Ancho Chile BBQ Sauce

The latest issue of Fine Cooking magazine arrived yesterday – with six recipes for BBQ sauce!

I have to admit I’m a bit of a fan of homemade BBQ sauces and have made more than a few – from root beer to strawberry,  and everything in between. I really like the spicy/sweet nature of different BBQ sauces and have a lot of fun making them.

And with six new recipes to play with, I started with the first one – Ancho Chile BBQ Sauce.

The Fine Cooking recipe called for dried ancho chiles, and fresh poblanos and jalapeños. I had the anchos, but not the others. I did have dried chiles d’arbol and dried New Mexican chiles, so I improvised a bit.

Ancho Chile BBQ Sauce

Ancho Chile BBQ Sauce

adapted from Fine Cooking


  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 dried anchos, rehydrated in hot water and stemmed
  • 2 dried New Mexican Chiles, rehydrated in hot water and stemmed
  • 4 dried chiles d’arbol, rehydrated in hot water and stemmed
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbs. cane syrup
  • 1 Tbs. raw sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

Heat oil in heavy saucepan. Add onions and cook until wilted. Stir in cumin and garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add tomato paste and cook until it starts to darken – about 3-5 minutes. Stir in whiskey, vinegar, and worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil, scraping up the pan.

Add cane syrup – or molasses – and raw sugar. Add salt to taste.

Simmer a few minutes to meld flavors and then transfer to blender.

Starting on low and gradually increasing speed, blend until smooth.

Check again for seasoning and add salt, as required.

I used some of the sauce – thinned a bit with the chile soaking water – to make an oven-braised BBQ pork.

Into the dutch oven went a chopped onion. After wilting the onion, I added about a pound of cubed pork. I used a pork tenderloin.

When it started to brown, I dded some of the BBQ sauce and a bit of the soaking liquid.

Next went in 10 mini peppers that I quarted, lengthwise.

I brought it all to a boil, put on a cover, and placed it in a 300°F oven for 2 hours. I uncovered it for the last 30 minutes to thicken a bit.

Served over rice.

Ancho Chile BBQ Sauce

Fork-tender pork with tons of flavor. Sweet – as a BBQ sauce should be – but not too sweet. I think next time around, though, i might add a touch of smoke.

But it definitely worked.

Only five more to go!