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Chocolate Chili Barbecue Sauce

Chocolate Chili Barbecue Sauce

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Makes about 2 cups.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from a recipe in Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling by Meathead Goldwyn.

The idea of using unsweetened cocoa powder in a barbecue sauce fascinated me. The sauce is delicious—slightly sweet with a mild flavor of chocolate. It is equally good on ribs or chicken.


¾ cup (150g) sugar or (227g) honey
½ cup (120ml) water
¾ cup (175ml) rice vinegar
½ cup (125g) tomato paste
¼ cup (60ml) orange juice or 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (can be increased to ½ teaspoon for a spicy sauce)


If using sugar, combine with the water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved. (Skip this step if using honey.)

Otherwise, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring often. Use as desired.