Sunday, October 21, 2007

Flannery's Barbecue Sauce

My Irish Godfather was always something of a fascinating, saturnine figure in my early life. There was a whiff of sulphur around him, from his multiple wives to his radio hammery, from getting nicked under the then prevailing currency exchange laws through to his mysterious police work, his car phone (this was in the '70s, alright?) and his Jaguar with its uber-cool numberplate.

He used to have a deeply secret barbecue sauce which he called Flannery's Barbecue Sauce. Nobody was allowed near when he was preparing it. After many years I worked out the secret: you wander around the kitchen and shovel anything you fancy into a pan. As long as it's got tomatoes, dark stuff and some sweet and sour, it's a winner for marinading steak in as well as serving up warm alongside the cooked meat as a dip.

So here it is. Don't forget to be terribly secretive about it all - that's, literally, the secret to this recipe's sheer magic for kids!


  • 140g tin tomato paste
  • 1 tin plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp English mustard
  • 1 tbsp horseradish sauce
  • 4 tbsp date syrup
  • 5 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 150ml red wine vinegar
  • 2 large red chilis, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Fry the onion in the oil using a medium heat until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and fry for a further two minutes, adding the chili for another minute or so's cooking. Add all the other ingredients to the pan, stirring well, and cook for 10 minutes before removing from the heat. At this stage the mixture will look pretty poisonous: don’t worry! Leave it to cool for 15 minutes, then blend well in a blender until smooth. Return the mixture to the pan, and cook for a further 30-40 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally..

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