“What we do is salt and pepper and…fire,” says pitmaster Aaron Franklin about the trademark Texas barbecue he sells out of his insanely popular Franklin Barbecue on the Eastside of Austin. People have waited up to four hours for his brisket, ribs and Central Texas play on pulled pork, which can run out at the inhumanely early hour of 10 a.m. The parking lot has a football tailgate atmosphere, with barbecue fans bringing chairs and coolers of beer and the harder stuff to pass the time. Not all Texas barbecue spots are as busy as Franklin’s, but many are visited by smoked-meat pilgrims looking for a taste of the Hill Country. We pulled this recipe from his recently published cookbook to kick off the prime months of grilling season.
Says Franklin: “I don’t serve this at the restaurant, but I do make fun sauces for some events — and this sauce combines a few of my favorite things.”
Fun events, eh? Favorite things? We can do that.
- 4 Ancho Chilies, rehydrated in 4 1/2 cups hot water and the water reserved
- 12 figs, grilled, stemmed and quartered
- 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle (1 1/2 cups) stout or porter beer, (I prefer Left Hand Brewing's milk stout)
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 6 tablespoons fig preserves
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
For the sauce
In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the chilies, figs, and onion in the butter for about 10 minutes, until the figs and chilies are tender and the onion is translucent.
Transfer to a blender and add the sugar, stout, ketchup, both vinegars, the preserves, honey, salt, and pepper. Puree until smooth, adding as much of the reserved chili soaking liquid as needed to reach the desired texture.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.