Usually, when I am blogging about a meal or a baked good, it's something I've made last week, or at least a few days prior. I like to keep my meals in order, and so I have a queue of sorts. The pictures are uploaded onto the computer, and they wait patiently until I get around to them.
So when I say that I made this barbecue sauce yesterday, and that I couldn't wait any longer to blog about it, that's truly saying something special about this sauce!
I've been a huge fan of barbecue sauce for pretty much my whole life. It is, hands down, my favorite condiment. I can't get enough of it. I'll put it on pretty much anything you can think of. I was dared, as a teenager, to try it on the likes of pancakes, Reese's peanut butter cups, even cinnamon rolls! Ok, let me tell you, none of those were brilliant ideas; they were all pretty gross. But I still tried them, because I was just that devoted to my love of barbecue sauce.
However, I had never made it from scratch....until yesterday. I'd always wanted to, for sure. I knew that I would enjoy playing around with components and spicing it the way I wanted to, and I finally found a reason to whip up a batch; leftover habanero peppers. That's right; we had some extra peppers we'd bought, and suddenly my brain was overtaken with visions of a habanero-flavored barbecue sauce that would knock your socks off. I took to my trusty Recipezaar to see what I could find.
Finally, I found the perfect recipe. It did not have habanero listed in its title; the pepper is almost like a stealth ingredient, listed all the way at the end of the recipe. But, boy, does it make its presence known! I tasted this sauce first before I added the pepper, and then again after I had incorporated it, and the difference was astounding. Of course, that's to be expected when you're dealing with such a hot pepper, but still! It just adds so much to the overall flavor and heat level of the sauce.
Of course, I did tinker with the original recipe a bit, because that's just what I do. I decided to use up some more of my pomegranate molasses in this, since it did call for some molasses. I had to add more sweetness after that, since the pomegranate is very tart and regular molasses is not. So I threw in some honey to increase the sweet. I found out that I was out of chili sauce, so I improvised and used some more of my new best friend, Frank's RedHot Sweet Chili Sauce, along with a bit of extra ketchup. The recipe called for chili powder; instead of regular, I used some ancho chili powder. Oh, and I cut the recipe down to 1/3 the full amount, since that would have yielded about 3 pints of sauce. A bit too much for my little family!
The end result of my playing and experimenting was a dark, thick, sweet sauce that had a sharp tang and a swift kick from the habanero. I have to admit, I just couldn't stop taste-testing this stuff while it was simmering on the stove! It filled the house with an incredibly smoky aroma; it just smelled like summer to me. (It also smelled like dinner to me, so it was very hard to wait around until we could eat!)
I served this alongside a relatively simple turkey burger that was seasoned to taste like Caribbean jerk, a barley and veggie salad, and sweet potato oven fries. The barbecue sauce was fantastic for dipping the burgers in, and I thought it paired especially well with the sweet potato fries. A winner, if I do say so myself!
I said it before, but I'll say it again. If you do try this sauce, be warned: it is spicy! However, it would be just as delicious if you were to omit the habanero, or substitute a slightly less spicy pepper (a jalapeno would be great in this, as well). There's plenty of other flavors in there to make up for the heat.
The original barbecue sauce recipe can be found right here. The recipe I used for the turkey burgers can be found here. It originally came from Rachael Ray, and then somebody posted it to Recipezaar. The sweet potato fries I used were just Ore-Ida frozen fries, and they were good! Finally, the barley and veggie salad recipe is half Cooking Light, half my own creation. I won't post a step-by-step description of what I did, but here is a link to the Cooking Light recipe. I used barley in place of the orzo, kept the dressing the same, and omitted the chicken and goat cheese. It was delicious!
Homemade Barbecue Sauce
adapted from Recipezaar
makes about 2-3 cups
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground dry mustard
1 tsp. ancho chili powder
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
2 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 habanero pepper, minced (remove seeds before using, and don't forget to use protective gloves while handling your pepper!)
1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onions, bell peppers, and garlic and saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add dry mustard and chili powder, and stir to incorporate.
2. Lower the heat to a simmer, and add all the remaining ingredients. Stir well, then simmer on low, covered, for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Let cool, then use either a regular blender or an immersion blender to puree the sauce. Sauce can be stored in an airtight container for about 2 weeks in the fridge, or stored in mason jars in the fridge for longer.