Ketchup-Based Homemade BBQ Sauce (on Smoked Beef Brisket)

I’ve made my own BBQ sauce before, but it has typically been ketchup-free. I would cook a gallon of cider vinegar and a bunch of other stuff down to a thick, peppery, tangy maroon liquid. It’s pretty spectacular if made correctly.With the extra brisket from the recent birthday party BBQ thawed and smoking, I decided to try my hand at a homemade ketchup-based sauce.

Brisket on the smoker... rub nearly dissolved

I made a quick rub for the brisket: 1 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup paprika, a few tablespoons each of cayenne pepper, italian seasoning, garlic salt, Lawry’s seasoning, coarse black pepper. I also carved the fat off of the brisket with a sharp knife to permit the smoke to permiate the meat from all sides. This will enhance the flavor and tenderness. I actually found a wide variety of smoking wood at the local farmers’ market. Today I am using a mixture of peach tree wood and hickory. It’s cut into slices instead of just chunks. Pretty neat. 

On to the sauce: in a medium to small saucepan on the stove, I combined 1 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, about 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce, a nice squeeze of honey, a few tablespoons each of onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper. I resisted the temptations to add mustard or molasses, and I’ve heard some people will melt a stick of butter into the sauce. Maybe another time. Everything was mixed in the pan with a silicone spatula and allowed to simmer for a while.

Simmering sauce

Once it’s done and the brisket hits about the 4 hour mark, I will coat the meat with the sauce to finish on the smoker.

Now would be a good time to crack a craft mix pack. How about something from New Belgium? Sounds good to me!

Follow my folly? No problem!

At the two hour mark, the brisket is cooking well and the smoker is holding steady at just short of 200 degrees and the brisket has an internal temperature of 150 degrees. I added more coals and wood, and I won’t be back for a while.

It’s starting to drizzle here… If I can cook in snow, I can cook in some light rain.

Did I mention that it’s Selection Sunday?

Ranger IPA and the ACC title game? Nice.

I hope you spent it in a similar fashion.

After about 4 hours, I gave each side a thorough brushing with the homemade BBQ sauce. This was repeated a few times in the next couple hours, flipping the brisket a few times.

Let's get sauced

After all of the brushing, smoking, and cooking, I pulled it after six hours or so. I did not take the tenderizing step of making a foil boat and steaming the brisket with some juice. I probably should have, as the brisket turned out a little less tender than I liked.

Beef!

In the end, the brisket was still delicious. We cut off the burnt ends and everyone went for those first – at least my family is getting discriminating meat tastes.

The BBQ sauce provided a spicy / sweet flavor and gave the burnt exterior a sticky finish. The sauce absorbed the smoke flavors well. Tomorrow I will make a few sandwiches for lunch as leftovers.

Hope you all had as nice a meal as this tonight

We grilled some broccoli, put some zucchini in the oven, and made a fruit salad. It was a great meal. Anytime the kids eat a ton, we did a good job.

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