Basic Barbecue Sauce

Makes About 2 cups
Time: 20 minutes

One of my standard barbecue sauces, which simply builds more flavor into ketchup. If you want to baste with this sauce when grilling or roasting, add it toward the end of the cooking to prevent burning. If you want to add some heat, use more chili powder or add some cayenne, or Tabasco or other hot sauce.

2 cups ketchup

1/2 cup dry red wine or water

1/4 cup wine vinegar or rice vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce

1 tablespoon chili powder, or to taste

1 tablespoon minced onion

1 clove garlic, minced or crushed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine all the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have a chance to blend, about 10 minutes.

2. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Use immediately or cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to a week.

Curry Barbecue Sauce.

More fragrant: Add a teaspoon or more of curry powder along with the other ingredients.

Horseradish Barbecue Sauce.

Add up to 1/4 cup freshly grated horseradish or up to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish to taste. Add it up front for a milder kickor at the end for a big kick. Mustardy Barbecue Sauce. Reduce the vinegar to 2 tablespoons. Add 1/4 cup Dijon or stone-ground mustard.

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce.

Serious heat: In a small bowl, use a fork to mash 1 or 2 canned and minced chipotle chiles along with some of their adobo sauce into a paste. Add to the sauce with the rest of the ingredients.

Bourbon Barbecue Sauce.

There's some woody complexity in this one: Instead of wine, use 1/2 cup bourbon.

Beer Barbecue Sauce.

More down-home: Instead of wine, use 1/2 cup beer (the darker the better-use stout or porter if you can).

Light Barbecue Sauce.

A tad more elegant: Replace 1 cup of the ketchup with vegetable stock.

Asian Barbecue Sauce.

Replace 1 cup of the ketchup with 1 cup hoisin sauce. Use plum wine instead of the red wine if you like and use rice vinegar and soy sauce. Add 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger and 1 tablespoon Chinese mustard if you like.