The thing I love best about barbecue (besides good eating) is its powers of goodwill and friendship. When I was on book tour in St. Louis, a local barbecue team/restaurant called Super Smokers showed their support by bringing samples of their award-winning ’que to a television station where I was appearing. Super Smoker founders Terry Black and Skip Steele have become friends, and when they learned I was writing a sauce book, they rushed me the recipe for this St. Louis red sauce. “St. Louis has a large Italian community, so our sauces are sweet and mild,” explains Terry. “Ever-practical, St. Louisans like sauces you can make with ingredients you grab off the grocery store shelves,” adds Skip. So here’s a St. Louis-style sauce that’s long on character and short on preparation time (the honey, molasses, and liquid smoke are my own contributions to the recipe). It adds yet one more chapter in the story of American barbecue sauces.
Yield: Makes about 8 cups
4 cups ketchup
1 bottle (10 ounces) A.1. Steak Sauce
1 bottle (10 ounces) Heinz 57 Sauce
1½ cups apple Juice or apple cider
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup dark corn syrup
½ cup honey
¼ cup molasses
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine all the ingredients in a large, heavy, nonreactive saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue simmering, uncovered, until richly flavored, 5 minutes, stirring or whisking to prevent scorching. Use right away or transfer to jars, cover, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for several months.
St. Louisans like to serve this sauce with grilled pork steaks, but feel free to slather It on your favorite barbecue, whatever that may be.