I’ve got a cookout scheduled for Monday and wanted to get my BBQ sauce game on ahead of time. I made a batch of my Sweet Hot Root Beer BBQ Sauce using Abita Root Beer. I prefer Abita for the flavor but also because they use cane sugar instead of corn syrup. If you don’t have Abita where you live, look for a root beer made from cane sugar.
I also used Penzy’s Black and Red spice. It is a mix of black pepper and cayenne pepper. If you don’t have it, use 1 teaspoon black pepper and up to 1 teaspoon cayenne, depending on how much heat you want. The heat will mellow during the long simmer, so do your taste testing then before deciding on more cayenne.
Like any good Southern gal, I keep my BBQ sauce in a mason jar. It doesn’t stain like plastic can and is easy to pour out what you need. The rich, sweet heat of this sauce goes well on most all kinds of meat. I’ll be serving it with beef brisket but it is terrific on ribs, too.
Sweet Hot Root Beer BBQ Sauce
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons tomato paste
One 12-ounce bottle Abita Root Beer
½ cup cider vinegar
⅓ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons Penzys Black and Red Spice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Sauté the onion until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add in the garlic and continue to cook for 5 minutes more. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer over medium low heat for about 15 minutes, until the flavors have blended. Drop heat to low and continue cooking until the sauce thickens, 20 to 30 minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and more pepper if desired.
Let the sauce cool for about 10 minutes or so. Puree in a blender to smooth. Let cool completely before using – I think it tastes better the next day anyway. The sauce will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.