Commando Dave's BBQ

Fire-Roasted Enchilada Sauce

Get ready for a game-changing enchilada that will blow your socks off and make you question why you ever used the store-bought stuff. Simple to make, complex in flavor, and versatile to use, this enchilada sauce is a great way to take advantage of your grill while you’re getting it up to temperature to smoke meats. I use this sauce as the basis for my Smoked Brisket Enchiladas.

Fire-Roasted Enchilada Sauce

A wonderful sauce that capitalizes on the complex flavors of wood smoke and the caramelization that happens when heat meets food. I'm telling you, Grill Commandos, this superb sauce is the stuff dreams are made of: simple to make, powerful and complex in flavor, and a versatile complement to so many BBQ staples. Say goodbye to the canned enchilada sauce and hello to your new favorite. Use it with my Smoked Brisket Enchiladas or as an accompaniment to my Yucatan Pulled Pork.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 hr
Course: sauce
Cuisine: BBQ, Mexican
Keyword: Enchiladas
Calories: 398kcal

Equipment

  • 1 grill (direct heat)
  • 1 blender
  • 1 Dutch Oven
  • 1 extra long tongs
  • 1 slotted spoon

Ingredients

  • 12 heirloom red tomatoes I use vine-ripened heirloom red tomatoes, but you're welcome to try other varieties
  • 4 whole dried guajillo chiles You can substitute dried ancho or Padilla chili peppers as well
  • 2 tbsp dried Mexican oregano You can find Mexican oregano online or at a Latin foods market (or the Latin food section at your grocery store). Note that Mexican oregano is NOT the same as Italian or Greek oregano. They are entirely different plants and you can't substitute them.
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt You can add more salt to taste.
  • 2 cups water The water is used to rest and reconstitute the charred guajillo peppers.

Instructions

  • Heat your grill for direct (over the coals) cooking and place your tomatoes and dried chiles close to the grill. Note: Mise en Place (everything in its place) is important with this recipe as you are working with high heat.
  • Using extra-long tongs, place your tomatoes on the grill
  • Turn the tomatoes once the skin begins to wrinkle and start to char, about 2-3 minutes each side.
  • Remove the tomatoes once they are browned on all sides, and set them in a bowl to rest. Please note that they will soften somewhat, but you don't want them to burst and lose all that delectable juice.
  • Place the dried guajillo chilis on the grill.
  • Watch the chilis closely and turn every 30 seconds until they start to turn a deep mahogany color (almost blackened). Note in the photo the difference between the colors (the top chilis are done).
  • Remove the chilis from the grill and place them in a bowl with 2 cups of water.
  • Place a bowl or other heavy object on top of the chilis so that they are submerged. We want the chilis to reconstitute and soften in the water.
  • After the chilis have reconstituted (about 30 minutes), drain and discard the water and set the chilis aside.
  • Gather your tomatoes, chilis, and dried ingredients together to make the sauce.
  • In order, place the tomatoes and chilis in the blender, followed by the salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and Mexican oregano.
  • Blend together until the mixture is mostly smooth and fully incorporated.
  • Heat the Dutch oven over a low-medium heat and pour the sauce from the blender into the Dutch oven.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer and, using a slotted spoon, stir the sauce periodically to ensure the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom of the Dutch oven.
  • Cook the sauce for 20-30 minutes until it thickens and browns further. Immediately remove from the heat and let cool.
  • Use immediately or transfer to a covered container and refrigerate. The sauce can be refrigerated for 3-4 days (as if it will last that long once your eaters taste it!) or can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.

Notes

Safety first: I use extra-long tongs and welding gloves since I'm working over a VERY hot grill and don't want to add to my collection of burn scars...
Mise en place (French for "putting in place" or gathering your ingredients together) is critical when working with temperature-sensitive items, including roasting vegetables over a hot flame. I use mise en place as a general principle for all of my cooking (it takes a lot of stress off of me, especially with brain damage and memory loss). Mise en place is a must for grilling, and you'll be glad you prepared in advance.
To the good stuff: I'm not kidding about how amazing this enchilada sauce is. This sauce is a game-changer, especially for brisket enchiladas. One of the folks I served this to swore she'd bathe in it if I made a big enough batch... 
Another great element of this recipe is that you can adjust the seasonings to fit your taste buds (i.e., more chilis to up the heat; less for a milder sauce). As with the truly great recipes in the history of cooking, the sauce has only a few ingredients, so quality and care make a huge difference. 
Bon appetit, Grill Commandos!

Nutrition

Calories: 398kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 4906mg | Potassium: 4230mg | Fiber: 31g | Sugar: 46g | Vitamin A: 18655IU | Vitamin C: 207mg | Calcium: 440mg | Iron: 15mg
  • Get ready for a game-changing enchilada that will blow your socks off and make you question why you ever used the store-bought stuff. Simple to make, complex in flavor, and versatile to use, this enchilada sauce is a great way to take advantage of your grill while you're getting it up to temperature to smoke meats. I use this sauce as the basis for my Smoked Brisket Enchiladas.

don't worry
be happy.