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Sauced: Barbecue Pizza Sauce

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[Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

I'm fresh off a stint this past weekend in my new life as a barbecue and grilling competitor, where I competed in two different contests over three days—the first being a grilling comp and the second a barbecue one. While I may gain more fame and glory on the barbecue side (here's to wishful thinking), I do find the grilling competitions more fun, since the categories are constantly changing—this past weekend I was challenged to pizza, chicken wings, apple dessert, and salmon—and there's more room to cook to your own tastes.

For the pizza category, I wanted to devise a pie that would play up to the judge's tastes for barbecue, and in doing so, I took a step back and wondered if barbecue sauce is really the right base for a barbecue pizza—maybe having barbecue on it was enough.

I couldn't make up my mind between yes and no here, and decided to let that indecisiveness guide me in creating a unique barbecue pizza sauce that features the deep tomato flavor and texture of a good pizza sauce, but also comes with a sweet and tangy barbecue kick.

So I took my standard barbecue sauce recipe and tinkered with the amounts and ingredients in order not to overdo anything, then added in more tomato sauce than usual, and a fair amount of tomato paste as well.

It achieved exactly what I set out to create—a rich tomato base starts it off tasting like a solid pizza sauce, but then come in waves of vinegar, sweetness, and spice that create a light barbecue sauce flavor. It was excellent on pizza, with just enough tilt to the barbecue side without being overstated or dominating, allowing the toppings to stand out.

So what was the final pizza and how did it fare with the judges? I'll have to leave you hanging just a little bit, since that's a grilling story for Friday's post.

About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.

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