I’d like to send out a Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there – especially my dad Robert Levy! Now, most of you that follow me and my blog know that my dad is an awesome cook and I steal (lol) many of his recipes for my website, so why would today be any different? If there’s one genre of cooking that my dad excels at above all others, it’s barbecuing; the Weber Barbecue website even featured him at one point as a master griller. Seriously folks, his barbecuing prowess is no joke!
The secret to his grilling success is his barbecue sauce, and since we’ve lived overseas, I can tell you that it is literally world famous. My dad grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and while not traditionally known as one of the major hubs of barbecue like Memphis or Texas, St. Louis is the home of the infamous St. Louis style spare rib and is the city that consumes more barbecue sauce per capita than any other city in the nation. He developed his sauce recipe from the memories and flavors he experienced and tasted at many of the historical St. Louis BBQ restaurants of the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s, like Ed’s White Front and Vic’s. His sauce has a spicy, smoky and tangy flavor with a slightly sweet edge like no other barbecue sauce I have ever tasted. Just one whiff of that mouthwateringly, delectable sauce simmering away in the pot takes me back to my childhood with ribs cooking on the grill. Oh man, I’m getting hungry now!
As with most of my family recipes I use for my website, I don’t have to make many changes to qualify them as “real food worthy” because, as with most recipes passed down from generation to generation, they use real food! I made three changes to this recipe: the tomato sauce, the Worcestershire sauce and the type of sugar. My dad never specified which tomato sauce to use and he usually went back and forth between Hunt’s and Contadina, if my memory serves me correctly. I try to use organic vegetables whenever possible so I switched to Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce No Salt Added, which has a great fresh tomato flavor with a lot of depth. I swapped out store bought Worcestershire sauce for a homemade recipe I found online. In the past Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce contained high fructose corn syrup which I try to avoid at all costs. Now it’s made from sugar, so if you’re pressed for time, go for the store bought variety.
I have to warn all you “paleo perfectionists” or “sugar police” out there, this sauce contains sugar. Without it, you lose an essential flavor component of the sauce. Now mind you, don’t eat a ton of barbecue sauce at once, that way, the actual sugar consumed at any one time is really minimal. Relax, take a deep breath and enjoy this sauce! The original recipe calls for brown sugar and I’ve switched it up to coconut sugar which contains minerals like zinc, calcium and potassium and fiber such as inulin (1). Coconut sugar tastes quite a bit like brown sugar, giving the sauce a deep, rich, and slightly sweet flavor.
Ok, now that I have you all craving a rack of smokey, saucy, barbecue ribs – on to the recipe!
- 2 x 15 oz cans Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce No Salt Added
- 1 cup coconut sugar or coconut palm sugar
- 1 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper, ground
- 1 tsp white pepper, ground
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp Wright's Liquid Smoke
- 1 tbsp homemade Worcestershire Sauce
- 5 tsp ground (dry) mustard
- Combine tomato sauce, coconut sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce into a medium sized sauce pan. Stir until well combined.
- Place the dry mustard into a small bowl and slowly add cold water until you have a fairly thick paste. Note that dry mustard tends to “cook” and coagulate if put into a hot mixture.
- Add small amounts of the unheated BBQ sauce mixture into the bowl containing the mustard mixture until you have a fairly thin paste.
- Gradually stir the mustard/sauce mixture back into the BBQ sauce pan.
- Bring the sauce to a gradual boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
- Simmer on low heat, uncovered for 30 minutes. The sauce’s delicious aroma will start permeating your kitchen and stimulating your salivary glands!
- Remove from heat, cover and let sit for another 20-30 minutes.
- Baste over your favorite choice of barbecued meat or use as a dipping sauce.
- Servings per batch varies depending on use as a baste or dipping sauce
- Delicious on pork, chicken and beef
Grab some pork ribs to barbecue for your dad this Father’s Day weekend and let me know if the sauce “tickles your ribs!”