Chosen Bites: Best BBQ sauce ever

Chef Laura Frankel claims to have perfected the best homemade BBQ sauce to go along with chicken and just about anything that you can put sauce on.

July 7, 2011 12:08
2 minute read.
Yom Haaztmaut barbeque

barbeque 311. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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It was holiday weekend in the US and I had menus galore rolling around in my head. I love cooking, even if it is just for me and my husband. So, I had my plans all set for the long weekend. I shopped, chopped and all was going well when suddenly my dishwasher broke. I love cooking, but hate washing dishes. Well, I did not let that stop me. I plowed ahead with my menus and turned to my fair weather friend, the outdoor grill.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Spatchcocking Chicken. This past weekend, I perfected the best homemade BBQ sauce to go along with that moist and juicy bird, and just about everything else you can possibly put sauce on.

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I don't like jarred sauces and never use them. Prepared sauces have a lot of refined sugars, thickeners and other ingredients that I do not want to feed to my family and friends. I also want the food to taste like I made it, not like some large company made it.

This sauce has some of the heat of a typical North African harissa but instead of being just a fiery condiment, it is instead a luscious complex sauce with the addition of toasted spices, tangy fresh lime juice, fresh mint and coriander. It is summery, spicy and delicious. 

Armed with only my blender and my grill, I made the most delicious grilled chicken, vegetables and potatoes. This sauce is amazing on everything! I am sharing this recipe with you because I want you to make it. I made a double batch and froze some for later. Jump up off the computer and make this sauce! You can thank me later.

Piquillo Harissa
Yields-about 1 cup sauce

I couldn't find Piquillo Pimentos but substituted roasted red peppers. If you have the Spanish sweet peppers, go ahead and use them. They are available on-line and in some grocery stores and markets.

3 limes, zested and juiced
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 stick cinnamon
2 star anise
10 ounces roasted piquillo pimentos or roasted red peppers
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
4 cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane
2 hot chili peppers, sliced (I use jalapeno)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Roast the seeds, cinnamon and star anise and grind the spices into powder in a spice mill (I use a small coffee grinder that I keep just for grinding spices.)

2. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend to a paste.
The flavors will develop as the harissa sits. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for one week or freeze for up to 2 months.

Laura Frankel is the executive chef at Spertus Kosher Catering and the author of  - Jewish Cooking for all Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes.

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