MAKES: About 2 cups

TIME: 20 minutes

I’m a ketchup fan, so one of my standard barbecue sauces simply builds on its well-balanced, tomatoey sweetness. If you want to use this sauce for basting during grilling or roasting, make sure you add it toward the end of the cooking time to prevent burning.

You can also use this as a rub, dip, or spread: Try it on Bean-and-Veggie Burger, grilled or broiled seitan, or simple Grilled Tofu or vegetables. If you want to add some heat, use some chili powder, cayenne, or your favorite bottled hot sauce, like Tabasco.

2 cups ketchup (to make your own, see Homemade Ketchup)

1/2 cup dry red wine or water

1/4 cup wine vinegar or rice vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce, Hold the Anchovies or soy sauce

1 tablespoon chili powder (to make your own, see Chili Powder), or to taste

1 tablespoon minced onion

1 clove garlic, minced or crushed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

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.

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

Variations

Curry Barbecue Sauce. More fragrant: Add a teaspoon or more of curry powder (to make your own, see Fragrant Curry Powder) along with the other ingredients.

Horseradish Barbecue Sauce. The later you add this in the recipe, the more kick it will have: To taste, add up to 1/4 cup freshly grated horseradish or up to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, along with the other ingredients.

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 1 cup vegetable stock.

Asian Barbecue Sauce. Even better with Black Bean Ketchup in place of the hoisin: Replace 1 cup of the ketchup with 1 cup hoisin sauce. Use plum wine instead of the red wine if you like, use the rice vinegar, and substitute soy sauce for the Worcestershire. Add 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger and 1 tablespoon Chinese mustard(see The Basics of Mustard) if you like.