Life / Food

Recipes: Homemade barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, and monkey gland sauce

Home cooks are showing more appetite for skipping the condiment aisle at the grocery store in favour of making their own barbecue sauces and other toppings from scratch.

They're also customizing these condiments, such as adding mushrooms, mangoes or bananas to ketchup and apples or peppercorns to mustard.

Barbecue sauces can have dozens of variations through the addition of such ingredients as fresh ginger, wasabi, miso, hoisin sauce, garlic, herbs, spices, coffee, wine and bacon, but the one component it must have is balance, says grilling expert and author Steven Raichlen.

"My bottom personal line is there are no rules and you should feel free to mix and match with everything," but the goal of any good sauce is to meld the contrasting elements — sweet, sour, salty, aromatic, hot — into a harmonious whole, he explains.

As Canadians head out in droves to enjoy their outdoor kitchens, here is an assortment of recipes to try to enhance grilled fare.



While researching their cookbook "Feast," Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller spent an idyllic summer day in Kenora, Ont., a small city on Lake of the Woods, rounding it off with a few great ales on the sunny patio of local craft brewpub Lake of the Woods Brewing Company. This barbecue sauce is courtesy of the brewery.

They suggest it's particularly good on ribs or grilled chicken.


60 ml (1/4 cup) lightly packed brown sugar

125 ml (1/2 cup) apple cider vinegar

60 ml (1/4 cup) molasses

60 ml (1/4 cup) honey

125 ml (1/2 cup) Lake of the Woods' Forgotten Lake Blueberry Ale or any other mild ale

60 ml (1/4 cup) Worcestershire sauce

60 ml (1/4 cup) dark rum

30 ml (2 tbsp) yellow mustard

15 ml (1 tbsp) liquid smoke

15 ml (1 tbsp) chili powder

10 ml (2 tsp) freshly ground black pepper

10 ml (2 tsp) ground allspice

1 ml (1/4 tsp) ground cloves

60 ml (1/4 cup) fresh or thawed frozen wild blueberries

875 ml (3 1/2 cups) ketchup


In a medium pot, combine sugar, vinegar, molasses, honey, beer, Worcestershire, rum, mustard, liquid smoke, chili powder, pepper, allspice and cloves and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until mixture reduces by about a third, 40 to 60 minutes.

Add blueberries and ketchup and simmer for another 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. In a blender or with an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 3 months.

Makes 1 L (4 cups).

Source: "Feast: Recipes and Stories From a Canadian Road Trip" by Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller (Appetite by Random House, 2017).



This citrusy ketchup blurs the boundary between traditional ketchup and chutney and can be used pretty much as you would any commercial ketchup. Orange and lemon add an unexpected tropical touch that's reinforced by the ginger and allspice, says Raichlen.


30 ml (2 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

125 ml (1/2 cup) red wine vinegar

125 ml (1/2 cup) packed dark brown sugar

125 ml (1/2 cup) honey

125 ml (1/2 cup) fresh orange juice

1 lemon, peeled (remove zest and rind), seeded and diced

10 ml (2 tsp) coarse salt (sea or kosher)

10 ml (2 tsp) ground allspice

5 ml (1 tsp) ground ginger

2 ml (1/2 tsp) mustard powder

2 ml (1/2 tsp) freshly cracked black peppercorns

2 ml (1/2 tsp) ground cloves

1 can (796 ml/28 oz) whole plum tomatoes (juices strained and reserved, tomatoes coarsely chopped by hand or in a food processor)


Heat olive oil in a medium non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until lightly browned, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 4 minutes.

Increase heat to high, stir in vinegar and brown sugar and boil until mixture is reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add honey, orange juice, lemon, salt, spices and reserved tomato juices. Reduce heat to medium and gently simmer, uncovered, until syrupy, 5 minutes.

Stir in chopped tomatoes and simmer ketchup, uncovered, until thick and flavourful, 20 to 30 minutes. The mixture should be concentrated but not too thick. Add water as needed.

Transfer mixture to a food processor and process to a coarse puree. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt, vinegar or any other ingredient; the ketchup should be highly seasoned. Transfer puree to jars, cover and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until serving. The ketchup will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 L (4 cups).

Source: "Barbecue Sauces, Rubs and Marinades — Bastes, Butters and Glazes, Too" by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2017).



You can pay tribute to one of Canada's homegrown crops by making your own piquant mustard. This country is one of the world's major producers of mustard seeds.

Yellow mustard seeds are only mildly spicy, so if you prefer real heat, use the much spicier brown seeds, suggests P.E.I. chef Michael Smith.


250 ml (1 cup) yellow mustard seeds

250 ml (1 cup) sweet apple cider

250 ml (1 cup) cider vinegar

2 apples, unpeeled, cored and chopped

60 ml (1/4 cup) honey

10 ml (2 tsp) salt

In a medium pot, stir together mustard seeds, apple cider and cider vinegar. Cover tightly and rest at room temperature overnight.

Add apples, honey and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until apple is very tender, 15 minutes or so. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a blender or food processor. If you prefer whole-grain style mustard, pulse for just a few moments. For a smoother result, carry on until completely pureed. Transfer to a clean jar, seal tightly and refrigerate. The mustard keeps indefinitely.

Makes about 500 ml (2 cups).

Source: "Real Food, Real Good" by Michael Smith (Penguin Canada, 2016).



This sweet-spicy blend of chutney, wine and hot sauce is popular among South Africans at barbecues, says Raichlen.

"It's really sweet with chutney and kind of tart with red wine. It's two kinds of polls of South Africa's origins, the British and the Indian with the chutney and the red wine with the French," he explains.

This sauce is customarily served warm or at room temperature with grilled meats, such as steak and lamb chops. It can also be used for basting.

This version comes from the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town.

For a variation, replace half the chutney with ketchup.


250 ml (1 cup) fruit chutney

45 ml (3 tbsp) dry red wine

45 ml (3 tbsp) port wine

30 ml (2 tbsp) salted butter

5 ml (1 tsp) piri piri sauce or your favourite hot sauce

2 ml (1/2 tsp) freshly ground black pepper

2 ml (1/2 tsp) liquid smoke

Coarse salt (sea or kosher)


In a heavy non-reactive saucepan over medium-high heat, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer sauce, uncovered, stirring often until chutney melts and sauce is richly flavoured, 5 to 10 minutes.

For a chunky sauce, serve as is. For a smooth sauce, puree in a food processor or blender.

Use immediately or transfer to a jar, cover and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for several weeks; bring to room temperature before serving.

Makes 300 ml (1 1/4 cups), enough to serve 4 to 6.

Source: "Barbecue Sauces, Rubs and Marinades — Bastes, Butters and Glazes, Too by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2017).

More on