Chocolate Chile Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Meathead Goldwyn/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
This concoction clearly has nothing whatsoever to do with Southern barbecue sauce traditions, but it has a lot to do with modern American cuisine: novel combinations that sound shocking, but somehow they work. This sauce has the classic taste profile of all the most popular barbecue saucessweet, tart, and slightly spicybut with a wonderful twist: the seductive taste of chocolate balanced with the mild bite of smoked chile peppers. I love it on pork ribs and meat loaf. If you put it on pork ribs, skip the herb and spice rubs. Paint it on your ribs just before they are done. Then, for a festive touch, grate some orange zest on top.
Makes a generous 2 cups
Takes 45 minutes

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (Note: I use Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa.)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved, then add the remaining ingredients, stir well, and simmer for 30 minutes more.
Source: Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling / Houghton Mifflin Court

Related Stories