As spring approaches, the outdoor barbecuer in us all bubbles to the surface. We get the propane tank filled, scrub off the grates on the grill and prepare to fire off the ole barbie. Whether it be chicken, hamburgers or ribs, the outdoor kitchen offers a unique flavor that no summer foods could be without. Part of that flavoring package is the barbecue sauce store bought or home made that we use.
Truly, it’s a debate that will never have a clear cut winner in it. Should you buy one of the millions of barbecue sauces that are available on the sauces aisle at the grocery store or bite the bullet and try your hand at creating your own. Both have their pros and cons and ultimately, it ends up just being a decision of personal choice. On the store bought side, we have convenience at the top of the list. They come in about a billion different flavors and they really are not very expensive. For under $10, you can usually pick up four or five different flavors that someone is bound to love. From hickory and brown sugar to special low carb brands, there’s something for every palate and taste bud out there. It makes shopping for a big get together easy and stress free.
But then, you have the other side of the coin. For some people, the secret is in the sauce, as they say. It’s a personal point of pride to many to make their own sauces and spend hours basting the prized dish. These are the people that probably make their own ketchup too. This is a special breed of person that enjoys, no, relishes in making their own sauce. They ponder over each tomato and probably even home grow their own cilantro and spices. They mix, chop and puree their way to a sauce that makes the mouth water at the mere thought. These same people join barbecuing contests that test their abilities and even pour over tried and true recipes for ways to improve them.
And somewhere, in between, falls the rest of us. We’re not the fanatical sauce makers, but we prefer something slightly more organic and having less sugar than what we find in the store. So we try our hand at making our own. We use ketchup as a base, because who has enough time to make their own on top of making the barbecue sauce, the potato salad and the homemade marinade? We do a quick search on the internet under the words quick and easy barbecue sauce and come up with more than enough results to make our job an easy one. We whip it up in less than fifteen minutes and put it in the refrigerator to use up at the party. We probably don’t go to the trouble of bottling it or making up labels for it as some of our more enthusiastic counterparts, but we take a bit of pride in the fact we did make it ourselves. And when we run out at the cookout, we simply run inside, grab a bottle we bought for the family and use it too.
So, see, there’s room for us all to exist around the picnic table. And if it’s a potluck, someone will probably bring a little bit of store bought and little bit of homemade and all will be happy with the results. The best gauge at the end of the day, when you’re cleaning up the day’s remains, is did everyone eat all the food? If you’re throwing away mostly empty plates and dirty napkins, then you can know that whatever choice you ended up making was indeed, the right one.