Homemade barbecue sauce has been high atop my list of culinary creations to master. But it took a little nudging from a roadside eatery in Los Angeles to inspire a 20-minute version starring a sweet and tangy blend of root beer, brown sugar and garlic.
While Coca-Cola is the classic option for carbonated beverage-based barbecue sauces, root beer adds an extra element of rich flavor. And the result is a quick-simmered sauce perfect for dipping, slathering or dousing all barbecue-friendly items, from pulled pork and chicken tenders to burgers and even pizza.
Aside from taste, there are strong preferences when it comes to barbecue sauce consistency. Are you Team Thin and Syrupy? Or Team Thick and Saucy? Regardless of your allegiance, I’ve got you covered with simple techniques for both. So grab the root beer and ditch the store-bought sauce in favor of this DIY finger-lickin’ favorite.
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- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup root beer
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)
- Add the olive oil to a medium heavy-bottomed saucepot set over medium-low heat, then add the minced garlic and sauté, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes until golden brown.
- Stir in the root beer, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce it to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes until the sauce has reduced by 1/4. Continue with the directions below for two sauce consistency options.
For a thinner sauce:
- Remove the sauce from the heat, stir in the salt and pepper, and serve.
For a thicker sauce:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce, bring it to a boil again then simmer it for 2 to 3 additional minutes until the sauce has thickened. Remove the sauce from the heat, stir in the salt and pepper, and serve.
- This barbecue sauce recipe pairs perfectly with pulled pork, chicken, ribs, burgers and barbecue chicken pizza.
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