This is Sadie’s family recipe for an American-style barbecue sauce. Don’t be scared by the list of ingredients, as most are commonplace, and if you make a double batch, it freezes well for later use. I love it on pork spare ribs, marinated overnight, then roasted over a low heat on a smoky barbecue or chargrill. The marinade is also perfect for beef brisket, cooked long and slow on a smoky covered barbecue. Brisket is a great tasting cut – it’s hidden around a lot of fat and bone, which gives the meat great flavour. It does take a long time to cook, though. I use a smoker for this recipe, but you could use a charcoal barbecue or even cook it in the oven.






Skill level

Average: 4.5 (1 vote)


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ lemon, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dried mustard powder
  • 1 x 400 g can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 kg beef brisket on the bone
  • salads and boiled potatoes, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time overnight

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a low heat and fry the onion for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the ginger, cumin, coriander, paprika and chilli and keep frying gently for about 5 minutes or until fragrant. Don’t let the spices brown and burn.

Add all the other ingredients except brisket, season with salt and pepper and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Make sure the pan doesn’t become too dry, add a tablespoon of water if necessary.

Rub about half of the mixture over the beef and marinate at least overnight. I like to marinate mine for 2 days if possible. Remaining sauce will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Cook, covered, over a very low heat on a charcoal barbecue for 6-8 hours or until the meat is tender, checking the heat and adding a touch of marinade as you go. You want some smokiness, and the outsides will turn dark, but just take care it doesn’t actually burn as the sugars in the sauce can taste a bit acrid if burnt – the insides will still taste great, though. Alternatively, preheat oven to 100°C and cook in a deep roasting pan for at least 8 hours.

Shred the meat and serve with a good mix of salads and some boiled potatoes.



Photography Alan Benson


As seen in Feast magazine, March 2014, Issue 29. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.