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I miss Texas BBQ sauce!

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Hello Texas chowhounds,

I lived in the Dallas area for many years before finally returning home to Southern California a few years ago. Something I miss like crazy--even though I'm vegetarian and don't use it on meat!--is real, authentic Texas style BBQ sauce. I remember Sonny Bryan's and also Dickey's as two of the BBQ restaurants we used to go to (pre-vegetarian), and I loved their sauce.

I've looked around online for recipes and have actually tried making a couple of them, but they're just...lacking somehow. They came out too red, rather than the brown I remember. And they just didn't taste the way I recall.

Can anyone point me to any recipes that would really duplicate the taste and texture I'm remembering? Anyone know the secret to Sonny Bryan's--or any other good BBQ restaurant's--sauce?

This has turned into something of an obsession so, yeah, I'd appreciate some help!

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  1. http://www.sonnybryans.com/Sauce-c3.aspx

    My dad has purchased bottled sauces from other restaurants and he claims they never taste the same as what he was served in the restaurant, but I know none of them were from Sonny Bryans, so ordering may be worth a shot.

    1 Reply
    1. re: CocoaNut

      Thank you for the link. It's funny, but I didn't really think bottled sauce was an option--I guess I just assumed it either wasn't available or...whatever! I'll take a look and maybe order some.

    2. Also don't know if by 'vegetarian,' you eat fish, but I have a friend that loved barbecue, then decided to cease eating meat. She said she still missed her bbq sandwiches, so I suggested she drain a can of tuna really well, then simmer it with bbq sauce in a saucepan or skillet until it thickens. Of course, she turned up her nose at this suggestion, but I persisted. Sure enough, she has her bbq tuna sandwiches at least one or twice a week now, and has for years.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jaymes

        No, I don't eat anything that used to be a living animal. However, I fool even the most ardent meat eaters among friends and relatives by using various veggie burger products. For my BBQ fetish--as well as fajitas and many other recipes--I use Morningstar Farms Meal Starters "Steak" Strips: http://www.seeveggiesdifferently.com/... They're amazing!

      2. I have a recipe for an old cowboy BBQ sauce called Black Jack Sauce. The first ingredient listed is 1 cup of strong black coffee. That is an ingredient used a lot in chilis and bbq around Texas, and that may be why your sauces are more red than brown. I could post it, but I have no idea if it tastes like what you are looking for since I haven't tasted either of the places you mentioned.

        2 Replies
        1. re: danhole

          Yum...anything with coffee has got to be good! I'd love to see this recipe if you don't mind posting it.

          1. re: LinuxSoCal

            I'll post it in Home Cooking for you under Black Jack BBQ Sauce.

            Dani

        2. Copycat recipe for Sonny Bryans:

          http://www.recipesource.com/side-dish...

          2 Replies
          1. re: CBob56

            CBob56, sorry, I did not read before I posted.

            1. re: CBob56

              Thank you for the link! I'm looking at the recipe right now and seeing that it'll work with just minor adjustments (no bacon fat, etc.). I'm definitely going to give this a try. :)

            2. Found this site for you, don't know if it's the original receipe or not, but I guess if your missing it, may be worth a try.

              http://www.recipesource.com/side-dish...

              1 Reply
              1. re: NHUNT

                Thank you for this link, too. I appreciate all the help!

              2. Linux, fortunately for you, as others point out, many Texas, Louisiana and other sauces are bottled and sold outside their regions. In the U.S., barbecue styles vary, and the most famous and best loved are Memphis, KC Missouri, Carolina, Texas and Louisiana.
                Some pretty authentic Texas reproductions have appeared in SoCal, so you need to search out Dr Hoggly Woggly's Tyler Texas Barbecue (in Van Nuys or Panorama City), El Paso Barbecue Company (Encino), County Line and others. Even Tony Roma's has a great sauce.
                There are far too many sauces to even think of only one that surfaces as "best." A bottled sauce that is far from red (I'd call it a light tan or mustardy color) is Cattleman's (Missouri); I think Stubb's (Texas) and other brands have versions like that too.
                You can find recipes for thousands -- every style imaginable -- on-line and in books and on cooking CDs. Also check Yahoo Groups and the Smoke Ring for barbecue specialties.