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© 2013 mathewguiver

Smokey red pepper, shallot, and coffee BBQ sauce

Two weekends ago I decided to make BBQ chicken style seitan wings. I put a lot of work into the wings, and definitely did not want to finish the wings in store bought BBQ sauce.

Whenever I write a new recipe it usually involves countless Google searches. I’m a very research focused chief, and I like to always have a plan before I even start test cooking. I struggled a bit with this BBQ recipe though, since most of the recipes I came across online either called for sugary catsup.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with my style of cooking, I try to avoid processed foods when possible. No one’s perfect, and obviously I don’t live off just farm fresh ingredients. But I’d rather not use catsup in a sauce when it’s just as easy to slice up a few fresh tomatoes.

So here’s my recipe for truly homemade BBQ sauce, using fresh vegetables, no processed sugars, and a few secret ingredients to give it an edge.


2 shallots
1/2 red pepper
1 jalapeño
3 roma tomatoes
1/2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3/4 c strong coffee
2/3 c vegetable broth
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp agave
1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp cumin
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper


1. Chop shallots, bell peppers, and jalapeños. The exact size doesn’t matter since you’ll be using a blender later on. However, I generally try to chop jalapeños into quite small pieces so that all of the spice can get released early in the cooking process.

2. Slice and core roma tomatoes. I don’t like the seeds in my sauce, so I remove them, but this step is optional.

3. Sauté shallots, peppers, and jalapeños in canola oil over medium heat. Season with a bit of salt and black pepper.

4. When your shallots have gone translucent, add tomatoes. Turn down heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the juice from your tomatoes has evaporated and the vegetables begin to stick to the bottom of the pan.

5. Add tomato paste and cook for about thirty seconds, then slowly deglaze with coffee.

6. Add the rest of your ingredients (vegetable broth, onion and garlic powders, agave, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, liquid smoke, cumin, and white pepper). Do not add salt or black pepper at this stage. You’ll want to do final seasoning later on when you can taste the sauce.

7. Remove from heat, and use an immersion blender to work through your vegetables. I like my sauce really well blended so I’ll often transfer the contents from a pan to my Vita Mix.

8. Return sauce to the stove and cook down over medium heat until it has reduced down to a nice thick and dark BBQ sauce. Mine usually takes about 10 – 15 minutes. Taste, and do your final seasoning with salt, black pepper, and possibly a bit more liquid smoke and garlic powder.

I usually can my sauce immediately and let sit in the fridge over night before using so the flavors can truly develop. The liquid smoke gives it a great mesquite flavor, with the spice and pepper blend, and the fresh vegetables and peppers. So yummy.

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