Ancho Fig BBQ Sauce: The perfect summer BBQ sauce. Slightly sweet and spicy and ready in minutes! Slather it on any grilled or smoked meat or, my favorite, macaroni and cheese! From the Franklin Barbecue Cookbook!
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Franklin Ancho Fig BBQ Sauce

Welcome to Spring Cookbook Week on Macheesmo! I’ll be posting recipes from five cookbooks this week and giving away copies! All winners will be announced next Friday (06/05).

There are some (Okay. A lot.) cookbooks out there that are all about practicality. They focus on reducing the time it takes to cook or using just a few ingredients to make dinner. In other words, shortcuts.

There’s a time and place for these books, but on the other end of the spectrum are books like FRANKLIN BARBECUE. If you’re unfamiliar with Franklin Barbecue, you’ve probably never been to Austin. It’s an institution there and people will wait for hours to try their barbecue. I was lucky enough to get to eat there a few years ago and it was undoubtedly the best barbecue I’ve ever had.

Well, Aaron Franklin finally wrote a cookbook, but I’m not even sure cookbook is the right word. He (and his co-author Jordan Mackay) call it a manifesto and I think that’s closer.

Instead of the shortcut world, this book emphasizes the importance of honing a craft. It’s all about doing one thing well and with care. It’s not only a beautiful book and a fun read, but an inspiring look inside a specialized world.

To be honest, I wasn’t able to actually cook many of the recipes in this book because I didn’t want to do them halfway. I don’t have access to a proper smoker yet (although he gives photo instructions on how you can weld your own.)

So I made one of the few that I could out of the book: BARBECUE SAUCE.

Makes 6 cups
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...


Ancho Fig BBQ Sauce

Aaron Franklin’s recipe for ancho fig BBQ sauce. Not available at the restaurant but so good on a variety of things. I like it on macaroni and cheese!


4 dried ancho chiles, rehydrated in hot water
12 figs, fresh (and grilled) or dried
1/2 yellow sweet onion, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 (12 ounce bottle) stout beer
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fig preserves (or any fruit preserves)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarse black pepper

Helpful Equipment

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1) In a large skillet over medium heat, add the rehydrated and chopped chiles, chopped figs, onions, and butter. Cook for about 10 minutes.

2) Transfer those items to a blender along with sugar, beer, ketchup, vinegars, preserves, honey, and salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.

3) As the blender runs, add as much water from the chiles as needed to get the consistency you like. I added about 1 cup of reserved water, but it’s personal preference. Also, depending on the size of your blender, you might have to work in batches.

This recipe makes A LOT. It will keep fine in the fridge for two weeks or you could freeze it. You can also pretty easily halve the recipe.

Recipe from Franklin Barbecue.

Ancho Fig BBQ Sauce

Apparently they don’t serve this sauce in the restaurant, but use it for catered events occasionally. After trying it, I kind of want to put it on everything I eat.

After all, it starts with two of my favorite ingredients: Ancho chiles and figs. I wasn’t able to find fresh figs so I just used dried figs and they worked fine.

Figs and anchos.

Good start.

Add the peppers to a few cups of hot water to rehydrate them. You’ll also use the soaking water to help the sauce blend later so don’t toss it.

Ancho fig bbq sauce peppers.


Once the peppers are rehydrated, remove the seeds and chop them up. Then add them to a skillet with some chopped onion and the figs. Oh, and butter. This will smell good. Very good.

Fig BBQ sauce cooking.

Skillet mix.

Let that all cook together for about 10 minutes and that’s all the cooking this recipe requires. Everything else is just blended together so it’s actually much faster than many slow simmer bbq sauce recipes.

While the skillet things cook, you can add all the other ingredients to a blender.

Fig BBQ sauce in blender.

Cool layers.

They recommend using Left Hand milk stout and that happens to be my favorite stout so I was happy to oblige.

One for the blender and one for me.

Beer added.

Action shot.

Blend this up until it’s the consistency you like. Add enough of the reserved soaking water until it’s how you want it. There’s a pretty wide range of acceptable consistencies in my book. You could make it really thick so people have to spoon it on or thin it out so it’s easily squeezable.

Either way, the recipe makes about 6 cups so you might have to blend in batches. It’ll keep fine in the fridge for a few weeks or you could freeze it. You could also just half the recipe though if you don’t need almost half a gallon of sauce.

Ancho fig bbq sauce.

Done and delicious.

As you might guess, this is delicious on any sort of meat. But, I made a big batch of homemade mac and cheese and that worked really nicely.

Ancho Fig BBQ Sauce: The perfect summer BBQ sauce. Slightly sweet and spicy and ready in minutes! Slather it on any grilled or smoked meat or, my favorite, macaroni and cheese! From the Franklin Barbecue Cookbook!

The Franklin Barbecue Cookbook Giveaway!


This cookbook isn’t for everyone. In fact, I think it’s pretty specifically geared for two types of readers: First, if you just love reading cookbooks and peeking into a specialized world, you would love this book. The book is an easy and fun read and there are lots of anecdotes about early mornings and running a finicky restaurant. Second, if you have any interest at all in learning how to correctly smoke meat, then this is pretty much a must have. Everything from building a smoker to choosing wood to trimming and cutting briskets is included. At times it’s intimidating, but also makes me want to smoke something!

I’m giving away two copies! Use the below widget to enter or you can also just leave a comment!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Day 2 of cookbook week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

46 comments on “Franklin Ancho Fig BBQ Sauce

  1. This book looks amazing! My brother is an amazing welder so may be it is time to get him to make me a smoker.

    Thanks for all your great giveaways, recipes, and insights. Macheesmo is one of my all time favorite blogs.

  2. As a person who reads cookbooks like novels, this one looks very interesting. Also makes me want to go to Austin for BBQ !

  3. Franklin Barbecur is on my bucket list. Hope to make it to Austin this fall. His cookbook looks like a winner.

  4. Aaron is the best – thanks for sharing the recipe. Do you need to just put it on at the end – concerned that it could burn easily. Thanks!

  5. I love figs and we have just started to get into home BBQ. What a great sounding recipe and great looking cookbook.

  6. Sitting in an airport in Houston after a weekend trip that included plenty of (read: just enough) mesquite smoke–hope I win!

  7. Would love to try out some of these recipes….loved the comment about doing one thing and doing it right!

  8. It’s summer which means time to cook and this website is one of my “must reads”! Thanks!!

  9. Hey Nick;
    Thank-You so much for a chance to win this Book!!!
    For me, Cook Books are my Reading Books of choice!!! I Love to BBQ, and this would be a Wonderful Book that I would enjoy owning!!!
    Take Care :-)

  10. Thank you for running such an awesome blog! Not only is it well-organized and regularly updated, but your recipes are AMAZING.

  11. Hmmm, a fave meal…it’s all good. Maybe a smoked brisket with cole slaw and potato salad.

  12. I recently found out that BBQ sauce has loads of sugar and carbs which I was very upset because it was one of my favorite condiments But my health is more important…So this recipe puts a smile on my face because I could now enjoy my BBQ sauce in a healthy way thanks!

  13. Franklin’s!!!!!!!!! OMG the best! I would LOVE to win this almost as much as I love cooking BBQ!

  14. I’ve always loved cutting up 2 whole chickens and slowly grilling them, basting w/my homemade bbq sauce, making potato salad and coleslaw to complete the meal. This cookbook seems like the truest form of home cooking w/a flair for fresh taste! thank you for the chance to win

  15. This was amazing. Easy, delicious. Funny thing was I have Aaron Franklin’s Manifesto (It arrived the other day) and hadn’t cracked it yet. This is a new addition to my regular bbqs. Thanks.

  16. Just found this great recipe, tried it out and it’s really good. It has had a great acceptance in our restaurant. We sell chicken wings in BBQ sauce. However, there were some comments on that it seems to be lacking something. Any ideas on how to boost it a bit? Chile Anchor is very easy to find here in Mexico, fresh figs, I harvested over 300 kilos from our seven trees this year. The Mexicans like things hot and spicy,we get through almost twenty litres of Chile Manzano dip a week so I was thinking that maybe a touch of Chile chilpotle in the sauce might do the trick just to vamp it up somewhat. Would really appreciate any comment because the recipe is excellent. Thank you for your time, greetings from Mexico.

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