Sweet Hot Root Beer BBQ Sauce

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.

Quick Marinara Sauce for Meatball Subs (and dipping)

I love the recipe I have for meatballs and marinara sauce. Sometimes, though, I just don’t want to wait to make my own and/or spend time simmering the sauce. Faster doesn’t mean a jarred sauce with lots of added salt and sugar, though.

I have a pretty easy marinara cheat I make with a can of tomato sauce. This sauce is also great for dipping breadsticks, pizza crusts, mozzarella sticks, etc. It comes together in no time at all and freezes beautifully, too.

Keeping extra meatballs around is just good housekeeping, in my opinion. They’re good for appetizers, with pasta and, of course, for making meatball subs. While I usually make double the meatballs to freeze some, you can find frozen Italian style meatballs at most grocery stores.

To make the meatball sub – While I make the sauce (recipe below), I pull out 3 or 4 meatballs from the freezer. I heat them through in the microwave and then slice them in half. I take slices of provolone cheese and place them on both sides of the hoagie roll and place under the broiler. When the cheese is bubbling, I pull the bread out, dunk the meatball slices in the sauce and then place them on the rolls to cover and pour over more of the sauce.

So quick! So easy! So delicious!

Quick Marinara Sauce for dipping and subs

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoons dried oregano leaves
½ teaspoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Pinch each of salt, pepper and sugar

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes or until oil is shimmering. Add tomato sauce and seasonings. Stir sauce, bring to a bubble and simmer 5 minutes over low heat. Taste for seasoning and add more, if necessary. Serve.

Lemon Sauce for Chicken

Lunch was leftover schnitzel. I’m treating it more like chicken piccata so I needed a lemon sauce to go over it. I didn’t want something harshly lemon but a more rounded sauce with the addition of garlic and milk that wouldn’t take a lot of time to make.

Had I been cooking the chicken, the flour that would have fallen off during browning would have been enough to thicken the sauce. As I’m just warming the chicken up, I needed to make a slurry of cornstarch and chicken broth as my thickener.

You can make the sauce richer by adding cream instead of milk.

This is light but rich sauce with good lemon flavor.

Lemon Sauce

2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
Juice and zest of one lemon (about 3 tablespoons juice)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk or cream
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add garlic and sauté just until fragrant and slightly golden.

Pour in 1 1/4 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil, while scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Allow broth to simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together remaining chicken broth with cornstarch to form a slurry, then pour mixture into broth in skillet along with lemon juice and zest. Allow to simmer about 5 minutes until it has thickened slightly then remove from heat.

Stir in butter and pour in milk or cream. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Spoon sauce over chicken. Serve warm.