Cherry Bomb Barbecue Sauce

January 07, 2013

In honor of the (probably apocryphal) story of young George Washington chopping down his father’s cherry tree, here’s a tasty recipe for a cherry-based barbecue sauce that’s especially tasty on pork. Because there’s some (but not too much) chipotle in this recipe, we call it Cherry Bomb. It explodes with flavor.

1 yellow onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
32 ounces tart cherry juice
32 ounces sweet (black) cherry juice
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 chipotle pepper, stem removed
1 package dried sour cherries (size?)
8 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (pimentón)
2-3 pickled cherry peppers, stems removed
2 tablespoons tomato paste (or more to taste)
1 cup sour cherry preserves
1 (12 oz.) jar roasted red peppers, with liquid
4 tablespoons rye or bourbon whiskey
2 tablespoons sugar (or more to taste)
Salt to taste

In a heavy saucepan, sauté onion in oil until caramelized. Add cherry juice, vinegar, chipotle peppers, dried cherries, garlic, paprika and pickled cherry peppers. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until liquid is reduced by half.

Remove from heat and let cool. Remove chipotle pepper. In a food processor, puree this mixture together with the tomato paste, roasted red peppers and cherry preserves until smooth.

Push puree through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan. Add sugar and salt to taste. Add whisky. Return to stove and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for another 20 minutes or so. Adjust salt and sugar.

NOTE: This sauce probably won't be as thick as most commercial barbecue sauces. 

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