I used canned tomatoes as the bulk of the sauce because I didn't want all the sugars from ketchup and it lends a certain freshness to sauce. However, ketchup is an essential flavor in certain BBQ sauces, so I did use some. It also makes for a very nice texture of the finished product.
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 small chipotle, chopped
1 C (heaping cup) crushed canned tomatoes or diced tomatoes
1/3 C ketchup
1/3 C water
1/4 C brown mustard
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper flake (optional)
Heat oil over med heat in a medium sauce pot with a lid. Saute onions for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly so they don't burn. They should be starting to turn light brown and be soft. If bits start to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a little bit of water to scrap them up.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a bubble. Cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn heat off and let stand for a least 15 minutes.
Remove bay leaf and puree. (Salt and pepper according to taste, but the tomatoes probably have enough salt in them.)
Makes ~2 1/2 cups.
For smoking or grilling meat, season meat with salt and pepper. Baste with sauce a couple times during cooking process. Serve more on the side (that has been reheated).
For baked chicken (picture above), season with salt and pepper. Halfway through cooking, top with a little bit of sauce. A few minutes before the meat is done, add more on top and put it back in the oven so sauce is hot.