Betty's Best BBQ Sauce

Updated 6/13/2012 9:29 AM

3 cups ketchup

cup cider vinegar


cup pepper vinegar, liquid only (see note)

cup molasses, or more to taste

cup liquid smoke (preferably hickory)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Texas Pete hot sauce, or more to taste

Combine the ketchup, the vinegars, molasses, liquid smoke, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce in a large bowl. Use immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Makes a scant 5 cups.

To make pepper vinegar: Chop 6-8 fresh red or green cayenne peppers (no need to discard the seeds) for cup, and combine with 2 cups cider vinegar in a glass jar or other nonreactive container. Refrigerate for at least 1 week. You can refill with new vinegar 2 or 3 times.

Notes: This recipe won the Red Sauce category in The Washington Post 2012 barbecue sauce contest with its combination of sweet and heat. It goes well with just about any meat. To avoid burning, it should not be applied to meat until the final 10-15 minutes of grilling. In the oven, it can be applied for the final 30-45 minutes of cooking as long as the oven is no hotter than 350 degrees and the meat is covered; for hotter ovens or open pans, wait until the final 10-15 minutes.

Nutrition values per tablespoon: 15 calories, 0 fat, 4 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 0 protein, 0 cholesterol, 120 mg sodium.

Betty Newell, of Massanutten, Va., special to The Washington Post

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