Though barbecue is my cooking passion, I'm not really much of a believer in barbecue sauce. When I make barbecue, I prefer to let the smoke do the talking, not the sauce. But this cherry-based sauce I concocted is pretty darn good — and pretty hot.
In a heavy saucepan, saute onion in oil until caramelized. Add cherry juice, vinegar, chipotle peppers two packages of dried cherries, garlic, paprika and pickled cherry peppers. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until chipotle peppers are completely softened, at least 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool. In a food processor, puree this mixture together with the remaining two packages of dried cherries, 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 whiskey. Return to stove and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for another 20 minutes or so. Adjust salt and sugar.
This sauce probably won't be as thick as most commercial barbecue sauces.
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Doug Worgul, Lenexa, KS, for FoodNetwork.com's BBQ Sauce Championship Cook-Off