Memphis Barbecue Sauce – A Wonderful Thing

Memphis Barbecue Sauce from 101 Cooking For Two
WOW. Wonderful. Our first 10 on the rating scale. While I have sworn for years that I wouldn’t abandon my Gates Kansas City BBQ Sauce, it has been displaced. This would even be good on cardboard, I swear.

Last week we were in Ann Arbor and went a local institution, Zimmerman’s Road House. The pork was great but the sauce even better. I had the Memphis barbecue  sauce that I believe is called “Red Rage”- their own sauce. It was sweet and tomatoie and spicy all at once. They don’t sell it by the bottle although they will sell you a small container. So to try to recreate that taste, I need properly done pork. That is why the earlier post on the Pulled Pork.

There seem to be two general variations on the internet of “Memphis BBQ Sauce” repeated in many places with some variability. The first one that had a lot of butter, some chili sauce (that I didn’t have) and some lemon juice among many other things. It just didn’t seem right for what I was looking for. The second seem right on. I saw a variation at Savory Reviews  and combined with one from Fine Cooking which had somewhat different amount of spices but I increased the garlic and eliminated the oil.

Rate: 10; our first ( my wife agrees) It may not be Red Rage but it’s close to my memory of that wonderful sauce. Maybe better. What more is there to say?

Notes: I’m specifying Heinz or Hunts Ketchup. I believe you get what you pay for in ketchup. Any other than Hunts or Heinz will never come into my house. Mustard taste is heavy at 1/2 c. Cut it down to your taste…. I go for 3/8 cup.

Tools: Non-reactive sauce pan preferably with a class lid.

Ingredients:

1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
2 T chili powder
1 T black pepper
1 T onion powder
1 T garlic powder
2 t celery salt
1/4 to 1/2 t of cayenne pepper
2 cups Heinz or Hunts Ketchup
1/4-1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
3 T Worcestershire sauce
2 t liquid smoke

Instructions:
Memphis Barbecue Sauce ingredients

1) Combine all ingredients in sauce pan.

combine all ingredients in a nonreactive pan

2) Place over medium high heat, stirring aggressively until starting to boil being careful to avoid splatter. This stuff is thick and will burn you.
3) Reduce heat to low and cover with glass lid so you can see the action.
4) Occasionally remove from heat and stir well.
5) Simmer for about 30 minutes.

Notes: Spoon some into small freezer bags and it should be good for at least several months frozen.

Memphis Barbecue Sauce – A Wonderful Thing
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
WOW. Wonderful. This would even be good on cardboard, I swear. Our first 10 on the rating scale.
Author:
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Serves: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • ½ c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 2 t celery salt
  • ¼ to ½ t cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups Heinz or Hunts Ketchup
  • ¼-1/2 cup yellow mustard
  • ¼ c apple cider vinegar
  • 3 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 t liquid smoke
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in sauce pan.
  2. Place over medium high heat, stirring aggressively until starting to boil being careful to avoid splatter. This stuff is thick and will burn you.
  3. Reduce heat to low and cover with glass lid so you can see the action
  4. Occasionally remove from heat and stir well.
  5. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
Notes
Spoon some into small freezer bags and it should be good for at least several months frozen.

Last Updated
September 10 2014

Comments

  1. islandeat says

    I definitely will try this promising recipe soon. Thanks for all your efforts to replicate this tempting BBQ sauce.

    While I’ve not eaten there for two decades or so, I always liked Zingerman’s food!

  2. says

    I’m not a food safety expert but with all of that vinegar in there, that sauce should hold very well in the fridge or freezer.

    I haven’t tried a Memphis sauce even though I’m in Tennessee. I might have to give this one a try soon. Wonder how it goes on ribs.

  3. says

    I truly think it is a 1-2 week in the frig and 6 months in a freeze but I have not nor will I be testing so I’m always conservative and I’m sure I toss things that are still ok. I’m going to freeze some later this week after the pork is gone.
    The 1/4 t of cayenne is the most my wife will tolerate but it was good for me. You should probably got to 1/2 teaspoon plus some.

  4. says

    DrDan,

    You rocked it with this one!

    While some of my neighbors might not like it, I’m in Texas, You’ve recreated the sweet tangy flavors of Memphis BBQ!

    Only thing I changed was I added about a 1/4 cup of brisket juice I always have on hand.
    5 stars too ya’
    Zaak

  5. says

    My guests all raved over this and were just about drinking the extra that I placed on the table! I used it on chicken drums and boneless ribs. Great on both, thanks!! (I cut the mustard to a 1/4 cup. I also had no celery salt, so I used a small amount of celery seed and 2 tsp. of regular salt.)

  6. Mitchell Tuckness says

    Hi, I am sorry, but is there a difference between the little t’s and the large T’s? Do the large T’s mean Tablespoons and the little t’s mean Teaspoons?

    Wanted to make sure before I made this. Thank you.

    • says

      T=tablespoon t=teaspoon c=cup
      This is one of the older posts… Newer posts have it spelled out and it’s in FAQ but not obvious.
      You picked a great one to try.
      DrDan

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