Posted by: scootrah | August 4, 2014

Todd’s Simple but Sassy BBQ sauce

My brother Todd and I share a love of BBQ – last year we  both became certified judges for the Pacific Northwest BBQ Association (PNWBA) and we had a blast judging barbecued chicken, brisket, ribs and pork all over the northwest last summer. One of the things that was so great about judging, is it made us want to BBQ even more, trying out some of the flavors and techniques we’d been so fortunate to sample.

Todd and I judging the big Tree Top "Skewered Apple BBQ Competition" in Selah, WA last September -

Todd and I judging the big Tree Top “Skewered Apple BBQ Competition” in Selah, WA last September –

Now Todd is a really great cook – even though he’d tell you he isn’t. He’s famous for his double chocolate cookies, roasts a fierce prime rib and his razor clam fritters are so delicious I can eat almost an entire limit of clams in one sitting. But next to the awesomeness of his fritters are his baby back ribs – loaded with garlic and slow roasted, they are BBQ heaven. And topping off those killer ribs is his BBQ sauce. One of the things I admire about Todd and his cooking is he’s fearless when he’s creating something new. Unlike the way I often tend to cook – endless experimenting and fussing to get it “just right” – Todd makes it easy so he can remember how to do it exactly the same the next time around. And he doesn’t use a lot of ingredients, usually just what’s on hand. I love that! So this is his ridiculously good BBQ sauce that you will love. And of course, I had to tinker with it just a bit, but he agreed it was a good addition. And in my book, his approval of my cooking is golden!

One of the best parts about this is you can get your ribs or chicken on the grill, then get the sauce started – love it when we can multi-task on the meal DURING the meal…

So to get started, put the ketchup, coke, brown sugar, and garlic powder into a saucepan…


…I used Mexican Coke* for this because it has real cane sugar and thickens up and caramelizes nicely,and I loved the result. But Todd says he only uses regular Coke and it works just fine…so I tried it with regular coke too. It was OK, but I thought the Coke with sugar gave it a better taste and made a smoother sauce. So use whatever you like!…


…now add your Tapatio (my FAVORITE hot sauce, but you probably already know that), then bring it to a boil, reduce to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until reduced by half…


…stir in the balsamic vinegar and remove it from the heat…

photo 1

…when it cools, you’re ready to use it on the grill!


Try it on your burgers – or even better yet, mix in 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce into 1 lb ground beef, form into patties and then grill – YUM

photo 2

Todd’s Simple but Sassy BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup Coca Cola
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Tapatio hot sauce – or more if you like it hotter – after making this a couple of times, I prefer 1 1/2 tsps, but I like to be cautious with the hot the first time I make something (or use your favorite hot sauce, but Tapatio is the best!)
  • 1 Tblsp balsamic vinegar (my addition)
  1. Combine the ketchup, Coke, sugar and garlic powder in a sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about a half hour – you want it to thicken and reduce by at least half.
  3. Stir in the vinegar and remove from heat.
  4. Slather on ribs, chicken, burgers or use in baked beans – yum!

Simple but Sassy BBQ Sauce is the perfect mate for grilled chicken – dive in!

*We have an Hispanic grocery store nearby where I found the Coke, but you could check specialty stores for it – I’ve also found it at an upscale butcher shop here because people want to use it in their cooking, and a couple of family-run burger joints that serve “Old Timey” bottled sodas –



  1. […] Start with a can of pineapple rings, some mozzarella/string cheese sticks, an onion, bacon and BBQ sauce… […]


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