Spicy Texas BBQ Sauce

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 140 minutes
Servings: 4

A happy marriage between the tomato-based barbecue sauce beloved by Texans and the vinegar sauce popular in North Carolina, this spicy hybrid is great served with a smoked brisket.


  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 10 oz. (315 g) plum tomatoes, halved
  • 5 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) plus 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 Tbs. freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/3 cups (11 fl. oz./345 ml) ketchup
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs. white vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbs. molasses
  • 1 heaping Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 heaping Tbs. paprika
  • 1/8 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cumin


Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).

In a large bowl, combine the onion, tomatoes and garlic. Drizzle with 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, season with the salt and pepper, and toss to coat the vegetables with the seasonings. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until they are soft and browned in places, about 20 minutes.

Remove the vegetables from the oven and scrape them into a saucepan. Add the remaining 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) olive oil, the ketchup, cider vinegar, orange juice, brown sugar, white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, chili powder, paprika, coriander and cumin and whisk to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 hours or more. Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool to room temperature. Pour the contents of the saucepan into the jar of a blender and puree, adding water if necessary to reach the consistency of barbecue sauce. Taste and add more salt, pepper or spices to taste. Makes 4 cups (1 l).

Adapted from Taming the Feast: Ben Ford’s Field Guide to Adventurous Cooking, by Ben Ford and Carolynn Carreño (Atria Books, 2014).

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