Monday, September 9, 2013

Guajillo Chile Vanilla Barbecue Sauce

A slow and steady burn of dried chilies, the perfumed aroma of whole vanilla beans, a savory background of tomatoes and vinegar. Achievable. Incredible. 

It's all possible when you make your own BBQ sauce. Long gone are the days that condiments are mandated to come from a squeeze bottle.

Just looking at the ingredients on the back of a store-bought BBQ sauce will cause you to reconsider the convenience of them. The first three ingredients are usually corn syrup, sugar, and tomato paste. 


Making your own BBQ sauce not only allows you to control the sugar content, it allows you to create a depth of flavor that store bought squeeze sugar can't compare too.

There are many different recipes and combinations for barbecue sauce. Depending on the region you are from, you may be more prone to a vinegar heavy sauce or maybe even a mustard based sauce. I'm not here to tell you which one is the most authentic, I'm just here to offer you the best recipe available - this one.

It's the perfect summer-autumn transition. Loathe to let go of summer, but embracing of the cool crunchy weather of fall, this BBQ sauce will caress you like your favorite hoodie, comforting your sunburnt mind as it readies itself for cooler nights and a serious lack of beach. Pretend it's not September while you make cedar plank salmon slathered with this sauce from the gods. 

There are a lot of ingredients in this sauce because we are creating LAYERS of flavor. As a matter of fact, it's DEPTH AND AWESOMENESS that you're tasting here. It's a savory vanilla sauce that will make people love you. It's practically begging to be added to a Bloody Mary.

Here you are. Set yourself free.

Guajillo Vanilla Barbecue Sauce
makes approx 2 - 3 cups

3 Guajillo Chiles
1 Vanilla Bean
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbls. tomato paste
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
3 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup boiling water
1 tbls. butter
Salt to taste

1. Set the water to boil and take the stems out of your chilies. Steep the chilies in a bowl in the boiling water, covered, for 15 minutes.
2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter, and add the garlic and onions. Cook until soft and translucent - about 5 - 7 minutes.
3. If your spices aren't already ground, go ahead and do that while the onions cook. Add them to the onion mixture and let cook about 1 minute. Smells awesome so far right?
4. Add everything except the vanilla and the chilies to the pan. Add about 1 tsp. salt. Stir.
5. Cut the vanilla bean in half and slit it down the sides so that you can see the seeds inside. Scrape them directly into the sauce. Add all that jazz into the saucepan.
6. Put all the chilies and their liquid into a blender, and blend on high for 1 minute. Add this to the sauce pan.
7. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low, and let it simmer for about 45 minutes.
8. Squeeze whatever you can from the vanilla beans and then throw them out. Pour the sauce into the blender and blend on high for 2 minutes.
9. Strain through a coarse strainer - really, you're just getting rid of the larger bits of Guajillo seeds. They are edible, but unpleasant to chew. (It's BBQ sauce, not chunky ragu)

That's it. You've made the best condiment in your fridge. You're halfway to perfect pulled pork. You're one step closer to BBQ bliss. You're the star of your own show.