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WhiteTrash BBQ -- Real Pit Barbecue from New York City. This is the story of a fire obsessed guy, living in Brooklyn, with a dream of producing award winning, competition busting, real Barbeque. Come live the dream as I compete around the country in the KCBS Championship Barbecue circuit.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Barbecue Ingredients: Ketchup

Ketchup. Yes, ketchup is probably one of the most common ingredients on the barbecue circuit. You wouldn't know it from looking around the competition tents, but it is. It forms the basis of many home made and even many store bought barbeque sauces.

Nowadays, most Americans think of ketchup as a tomato based product, but that wasn't always the case. Hundreds of years ago, the Chinese and Malaysians used the brine from pickled fish as dipping sauces. Known as kachiap, the sauce had a savory taste, flavored by the brine spices and fish. Europe in the 1600s, cooks began experimenting with different ingredients—besides anchovies, mushrooms, walnuts, oysters, and even lemons appeared in various ketchup recipes over the next couple of centuries. Throughout the ages, the only ingredient that remained constant was salt.

In the New World, tomatoes were known to be used in ketchup as early as the 1780s, though the first published recipe for tomato ketchup—created by James Mease, a physician and horticulturist from Philadelphia—dates only from 1812.

It wasn't until the late 1800's when a Pennsylvania food producer took tomatoes, added vinegar, sugar, onion and some secret spices and bottled it did tomato ketchup take hold. Now, pretty much all ketchup in America is made the same way. Sure, the seasonings vary from brand brand, but to Americans, ketchup is a thick tomato based sauce.

Now when it comes to barbecue sauce and ketchup, well some would say that's a marriage made in heaven. Do a Google search for "ketchup and barbecue sauce" and you'll get 1,770,000 hits. Thanks to our friends at Kraft Foods, a thick tomato based sauce, aka Kansas City style, has become the definition of barbecue sauce in the US. Even in Texas, when they do use sauce, ketchup is often the first ingredient.

So, the next time you reach for a bottle of barbeque sauce, remember, you're just putting doctored up ketchup on your ribs! Enjoy.

Photo of ketchup courtesy http://www.instructables.com 

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At 7:30 AM, Blogger Chris said...

I've enjoyed coming here to "ketchup" on reading your posts!

At 7:21 AM, Anonymous Jim Yater said...

Our sauce is tomato-based (Kansas city-style) which is pretty popular here in Indiana. Great post!

At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Outdoor Kitchen said...

You got so many points here, that's why i love reading your post. Thank you so much!

At 12:24 PM, Anonymous Matthew Berman said...

Nice job, it’s a great post. The info is good to know! i had no idea ketchup was even BBQ sauce related. Gotta say though... BBQ sauce is taking a backseat to Hot Sauce

At 3:01 AM, Anonymous BBQ&grill said...

Now that you mention it, ketchup does figure heavily in BBQ circles.

Now mushroom ketchup - the most savory thing I've ever consumed - is worth a try with grilled sirloin steak.


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