Last weekend, we celebrated our lovely friend Claire’s birthday by camping out all day on her gorgeous terrace in El Gòtic and slow-cooking a ridiculous amount of pork to perfection (more about that in another post).
It was a tough day.
Brian worked his magic on the grill, and I made a simple coleslaw and this bourbon-chipotle BBQ sauce, which I have to say, turned out mighty fine. I love BBQ sauce, but I find a lot of the bottled stuff too sweet and lacking in real flavor (also, it’s strangely not a thing here in Spain).
I like a BBQ sauce with a little kick to it, and my old friends bourbon and chipotle give this recipe a moderate level of spice with a hint of smoky sweetness.
I’ve made a variation of this recipe before with canned tomatoes, and it turned out well – but go for the fresh version if you’ve got ’em. It takes additional time to cook them down, but it’s not a lot more hands-on work, and I think it’s worth it.
- 5 lbs. fresh tomatoes, cores and seeds removed and roughly chopped (or about 70 oz. canned whole peeled tomatoes)
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup + 1 T. dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 2 T. molasses
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, deseeded and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 T. cocoa powder
- Olive oil
- First, make the ketchup-like base. Heat a little olive oil in a large pot, and add tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic, chipotle, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, vinegar, Worcestershire and brown sugar. Cook uncovered for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours until the tomatoes have reduced and become thick and saucy. (Use fresh tomatoes if available; if you use canned tomatoes, you can reduce the cook time to about 30-45 minutes.)
- Purée with an immersion blender or in a regular blender. Push the mixture through a strainer once or twice, and discard solids.
- Add bourbon, molasses and cocoa powder to the tomato mixture and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed.