Shooter’s BBQ Sauce

Ribs with Shooter's BBQ Sauce

Ribs with Shooter’s BBQ Sauce

The 4th of July is right around the corner and millions of Americans will celebrate the holiday in two ways:  Backyard BBQ’s and fireworks.

Growing up, the 4th of July was my favorite holiday, mainly because I ate good food and I got to blow things up.  Sure Christmas was nice with presents and all…but I never got to set off explosions.  It was the one day a year that I could play with  matches and get away with it.

When it came to fireworks, my family had it all.  I don’t know where they came from and I didn’t care.

I started out with sparklers, throw-snaps, and those “snakes” that would leave a black mark on the driveway.  Then I graduated to firecrackers, bottle rockets, and roman candles.  When I got older, I got the privilege of lighting the grand-daddy of all firecrackers, the M-80. Those were rare, and they even scared me a bit.

Of all the fireworks I set off, nothing was better than the tank.   It looked just like a tank, green camouflage “paint” and all.  It was equipped with a “gun” on the front that would shoot sparks of fire.  It even had wheels on the bottom and if it was set on a nice smooth surface, the tank would roll a few feet from the sparks coming out of the back, come to a stop and then the “show” would start.  It was awesome.  If you’ve never seen one in action, here’s a great video.

Firework tank

Tank in action

As far as the food on the 4th of July, my family did the basics: hamburgers, hot-dogs, potato salad, deviled-eggs, and usually some sort of pie or cake.  I loved everything about the 4th.

These days, my 4th isn’t nearly as explosive.  Especially this year since it falls in the middle of the week.

I have plans to spend the day with good friends (shamless plug for their website here).  It will be pot-luck, and it will be great.  I’m not sure what I’m making.  Perhaps I’ll throw together a pulled pork or make some ribs.  If I make either of those, it will need a sauce.  A tangy, lip-smacking, finger-licking, wet-nap using kind of sauce.

This sauce recipe is ideal for anything that calls for BBQ sauce. While I prefer things such as ribs with nothing more than a dry rub, I will use this from time to time — and almost always for my pulled pork.  I like to think of this sauce as hybrid between the vinegar based sauce (traditionally used in North Carolina) and a sweet sauce (typically found in Kansas City).   Its been a hit with anyone who’s tried it.  If you plan on making ribs, chicken or pulled pork at your next barbecue, skip the bottled-store brand and give this a try. ENJOY!

*By the way, the picture of the ribs isn’t meant to tease, but I didn’t think a picture of some sauce cooking would be the proper main image for this entry.  If you’re curious how to make ribs so that they’re just about fall off the bone good, I’ll be writing about it in the coming weeks.


Shooter's Sauce Ingredients

Shooter’s BBQ Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 cup of ketchup**
  • 1/3 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ancho (or other) chili powder

In a medium sized sauce pan, mix together all ingredients.

Bring to a boil.

When sauce begins to boil, set heat to low and simmer for approximately 1-hour, stirring occasionally, until sauce begins to thicken.  If the sauce doesn’t seem to be getting thick, you can add a few teaspoons of corn starch.  However, make sure the corn starch is completely dissolved before adding it to the sauce or the cornstarch will immediately turn to lumps.

When finished, use immediately by applying as much as you like to your cooked meat.  You could also let  it cool and store in a jar with a tight fitting lid in the fridge.  Should keep about a week or so.

** I use store brand ketchup for this recipe.  Normally Heinz ketchup is the only kind of ketchup that I’ll buy.  However, I found out through trial and error that Heinz actually over-powers the sauce and it winds up with too much of a ketchup taste.  Therefore I stick to store brand ketchup when making BBQ sauce.

Sauce Simmering away

Sauce simmering away

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