• This makes about two cups of sauce.
  • 1 tablespoon of oil or butter
  • 1 cup of onion, chopped fine
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon -- or more -- of Tabasco Sauce

Click on the red pepper to go to the Chile Pepper Institute


Sauté the onion in the butter or oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often, add more oil if needed. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and simmer on low for 30 to 40 minutes depending on how thick you like it. Stir occasionally. Taste and add more vinegar and hot pepper if you want to.


I found the original version of this recipe on the North Carolina Pork Council's web site. It's on a page of recipes for ribs and barbecue sauces. They call it the “All-American Barbecue Sauce for Ribs.” It was much too tart for my taste so I made some changes. I think the result is a good general sauce, not just for ribs — and it works as a marinade, too. For my Baby Back Ribs recipe click here.

After it is finished cooking, if you want a shiny, clearer sauce, gently strain it while it's still hot. You can shake and tap the strainer but don't press on the solids. What remains in the strainer is an onion marmalade that's great on burgers and sandwiches. The onion marmalade has a better texture if you cut the onions in long, thin shreds rather than chopping it.

For lots of information about chile peppers click on the big red pepper above and visit the Chile Pepper Institute in New Mexico.

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