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Mean, Meaner, Meanest Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Total Time: Under 2 Hours
Skill Level: Easy
Cost: Inexpensive
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Mean, Meaner, Meanest Barbecue Sauce

Photo by: Joseph De Leo

An adjustable sauce that lets you be as sweet or mean as you like.

Yield: 2½ quarts

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 largeyellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions (green onions), sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 fresh ripe large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large sweet red pepper, seeded, cored, and diced
  • 1 large sweet yellow pepper, seeded, cored, and diced
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (meaner)
  • 2 fresh cayenne peppers or small hot red chiles, seeded and minced (meanest)
  • 1 can (35 ounces) tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Heat half the oil in a large saucepan or a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, scallions, garlic, fresh tomatoes, and red and yellow peppers. For a meaner sauce, add the jalapeño peppers; for the meanest sauce, add both the jalapeño and cayenne peppers. Sauté for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and purée in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Return to the saucepan.

2. Process the canned tomatoes with their liquid, the sugar, and remaining oil in the food processor until smooth. Add to the saucepan. Stir in the chili powder, oregano, cloves, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer uncovered over low heat for 45 minutes.

© 1984, 1985 Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on 40 servings and includes 1/2 teaspoon of added salt.

53kcal (3%)
20mg (2%)
21mg (36%)
23mcg RAE (1%)
0mg (0%)
85mg (4%)
1g (3%)
4g (6%)
1mg (3%)

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