Homemade Red Wine Barbecue Sauce

The addition of red wine to barbecue sauce doesn't make it fancy, just flavorful.

If your goal is to make the best-tasting grilled dishes all summer long, this barbecue sauce should be kept on hand at all times for saucing, mopping, and all-purpose slathering. It has an even balance of sweet and spicy, and it's thick enough to coat almost anything.

>>RELATED: Learn to make other easy condiments at home: DIY Ketchup and Mustard.

Plus, no one will ever guess the addition of red wine -- which adds fabulous complexity -- so you can brag about your "secret recipe sauce" without worrying about copycats.

Homemade Red Wine Barbecue Sauce

Makes 4 1/2 cups

2 (5.5-ounce) cans tomato paste
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup honey
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup full-bodied red wine
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 tablespoon smoked mild paprika
1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

1. Mix all ingredients together in a large saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until thickened to your liking.

2. After about 10 minutes of simmering, taste the sauce and if you think it needs more kick, add a bit more cayenne pepper. Then continue simmering for the remaining 5 minutes.

3. Let cool, and pour into a bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid. I like to keep some in a squeeze bottle for ease of use.

4. This sauce will keep for months in the refrigerator, and it also freezes well.

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Photos by James Ransom