Is anybody else tired of the ketchup/mustard/relish trio for backyard bar-be-ques? Especially if I've taken the time to buy some higher-quality sausages or make my own perfectly seasoned hamburger patties, it just seems like a shame to slather them with the same boring condiments every time.
At a favorite local restaurant of ours, they make an "artisan ketchup" and it's incredible. I decided to try experimenting with some new flavors to make my own, and I've been surprised by how easy it is to make the perfect condiment for our outside dinners.
Start with a base of tomato paste. I buy this by the case at Costco and put it in everything as a thickener and flavor-enhancer, so I always have some on-hand. However, if you don't have a "Costco closet" like yours truly, it's still pretty cheap at the regular grocery store.
You'll notice that tomato paste is super thick and gummy -- not exactly what you want on your burger, so you'll have to add liquid. If you like a more traditional ketchup flavor, often I use water, but it's fun to experiment with Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, hot sauce or a combo of other liquid flavors.
Then add some dry spices. Dry orange peel is a great add, as is onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder or even some curry for some extra kick. Also, don't forget a healthy dose of sugar (brown adds a thick sweetness, white is a bit more of a shallow flavor, but brings out the tomato's sweetness) salt and pepper. (You can use fresh spices, but you'll have to use the ketchup much faster, lest they go bad in your mixture.)
If you prefer sweeter flavors, a bit of molasses and apple cider vinegar is also a good combo. I've been experimenting with some varieties, and one of my favorites is this:
- 1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of smoky paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- a healthy pinch each of brown sugar, salt and pepper
Keep your ketchup in a sealed container in the fridge and it will stay good for a least a month. I like having a few varieties on hand and breaking them out for casual outdoor meals -- adds a little gourmet sass to a simple dinner.
Just in case you're unconvinced, I decided to make the blogging version of a late-night infomercial, just to convince you. Behold: