This easy-to-make homemade bbq sauce recipe focuses on the flavor of the awesome ancho pepper. It is rich, tangy and deeply flavored, a barbecue sauce with a southwestern flair.
Ancho peppers seriously ROCK. Wouldn’t you agree? They’re so perfectly earthy and rich in flavor, I want to dive into a pool of the stuff. Ancho peppers are dried poblano peppers, and poblanos themselves are crazy amazing to cook with with. The dried version actually brings the resulting flavor up a notch. Dried pods have a way of trancending the flavor of fresh pods, particulary when it comes to sauces, so hurry up and grab yourself some ancho peppers and let’s get cooking!
I made a different sauce with anchos fairly recently – Ancho Chili Sauce Recipe. I know you’ll want to check that out. This recipe is similar in flavor, but goes in the bbq direction instead.
Check out this ancho pepper. Gorgeous, right? I can’t get enough of these.
I know you need a great bbq sauce recipe for this time of year, especially with all these HUGE holiday gatherings. You'll want this for smoking or grilling up ribs, chicken, pork, shrimp, fish, just about anything you can cook up in the back yard. Make extra, because you can serve it in squeeze bottles and let people smother their plates with the stuff. Seriously, you'll need more than you think. It will disappear quickly.
Let's go through it, step by step.
How to Make Ancho BBQ Sauce - Step by Step Recipe
First, heat a pan to medium-high heat and add your ancho peppers. Do not use any oil or liquid. You want to dry toast them. You CAN make this recipe without lightly toasting the peppers, but I urge you not to skip this step, as the dry toasting loosens up the oils in the peppers, resulting in richer flavors. Toast them a couple minutes per side. The peppers will puff slightly and the skins will begin to turn red.
Next, set them into a large pot of boiling water and remove from heat. Let them soak covered in water for 30 minutes.
As they soak, the ancho peppers will begin to leech into the water, darkening it in color. This soaking water has a lot of nutrients in it, so do not throw it away for now.
Remove the stems and coarsely chop the anchos. Reserve that valuable soaking liquid. Set the chopped anchos into a food processor.
Next, heat the oil in a pan to medium heat and cook down the onion, garlic, and tomato, then add them to the food processor along with the rest of your ingredients. Process until it smooths out.
The ancho bbq sauce will be thick at this point. You can add more soaking liquid to achieve your desired consistency.
Next, give your ancho bbq sauce a taste. Adjust it with salt and pepper.
Finally, press the sauce through a coarse strainer into a bowl. I use a wooden spoon to push it through. This removes the solids and bits of rough ancho skin that didn't get processed.
So, so good.
I hope you love it as much as I do! Enjoy!
Can't find ancho peppers near you? Here's a link (affiliate!) where you can purchase them at Amazon. Very inexpensive: Dried Chile Ancho - Sweet & Smoky Flavor, 16-Ounce Bag.
Ancho BBQ Sauce – Recipe
- 5 ancho chili peppers
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Soaking water or stock for thinning
- Dry roast the ancho peppers on a hot pan about 1-2 minutes per side. The peppers will puff slightly and the skins will begin to turn red.
- Set them into a large pot of boiling water and remove from heat. Let them soak covered in water for 30 minutes.
- Remove the stems and coarsely chop the anchos. Reserve the soaking liquid.
- Set the chopped anchos into a food processor.
- Heat the oil in a pan to medium heat and add the onion. Cook about 5 minutes to soften.
- Add the garlic and cook another minute or so, until you can smell the garlic. Add them to the food processor.
- Add the remaining ingredients along with about 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid. Process until it smooths out.
- The sauce will be thick at this point. You can add more soaking liquid to achieve your desired consistency.
- Adjust with salt and pepper, then press the sauce through a coarse strainer into a bowl. I use a wooden spoon to push it through.
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
Makes about 2 cups.