This recipe comes from one of the legends of barbecue— Dr. Rich Davis, inventor of K.C. Masterpiece barbecue sauce. Davis got the idea for the sauce on a trip to China, where he made it a point to enjoy the local barbecue (smoked beef, pork, and duck). This is what you might call a “doctor sauce” — it starts with a commercial sauce that you doctor to suit your taste. In this case, the doctoring includes ginger, rice vinegar, and soy sauce—ingredients that give the sauce a Chinese accent.
Step 1: Grind the anise seed in a spice mill or pulverize in a mortar with a pestle. Place it in a heavy saucepan. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Step 2: Transfer the sauce to a serving bowl and let cool to room temperature. Use right away or transfer to a jar, cover, and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for several weeks.
Serve this sauce with barbecued or grilled ribs, chicken, or duck.
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