Boy does this thread sound familiar.
I grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas, where we had what sounds like the spittin' image of Stern's. I'm referring to a place called Underwood's BBQ.
Best sauce I ever had and the meat was also not true BBQ.
There is one Underwood's remaining in Brownwood, Tx. I drove out there recently in the hope that the kids had stuck to the original recipes and qualities, but I am sad to say they have not. The old Underwood's is just a memory.
Anyway, I searched for years for the recipe and finally came across one in the Wichita Falls online newspaper, a few years back.
I heard mention on this thread of Stern's using the trimmings which was Underwood's basic secret, chilli powder, yep its got that too, coca-cola for a darker color and unusual flavor, on and on.
Anyway, I experimented with this recipe and found that the drippings do indeed need to be the base, not and additive. Get your trimmings and drippings the way you want them, then add the sauce until you get there. (and don't dare use diet Coke :))
So, as a salute to Stern's and all you Stern's Sauce lovers, I thought I'd share this recipe in the hope you might be able to alter it to fit your memories.
SAUCE RECIPE SAVED: Even though I couldn’t find the copycat Underwood’s barbecue sauce recipe that ran in this column long ago, alert reader Steve Litteken sent a copy of the original clipping he says he has “been making since this recipe came out in the paper.”
Although similar to the version that appeared July 1, this recipe was shared by a former Underwood’s employee who knew its secret. The cooking time is loosely described but I’d recommend simmering the mixture for about 30 minutes to let the flavors blend.
Thanks also to Paula Tucker who also hung on to her clipping. Thank goodness some people keep up with things better than I do.
ALMOST AS GOOD’ UNDERWOOD’S BARBECUE SAUCE
16 ounces tomato sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
6 ounces (3/4 cup) Coca-Cola (regular or diet)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ to ½ teaspoon garlic powder
Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until blended.