Prickly Pear Barbecue SauceSteven Raichlen
The prickly pear is the desert’s dessert—the sweet, pinkish or greenish, oval fruit of a flat paddled cactus that grows throughout the American West.
How to Prepare Prickly Pears
To prepare whole prickly pears, cut the ends off with a paring knife, holding the pear at the end of a fork. It’s a good idea to wear gloves: the pear may still have some prickles. Cut the fruit into ½ inch dice, then puree in the food processor, running the machine in short bursts. Strain the resulting puree to remove the hard seeds. You’ll need about 1 pound of prickly pears to obtain 1 cup puree.
Prickly pear adds a sweet flavor to the barbecue sauce, that almost tastes like watermelon. Try this Prickly Pear Barbecue Sauce with Smoked Baby Back Ribs.
More Barbecue Sauce Recipes:
Prickly Pear Barbecue Sauce
- Yield: Makes about 2-1/2 cups
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1/4 small onion, finely chopped (2 to 3 tablespoons)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup finely chopped prickly pear (see above)
- The finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Water as needed (up to 3/4 cup) to thin the sauce to pourable consistency
Step 1: Place the ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, oil, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, smoked paprika, and pepper in a heavy saucepan. Gently simmer over medium heat until the celery and onion are tender and the mixture highly flavorful, 15 minutes.
Step 2: Strain the mixture into another saucepan. Stir in the prickly pear, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Simmer over medium heat until thick and richly flavored, 4 to 6 minutes. If a sweeter sauce is desired, whisk in the sugar. Correct the seasoning, adding vinegar if needed or optional salt to taste.
You can also buy prickly pear puree.