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Hill Country Barbecue Sauce

This is a typical Texas barbecue sauce, zesty and smoky. The smoke comes from optional bottled smoke sauce. In a real Texas barbecue, the smoke flavor would come from generous addition of smoky meat drippings. The juices from this oven-braised brisket will not have as pronounced a smoke flavor because it spends a relatively short time on the grill.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
2 serrano chiles, stemmed and chopped, or 1 jalapeño chile, stemmed and chopped
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) plum tomatoes
Juice and 4 strips of peel from 1 lemon
3 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup
1/4 cup balsamic or red wine vinegar
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 cups beef stock
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups ketchup
2 teaspoons liquid smoke (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
Juices from barbecued brisket

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onions and chiles and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, lemon juice and peel, brown sugar or maple syrup and cook another 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, stock and bay leaf and heat to a boil.

Cook the sauce, uncovered, over medium heat until it has reduced and thickened, about 40 minutes. Stir in the ketchup, liquid smoke, if using, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook about 10 minutes or until the ingredients are well blended.

Add cayenne pepper to taste, then cool the sauce for 10 minutes. Pour half the sauce into a blender jar and blend on high until smooth. Repeat with remaining sauce.

Can store in refrigerator for 2 or 3 weeks. Stir in juices from barbecued brisket to taste and reheat before serving. Makes 4 cups.

"Foods of the Sun"

Thursday, July 01, 1999

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