Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Recipe Blogging: Jim's Heretic Fusion BBQ Sauce

I call this “Heretic” barbecue sauce after my “Heretic Chili,” which is pretty much guaranteed to aggravate any chili purist. There are plenty of BBQ purists around too, and I’m sure some would be beaked about this.  Tough.  I really like the play of sweet and sour in this sauce, plus I enjoy the depth from the Chinese ingredients.

Jim’s Heretic Fusion BBQ Sauce

2 slices bacon, finely chopped

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small can (4oz?) tomato paste

3 Tbs hoisin sauce (Chinese sweet soy bean paste)

1/4 c. black Chinese vinegar

1/4 c. cider vinegar

2 c. port  (See Notes)

1 c. apple jelly

3 Tbs honey

  • In a tall saucepan over medium heat, saut�e the bacon until it begins to render its fat.  Raise the heat to medium-high and add the onion and garlic.  Saut�e for 3 – 5 minutes until the onion is starting to caramelize and turn brown.
  • Add the tomato paste and hoisin sauce.  Stir frequently and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.  (This caramelizes the tomato paste and hoisin sauce, really popping their flavors out.)
  • Add the two vinegars, port, jelly, and honey.  Lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.


  • Port: Avoid the dreck Gallo bottles as port.  Look for something like Sandeman’s Reserve, Warre’s Warrior, or Graham’s Six Grapes.  You only need part of the bottle for this sauce, so you’ll have plenty of nice port to sip on after you’re done grilling.
  • Usage: This sauce is killer on pork chops and great on burgers and chicken.  I wouldn’t get BBQ sauce anywhere near a steak just because I like my steak pretty basic so I can enjoy the flavor of the unadulterated beef.  Dunno how well it would work with goat.  Let me know if you try it.

UPDATE: Vlad in the comments mentioned using balsamic vinegar in place of the Chinese vinegar.  This really is a terrific substitution if you can’t find Chinese vinegar.  I’d meant to write exactly that in my original post but forgot.  Be sure you use a condiment grade balsamic — don’t waste your precious “real” stuff!  Check out this recipe post from the past for more info on balsamic vinegar.


Richmond said...

Sounds yummy. I'll be trying this for sure!

Anonymous said...

jim: i often view the carnival, but this offering somehow stuck out. our family is very seriously into chicken and ribs bbq, and this sounded great. we ran around to get ingredients (wound up substituting balsamic oriental for black chinese vinegar, and apple/jalapeno jelly for apple. also doubled the garlic) and prepared it this afternoon. once the ingredients were simmering, we tried it and: "oh my god, this really is very, very, vinegary". but we kept on cooking, because the ingredients and prospects sounded up our alley.

our 20 year old son (almost 21, december) had two of his hoodlum friends over (they're all hoodlums, aren't they), and i decided that we should have them sample the sauce before we started basting things (ribs and chicken had been slow cooking for about 1.5 hrs at this point). they all tried it and stated that it was acceptable, so we proceeded.

it was GREAT!!!!! the tangy taste was wonderful, and the caramalization from the sauce was beyond anything we have ever encountered. my son and one of his cronies both told us that they've never had better.

so, thank you. i have now discovered your website and will be looking in. if you have any more great recipes to share, we're waiting.

vlad (

Jim Holmes said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe, Vlad!

Yes, it's a lot tangier than other BBQ, but I think it all balances out really well. I also think this sauce is somewhat like stew: it improves with a day or so in the fridge -- or at least it seemed that way with the leftovers.

Thanks for mentioning balsamic as a substitute. I'd meant to do that in the original recipe, but forgot. Balsamic's a pretty good exchange for Chinese vinegar which can be tough to find.

DrObvious said...

How on Earth did you come up with this? This has to be one of the most original sauce recipes I've ever seen.

I'd love to say this looks good, but honestly, I don't have a clue.

I will be finding out the very next time I grill thought. Look forward to it.

Jim Holmes said...

How did I come up with it? Fuzzy memories consolidated from several different FoodTV shows, combined with a port-based BBQ sauce from a friend on CompuServe's Wine Forum, all tied together by a bit of my insane fusion.

Just the normal around here. :)

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