BBQ Sauce - Cloning a Commercial Product

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by burgerdude, May 18, 2017.

  1. burgerdude

    burgerdude

    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Hi Guys

    I'm going to post an almost impossible request and you probably wondering why post it anyways if it's considered impossible but to me I wouldn't be able to understand the request to follow - I know however there are those out there that can unpack a request and understand it better than the person asking it.

    So here goes - there's a Commercial Sauce called Spurs Grill Basting which is basically a BBQ Sauce used as a MOP on your grills like steaks. burgers, chops, etc. Now, we love this sauce to bits and have it on everything but it's become expensive - we know in these economic dificulty, you have to cut back wherever you can. 

    Basically, I am trying to attempt cloning this sauce based on the ingredients list I have. Just a little info about the sauce and this is where it get difficult for me the requester to describe it's flavour but I'll try my best.

    1. It's a BBQ Sauce
    2. The sweetness is just perfect.
    3. Consistency is "Coat the Back of a Spoon" consistency. 
    4. It has just the the right amount of heat of offset it's sweetness.
    5. A tad bit of tartness but hardly noticable
    6. It's spiced perfectly whereas no single spice is noticable
    7. It has just the lightest smokiness to it.
    8. Caramelizes perfectly once it hit a nice steak or works well on ribs too!

    Below is the ingredients list - I know I may not be able to clone this sauce identical to the Original but to get close will be great.

    ([Water, Spice Pack [Sucrose, Salt, Spices & Herbs (Irradiated), Dextrose, Corn Syrup Solids, Flavour Enhancer, Preservative [Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate], Flavouring, Spice Extracts, Acidity Regulator], BBQ Sauce [Water, Spice Pack [Sucrose, Chemically Modified Starch, Salt, Spices (Irradiated), Preservatives [Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate], Tomato Paste, White Spirit Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Worcester Sauce Concentrate [Water, Molasses, Acidity Regulator, Colourant, White Sugar, Worcester Spice Pack [Salt, Spice Flavourings (Celery, Ginger, Black Pepper, Capsicum, Cloves), Starch (Maize)], Salt, Garlic Powder (Irradiated), Stabilizer, Preservative [Sodium Benzoate], Modified Starch], Worcester Sauce Concentrate [Water, Molasses, Acidity Regulator, Colourant, White Sugar, Worcester Spice Pack [Salt, Spice Flavourings (Celery, Ginger, Black Pepper, Capsicum, Cloves), Starch (Maize)], Salt, Garlic Powder (Irradiated), Stabilizer, Preservative [Sodium Benzoate], Vegetable Oil (Canola Seed with added antioxidant TBHQ), Brown Sugar, Tomato Paste, Peach Pulp (Peach Puree, Acidity Regulator, Preservative: Ascorbic Acid), White Spirit Vinegar, Xanthan Gum], Seasoning Salt (Salt, Spices (Irradiated), Flavour Enhancer).

    Thanks
     
  2. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,420
    Likes Received:
    645
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    There are a few reasons why it is impossible to help you.  The first is that you describe the taste using words like "perfect" and "just the right amount" and those descriptions are practically meaningless to everyone but your own palette.

    1. It's a BBQ Sauce
    2. The sweetness is just perfect. Perfect how? Perfect for everyone? What about people who hate sweetness? Your perfect sweetness might be too sweet for me.
    3. Consistency is "Coat the Back of a Spoon" consistency. 
    4. It has just the the right amount of heat of offset it's sweetness. Some people like things spicy.  The "right amount of heat" to me is no heat at all.  
    5. A tad bit of tartness but hardly noticable I am extremely sensitive to tartness so even the smallest amount is VERY ...noticeable to me.
    6. It's spiced perfectly whereas no single spice is noticable Meaningless description here, what spices are you talking about?
    7. It has just the lightest smokiness to it. 
    8. Caramelizes perfectly once it hit a nice steak or works well on ribs too! Virtually all BBQ sauces are supposed to do this.

    The next reason you cannot recreate this recipe is even if you owned all the junk they put in it you still wouldn't be able to make it without accurate amounts.  I mean seriously, who has Acidity Regulator and Absorbic Acid in their pantry?  And what is a Spice Pack anyway?

    So you really have two options.  First, you can try making a real BBQ sauce with a few real ingredients and give your palette time to adjust to tasting real food and you will eventually stop liking chemicals.  There are plenty of cooks around here that pride themselves on wonderful sauces that represent various BBQ cultures of the USA.  It is a matter of taking the time to test a lot of recipes. Secondly, you can decide that this BBQ sauce is important enough to you to just spend the money on it.  Maybe buy it in bulk or find an online purveyor that cuts you a good deal.
     
    dantesdishes likes this.
  3. chefbuba

    chefbuba

    Messages:
    2,238
    Likes Received:
    516
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Since this is something that is sold on the African continent I doubt that anyone from here would even know what it tastes like.
    We have one member that I know of from Africa. @Butzy.
     
  4. midlife

    midlife

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Since the OP is in New York, and there are a number of retail shops in the US that sell products from South Africa (there's one that specializes in them where I live) this might not be impossible. Lots of people from South Africa live in the US too. Glass half full.
     
  5. chefwriter

    chefwriter

    Messages:
    1,863
    Likes Received:
    411
    Exp:
    Professional Cook
    I'll second Koukouvagia.  Make your own. BBQ sauce isn't hard to make and is better when you design your own flavor. Then people come to your place for Your BBQ sauce, not something they can simply buy in the store.. 
     
  6. butzy

    butzy

    Messages:
    1,751
    Likes Received:
    437
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    And unfortunately, I am not a sauce person and hardly ever go to spurs....

    And I agree with the previous posters:
    Take a simple recipe for a bbq sauce and make it.
    Taste it and compare with the spurs sauce you still have and start tweeking.

    If I see it, I will buy a bottle and try help you assessing what's used in the sauce
     
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,420
    Likes Received:
    645
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    That is so nice of you @butzy! Hopefully the op will be back to collect his input. But I do have to say that given the long list of ingredients on this product I can't foresee any natural ingredients living up to exact chemical taste of it. This is the worst part of modern food science. Its objectives are to be cheap to manufacture, shelf stable forever, and addictive to the eater. They make it so easy to get addicted to it and very difficult to retrain your palette back to fresh food.

    That reminds me, I saw shelf stable bacon at the market yesterday. Help.
     
  8. brianshaw

    brianshaw

    Messages:
    3,230
    Likes Received:
    388
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    While the description sounds good, but insufficient to recreate the product... the ingredients list sounds much like embalming fluid.

    Trying to break down the list into sub-elements, it seems like a tailoring of a prepared BBQ sauce into a thinner basting sauce rather than a thick sauce. The "secret spices" will be impossible to guess just from the ingredients. I do similar, BTW, but tend to use Jack Daniels to thin out an acceptable prepared BBQ sauce.

    Here's a suggestion for an alternative, if your open to that kind of suggestion. It has very similar characteristics to the words you use to describe the Spurs Grill product. I've been using this recipe for about a year now and it's become a favorite of me and my family - man, woman, and child. Only one alteration I make: 1 - 2 chipotles rather than 2 - 4. The chipotles we get are from Mexico and more than 2 would blow the top of your head off.  In a sealed container in the fridge it keeps quite a long time without detriment. I've frozen some too... and hit it with a stick blender before use since it can break a bit.

    http://curtisstone.com/recipe/apple-bourbon-barbecue-sauce
     
  9. scott livesey

    scott livesey

    Messages:
    359
    Likes Received:
    90
    Exp:
    At home cook
    I would start with good ketchup, molasses, worchester sauce, hoisin sauce, and whatever is in your spice rack.  living in eastern North Carolina, a sauce like you describe is kept in the house for yankees and other infidels.  here Bar-B-Que sauce is cider vinegar, ground peppers, and fresh herbs(optional).  some of the first supermarket bbq sauces were spice packets to be mixed with ketchup.
     
  10. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,399
    Likes Received:
    935
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    It really is impossible to help you out without ever having tried this sauce as others have said, and like Koukouvagia says your descriptors are based on your own personal preferences which makes it even harder, but if I was to try and recreate this sauce here is what I would start with and then adjust from there.

    3 cups ketchup

    1/4 cup yellow mustard (American style mustard)

    2 T Worcestershire sauce

    2 T cider vinegar

    1/2 cup water (possibly more depending on what the final thickness is you want to achieve)

    1/4 cup brown sugar

    1 t ground ginger

    1/4 t ground clove

    1/2 t celery seed ground

    1 1/2 t onion powder

    1 1/2 t granulated garlic

    1 t black pepper

    3 T Chili powder

    1/2-2 t cayenne pepper (depending on your heat tolerance)

    1-2 drops liquid smoke (go very easy on this as it is strong stuff-you can always add more)

    salt (if necessary, but probably won't need it)

    Mix all ingredients together in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and allow to cook 15-20 minutes, stirring often so that it doesn't burn.  I find most of my sauces then benefit from a day in the fridge before using.
     
  11. teamfat

    teamfat

    Messages:
    4,090
    Likes Received:
    488
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    I'm not surprised the sauce carmalizes well, there is a LOT of sugar in it.  Three of the first four ingredients are sugars, and there are 4 more additions of sweeteners listed later on.  Wow.

    mjb.
     
  12. burgerdude

    burgerdude

    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Hi All

    Thanks for taking the time to respond and point me in the right direction. When I put out this request, I already knew this would be a difficult way to describe what I'm looking for but never the less I received excellent feedback.

    So like many of you have indicated, the sauce I mentioned above is your off the shelf BBQ sauce that is doctored up to become addictive to the taste buds and rightfully so - that's exactly what is does however after the feedback, I figured it would be good to take this in a different direction. Instead of trying to clone a product, rather I doctor up something of my own to suite my taste buds.

    So that is exactly what I did with the recipe below and I'm off to a good start.

    ·         1/2 medium yellow onion, grated on the large holes of a box grater

    ·         1 Cup Store Bought BBQ Sauce

    ·         1/4 cup ketchup

    ·         2 tablespoons Yellow Mustard

    ·         2TBL Brown Sugar

    ·         2TBL Worcestershire sauce

    ·         2TBL White Vinegar

    ·         Hot Sauce to taste

    ·         Chilli Ketchup Sauce to Taste

    ·         Peri Peri Sauce to taste

    ·         0.5TBL paprika

    ·         0.5TBL dark brown sugar

    ·         1/4tsp salt

    ·         0.5tsp Whole Yellow Mustard Seeds

    ·         1/8  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    ·         1/4  tablespoon granulated garlic powder

    ·         1/4tsp dried oregano

    ·         1/8tsp whole coriander seed

    ·         1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

    ·         1/4  teaspoon fresh red chilli

    ·         1/8tsp Cumin Seeds

    I plan to unpack my procedure based on what improvements I would like to do on my next attempt but instead of changing too many variables at once, I thought I would work with one at a time starting with those that play a big part in imparting flavour.

    1st up on the list is onion - I grated the onion on the large holes of a box grater and then saute it till it became translucent before adding it to the sauce. I found it overpowered the sauce to the extent that the other spices in my sauce were hard to even detect. My questions as follows.

    1. Do I use fresh saute onion or dried powder?

    2. Must I finely chop onion and cook or leave in larger pieces? (I'm wondering if finer pieces cook faster and brings out too much of the onion flavour)

    3. Should the onions be cooked with the sauce or just added to it?

    4. I love the natural sweetness of onion but I've ended up many times screwing up my entire dish because the onion overcooked and overpowers the dish - how to best to avoid this.

    Thanks
     
    Rudolph likes this.
  13. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,399
    Likes Received:
    935
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Let your onion cook further.  Cook it over medium heat until it caramelizes.  That will mellow out the flavor and help to bring out its sweetness.  When I use fresh onion in a BBQ sauce I either do that or grill them over low heat to get a bit of char on them.  Either way, I just rough chop them, add them to my sauce, allow it to cook for awhile then blend the whole thing with a stick blender to get a smooth sauce.
     
    french fries likes this.
  14. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,420
    Likes Received:
    645
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    I'm so impressed you took our advice! Have fun experimenting!
     
  15. scott livesey

    scott livesey

    Messages:
    359
    Likes Received:
    90
    Exp:
    At home cook
    onions are like celery and bell pepper, 1/4 cup not enough, 1/2 cup too much.  i would cook your onions then add them last, a tablespoon or two at a time till you get the desired taste.  we use much simpler sauce here, so I have been experimenting with the charcoal and wood used to cook the BBQ.  white oak, red oak, maple, hickory, pecan, walnut, apple all add their own flavor.  i am a woodworker and save all my scraps, end cuts, and planer shavings for outdoor cooking.  
     
  16. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,399
    Likes Received:
    935
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Scott you sound like you know your BBQ and what you are doing but I'll mention it anyway, just in case.  I assume that you are not using any treated wood for your BBQ as treated wood contains a number of harmful chemicals that are released when it is burned and can be deposited onto your food.
     
  17. scott livesey

    scott livesey

    Messages:
    359
    Likes Received:
    90
    Exp:
    At home cook
    yes, i am cautious about the wood i use.  same with charcoal, I use hardwood lump.  all different size pieces, takes a little longer to start, but pure wood.  briquettes are powdered charcoal and 25 to 50% other stuff, especially the match lite kind.  

    and Yes i know that meat fat dripping onto hot coals makes smoke that may contain carcinogen, but the flavor it gives.

    All seriousness aside, if I removed everything from my diet that might contain something potentially dangerous to my health, I would quickly die from thirst (our well is below an old tobacco farm).
     
  18. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,399
    Likes Received:
    935
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I totally agree.  I'll chance it!!!!
     
  19. butzy

    butzy

    Messages:
    1,751
    Likes Received:
    437
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Sounds like you are of to a good start @BurgerDude!

    Please keep us posted!

    As for your onions: I don't grate them, but cut them and then fry.

    I did try the grating thing a couple of times, but was just not happy with the taste (and I love onions!)
     
  20. burgerdude

    burgerdude

    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Thanks guys for encouragement. 

    butzy, what about roasted onions - I'm thinking of roasting up a few veggies - Onion, Red Bell Peppers, Jalapeno's, Mushrooms, Dried Peach and then tossing it into a Blender before adding it to my sauce in small batched till I'm happy with the taste - you think this will work?