauce
(from Sunset Magazine)
1 cup ketchup
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove minced garlic)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and whisk to combine. Bring almost to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until sauce is reduced by about 1/3. It's not crucial to be exact about the reduction.

Serve warm, at room temperature or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.