Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Salsa Borracha (Drunken Salsa)

Recipe from Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible Sauces, Rubs and Marinades, Bastes, Butters & Glazes

This is one of Mexico’s most unusual salsas. Bitter and piquant, it’s not the sort you’d serve with chips, but barbacoa (pit-roasted lamb or goat) just wouldn’t taste right without it.


  • Yield: Makes 2 cups; enough to serve 6 to 8
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  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 pasilla chilies
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup beer
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea), or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated salty cheese, like Mexican queso fresco or feta

Step 1: Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat to 350°F on a deep-fry thermometer. Add the chilies a few at a time and fry until puffed and crisp, 10 to 20 seconds per side. Do not let the chilies burn. Transfer the chilies to a paper towel–lined plate and let cool. Stem the chilies and break into 1-inch pieces.

Step 2: Add the onion to the pan and fry until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer the onion to a blender or food processor. Add the chilies, beer, vinegar, water, tequila, cilantro, honey, salt, and pepper and blend to a coarse purée. Correct the seasoning, adding salt. Transfer to a jar, cover, and refrigerate. The salsa will keep for several days. Just before serving, transfer the salsa to bowls and sprinkle with grated cheese.

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