July 01, 2009

Rachel's New Classic Barbecue Sauce

1 large shallot
12 ounces tomato paste
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Coca-Cola
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons mustard powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground chipotle
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon mesquite liquid smoke

Pulse all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and simmer on the lowest setting for 15 minutes or until heated through and slightly thickened. Allow to cool completely. Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate.

My thoughts:

This year I have found a new interest in making homemade barbecue sauces. It wasn't that I had been using bottled sauces until now, I hadn't been using any barbecue sauce at all until this summer. The few times I encountered a bottled sauce they were always too sweet or weak tasting.

So I decided to start making my own. It seemed like most of the tomato-based recipes I came across called for my old nemesis, ketchup. Since I detest ketchup and its cloying sweetness, I knew that was not for me. So I decided to use intensely flavored tomato paste as a base and add some of my favorite ingredients to create my own ultimate sauce. The balsamic adds a fruity roundness, the coke adds a light sweetness (and no one would guess that it was an ingredient at all!) and the savory Worcestershire sauce adds an extra depth of flavor. I wanted a spicy-smoky note in the sauce so in went a dash of my favorite mesquite liquid smoke and ground chipotle pepper. The result? A tangy, spicy, smoky, not-too-sweet sauce that is perfect for any meat.

This sauce is also fantastic drizzled over pork or beef sandwiches, meatballs or in pulled pork.