Best Homemade Food Gift Ideas: Father's Day

My dad LOVES to grill and BBQ - beef ribs, chicken, fish, you name it - and he always has a new sauce or rub that he wants to try. A couple of years ago, I made a homemade rub and a homemade sauce, printed off cute labels with my name on them and gave them to him as a gift. He really enjoyed experimenting and I think my mom stole a few pinches of the rub for her own cooking. Homemade gifts are special and from the heart - food gifts are especially great because your dad won't have to find room on his office shelf for another picture frame or trinket!

BBQ Sauce

There are more BBQ sauce recipes than dads in this world and everyone has a favorite. This one is my particular favorite and a recipe I have developed and played with because most people I know like a spicy sauce. This is a thick, rich, tomato-based sauce, but feel free to experiment with mustard-based sauces or ones with even more of a vinegar kick. I find that putting these into capped squeeze bottles is the best way to store and serve.


2 tablespoons butter, unsalted (you could use olive oil)

1/2 medium onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 6 ounce can tomato paste

1 (1 pound 4 ounce) can tomatoes

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce

2 teaspoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/3 cup vinegar

1 teaspoon salt


1. Cook down onions and garlic in butter (or olive oil) until soft.

2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

BBQ Rub

Again, you can make a rub for any day of the week, but most have the same basic ingredients with each cook putting on their special twist. This is a great all-purpose rub because the flavor is big, but pretty mellow so it will pair nicely with beef, but it won’t overpower chicken. These are approximate amounts based on the taste I like, but feel free to add more or less of any ingredient. Put this rub in a cheese shaker to make for easy application when your dad is ready to use!


1/4 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup chili powder

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

2 tablespoons hot paprika

2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon cayenne


1. Put all ingredients in a small bowl and mix.

2. Store the rub away from heat and light. It should keep for at least 6 months.

Peanut Butter Cups

If your dad has a sweet tooth, these are a fun treat to make. This recipe is from a fun cookbook full of homemade gift ideas called Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It and Other Cooking Projects. Yum!


1 1/3 cups fresh roasted and salted peanuts

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon neutral vegetable oil, like canola or sunflower

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups chocolate chips or chopped chocolate


1. To make the peanut butter filling, place the liners in your cupcake pan, and have a holding dish standing by. In a food processor, puree the peanuts for 2 to 4 minutes, until very smooth. Add the honey, oil, sugar, vanilla and salt and puree until completely combined, scraping down the sides as you work.  

2. Take about 2 teaspoons of the peanut butter mixture into your clean hands, roll into a ball, and flatten into a disk that will fit into the center of the cupcake liner but not touch the sides. Shape the remaining 11 centers. The peanut butter should be evenly distributed.

3. To prepare the coating, in a microwave-safe bowl heat the chocolate on high for 1 minute, and stir well to distribute the heat. Heat for 1 minute more, and stir again. Heat for an additional 30 to 60 seconds, stirring thoroughly.

4. To assemble the cups, working quickly, spoon about 2 tablespoons of melted chocolate into the bottom of each liner, being careful to coat the bottom in a complete, thin layer, and to coat the sides about halfway up. Gently drop each of the peanut butter disks into the center of a cup, being careful not to push it all the way through to the bottom. Cover each center with an additional teaspoon of chocolate.

5. Let sit, undisturbed, for at least 4 hours, until the cups harden completely.  

6. Store up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

Beef Jerky

You will not be able to keep your hands off this salty snack – if you have brothers like I do, you might want to make this beef jerky gift password protected or something to make sure they don’t get to the goods before your dad. You can buy a dehydrator or just make it in the oven to dry.


1 lb. round steak

4 tbsp. soy sauce

4 tbsp. Worcestershire

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion salt

1/2 tsp. salt


1. Mix all ingredients, except for meat, and stir well.

2. Remove all fat from the meat and cut it into 1/16-inch strips. Meat cut against the grain will be tender and break easily, meat cut with the grain will be chewy.

3. Cover meat with marinade and let sit for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

3. Drain in a colander and place on dehydrator trays. Do not overlap the meat and turn once while drying.

4. Dry at 145 degrees for 8-10 hours. It is ready when it bends without breaking.

5. For drying in the oven, lay jerky across the rack and cook at 150-160 degrees for about 3-4 hours.

Potato Chips

Who doesn’t love a potato chip?! This is the perfect game day snack and you can personalize it for your dad’s favorite flavor. Just plain salty is delicious, but you can spice it up with anything from cinnamon for a sweeter treat to cumin to cayenne for a little kick!


4-6 russet (baking) potatoes

Oil or fat for frying

Coarse salt to taste


1. Wash and peel the potatoes. Slice very thin using a sharp knife, a mandolin or a food processor with a thin slicing blade.

2. Put the slices at once into a bowl of cold water and let stand for at least one hour. Pat dry, making sure there is not a lot of excess water on the potatoes.

3. Fry in hot oil at 390 degrees F. until a light golden brown. Just fry one layer at a time instead of trying to cram too many in the fryer. Drain on paper towels. Salt lightly while they are still hot.

4. If you would prefer to oven bake the chips, simply brush the potatoes with ¼ cup of melted butter and bake them in a preheated 500°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. The edges should be golden brown. Sprinkle them with the salt or other spices to finish.

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1 comment

shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain

Perfect! Just what I was looking for! A good bbq receipe. I have bookmarked this one! Thanks x

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