I’m not a fan of bottled BBQ sauces. They have low quality ingredients, are too sweet and lack anything but smoke flavor. (They also contain high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and dyes). Making your own BBQ sauce allows you to adjust the flavored to your liking, control the sweetness and add some ingredients to change it up a bit. It’s always best to use it the same day you make it.
This recipe is enough sauce for 3 racks ribs. Spices should be ground (freshly toasted and ground is best). We are blending and straining this at the end so if you’re using fresh ground spices and they aren’t powdery, don’t worry. This sauce approaches the flavor of a mole, with more of a glaze consistency, which is what you want.
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp chipotle powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp smoke flavoring
2 tbsp vinegar (apple cider or sherry)
2 tbsp black strap molasses
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauces
1/2 cup plain tomato sauce or tomato purée
4 squares unsweetened dark chocolate
1 cup strong black coffee or 2 shots espresso
Medium sauce pot
Fine mesh strainer
Sautée garlic, onion and salt in olive oil on medium until translucent, 10 minutes. Stirring frequently so nothing burns. Add all ground spices and brown sugar. Stir well to incorporate and reduce heat to medium low. Add tomato sauce and coffee and fully incorporate. Add Worcestershire sauce, molasses, smoke flavor, ketchup and vinegar, stir well and taste. Sauce should be sweet and tangy with a spicy bite and a smoky flavor. You should have a faint undertone of the coffee. Add the chocolate, one square at a time, and taste. The sauce will get shiny, rich and darker. As with the coffee, the chocolate should be subtle and add a little bitterness. Simmer for 15 minutes on low, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and allow to cool, covered. In batches, add to blender and purée on high. Pour through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on solids, into a clean pot (rinse out the used one). Return to low heat and taste. Should be full flavored and complex. Sweet, spicy, sharp and rich. Add more vinegar, brown sugar or smoke flavor to your liking. Let cool and use immediately or put in a tightly covered glass jar. Can be refrigerated up to 1 week. This sauce goes great with BBQ ribs, chicken, steak or even on a fried egg. Pair with a dark smoky beer or spicy red such as a Shiraz.