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. 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 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.
Find This Recipe
Steven Raichlen, a national barbecue treasure and author of The Barbecue! Bible, How to Grill, and other books in the Barbecue! Bible series, embarks on a quest to find the soul of American barbecue, from barbecue-belt classics-Lone Star Brisket, Lexington Pulled Pork, K.C. Pepper Rub, Tennessee Mop Sauce-to the grilling genius of backyards, tailgate parties, […]Buy Now ‣