If you’re grilling this holiday weekend…..have I got a sauce for you.
I call it my East Meets West BBQ Sauce – all the classic spices and ingredients from a traditional Southern-style barbecue sauce, but jazzed up with South East Asian fire and flare by using the balmy aromatics found in ginger, kaffir lime leaves, bird’s eye chili and sambal matah– a spice blend from Indonesia made from chili peppers, shallots, garlic and lemongrass. This crazy mashup definitely has a kick, but there’s also a subtle sweetness from the two types of ketchup used. Speaking of ketchup, I’m not a big ketchup-eater really, so a bottle typically lasts me for months. It had been awhile since I’d been down the condiment aisle and I was pleasantly surprised to find this new balsamic vinegar version. It’s probably been around for ages and I’m just late to the party on this one. Anywhoo, I like the depth of flavor and it’s not as sweet as regular ketchup.
And the great thing about this sauce is it’s a no-cook recipe….plus a cinch to whip up. You put all the ingredients in a blender and then whiz away. You’re done! I like to put a third of the sauce aside to use for dipping, and the rest goes in a zip top bag with whatever protein you’re going to be grilling. My favorite is country-style pork spareribs (pictured). But use whatever cut of meat or poultry you like. Marinate over night (or 6-8 hours) for best flavor and then onto the grill. Happy Fourth of July !
East Meets West BBQ Sauce
yields 6 cups | East Meets West BBQ Sauce (PDF)
2 guajillo chiles
2 teaspoons cumin seed
2 teaspoons oregano
4-5 kaffir lime leaves (dried or fresh)
5 bird’s eye chiles
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 12-ounce can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup balsamic ketchup (or use 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar)
1/2 cup sambal matah (I like the Trader Joe’s brand)
4 tablespoons fresh ginger, sliced
1 serrano chili
4 cloves of garlic
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
1 lime, juice and zest
To prep spices:
Put guajillo chiles into a spice grinder and pulse into a fine powder. Set aside. Put cumin seed, oregano, bird’s eye chiles, kaffir lime leaves, salt & pepper into a spice grinder. Pulse into a fine powder. Set aside.
In a blender or food processor, combine remaining ingredients, along with guajillo chiles and spice blend. Blend on medium speed until thick sauce develops. If too thick, add more lime juice to thin out.
I love this sauce on pork spareribs (any cut), chicken thighs or strip steak for fajitas. This even works well as condiment on a grilled Brat.