Cook’s Recipe: Chipotle Barbeque Sauce

I really like to try and make everything from scratch. It isn’t feasible with every ingredient, but things like barbeque sauce are really simple. I’ve had plenty of great sauces, but being able to craft a specific flavor profile for a dish just gives you so much more control as a cook.

This sauce is based around the chipotle pepper, a smoked and dried pepper that has decent heat, but also a rich savory flavor brought on by the smoking process. I’m particularly fond of it because it isn’t just a one note pepper, there to deliver spice.

The end result of this recipe is a smooth sauce with a good tang, the right balance of sweetness and enough heat to provide some bite, but not overwhelm. It really complements cooling ingredients like sour cream, mayonnaise or a nice crema. The sauce has limitless applications, but I enjoy it most as a topping for braised pork, or with a burger.

While in their dry form Chipotles can be ground up to make a spice, the peppers usually need to be re-hydrated by soaking them in hot water for about 20 minutes. It’s also common to find “chipotles in adobo” in the Latin food section of your local mega-mart. These are chipotles in a smokey, tangy red sauce made from a variety of spices. This recipe calls for both re-hydrated and canned versions.

Making the sauce is easy and is very much a “put everything in a pot and cook it” process. However, the sauce does need to be cared for, and consistent stirring is necessary to ensure that the sauce doesn’t burn or scorch on the bottom.Also, having an immersion blender makes this whole process so much easier and cuts down on clean-up immensely.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
5 cloves of garlic, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 can of chipotles in adobo sauce
3 chipotle peppers, rehydrated
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp Tabasco
1/2 cup of ketchup
1 can tomato paste
2 cup water*
Salt and pepper to taste

*For more flavor, use the water that was used to rehydrate the chipotles

Equipment

Medium sauce pan
Immersion or regular blender

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan, heat the butter and oil, then add the garlic and onion. Cook until the garlic becomes golden and the onions begin to turn translucent.
  2. Next add in the Worcestershire, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, chipotles in adobo and the rehydrated peppers. Adjust the heat to maintain a strong simmer, and stir often, cooking everything for about five minutes.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients, and bring up to a boil before lowering the heat to a simmer. Cook the sauce until it reduces a bit and thickens, about 30 minutes or so. Stir frequently to prevent scorching.
  4. Remove the sauce from the heat and using the immersion blender, smooth out the sauce right in the pan. This will eliminate the need for straining and give you the proper texture and thickness. If you don’t have an immersion blender, simply transfer the sauce to a normal blender and blend until smooth.

The sauce can be served immediately or stored for several days in advance and is best served at room temperature. I suggest investing in a squeeze bottle – no more than $1.50 – for easy delivery.