Total Time
1hr 15mins
Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr

This is a homemade BBQ sauce with a very complex blend of spices akin to a dark mole. I used some techniques I learned from America's Test Kitchen's Quick Tomato Sauce recipe to sweeten the sauce naturally with yellow onion and crushed tomatoes, rather than add a bunch of brown sugar like most recipes. Great on ribs, burgers, etc.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan on high heat.
  2. When butter foams, add onion, garlic, chipotle peppers and salt. Cook for 1-2 minutes until onions begin to brown.
  3. Add all dry spices and stir until blended into a thick paste, about 30 seconds.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the beer, scraping up any brown bits of aromatics on the pan.
  5. Add molasses, vinegar, liquid smoke and crushed tomatoes, then stir until evenly incorporated. Make sure molasses doesn't stick to the bottom or sides of the pot.
  6. Simmer the sauce for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the texture is thick like barbecue sauce.
  7. Add olive oil and sweeten with mirin, to taste. I probably only use a few teaspoons of mirin, but if you like it sweeter you could go heavier.
  8. Move to a blender or food processor for about 1 minute until the sauce is smooth. Tastes great fresh, but will taste better after 1-2 days.
  9. NOTE: This sauce could also be used as a braising liquid for roasts, brisket, short ribs, etc. Instead of thickened the sauce, add it to a roasting pan with the browned meat and slow-cook for hours until fork tender.