bbq · habanero · liquid smoke · ribs · sauce · spicy · vegan

Sawwwce is Boss: Chocolate Habanero BBQ

Week 1: Browns vs. Dolphins

Tailgate season is back!  We had our first vegan tailgate of the year this past Sunday at the Muni Lot in Cleveland.  The nice weather, blind optimism about the season and amazing food made for a great atmosphere (we won’t talk about what transpired on the field).

I purchased some chocolate habanero peppers at the Tremont Farmer’s Market last week just because I thought they looked cool. This Amish guy sells a huge variety of hot peppers and I am always talking myself into buying them. I ended up using an entire pint of them in this BBQ sauce for the seitan ribs. The recipe for this sauce came off the top of my head, which I plan on doing more of this season.  Getting inspiration from the amazing vegan community is all well and good, but I want to contribute my own personal flare to the vegan scene.

Rib sandwich w/slaw, mac and cheese and chipotle kale

Sauces are vital for tailgates.  So much so, I have been collecting sauce bottles this offseason with the intention of making at least one homemade sauce per tailgate.  I will post several sauces on the blog throughout the season.  There is little value in buying a sauce at the store. Name the last time someones eyes lit up at a bottle of ketchup or honey mustard.  They are usually loaded with ingredients you can’t pronounce to preserve its color and flavor.  Yuck.

There is nothing like making your own variation of your favorite sauce, like this twist on my favorite sauce, BBQ.  I’ve been dabbling in making BBQ sauce since my college days.  It is really quite simple because it involves a base number of ingredients and the rest is fully customizable.  Don’t let the thought of making your own BBQ scare you… its very easy!  It involves sauteing finely chopped onions/garlic/peppers and adding them to tomato sauce/ketchup/puree with several key additions like apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, ground mustard, vegan Worcestershire (no anchovies!), brown sugar or agave and other spices like paprika, cumin or oregano.  Don’t worry if you can’t get chocolate habaneros for this sauce, any variety will do.  Its brings the heat, so enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4-8 chocolate habaneros, finely chopped (depending on your ability to take the heat)
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 can diced or stewed tomatoes (I used fresh tomatoes I cooked down when canning last week)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs. vegan Worcestershire (I like Edward & Sons “The Wizard’s” Organic Vegan Worcestershire)
  • 1 tbs. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • Black pepper to taste
Directions

  1. Saute the first three ingredients in a little bit of water.  Add the onion first, once they are soft add the pepper and finally add the garlic at the end.  Turn off the heat and set aside 
  2. Meanwhile, add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Toss in the sauteed veggies
  3. Let simmer for 30 minutes on low heat being careful not to splash or burn the bottom of the pot.  
  4. Optional: transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.  Some people like it chunky, so this step is optional.
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