Salsas & Sauces/

Red Chile Adobo Sauce

This is Rick's alternative to turkey gravy for his Mesquite Grilled Turkey.  The finished sauce will keep for days if refrigerated, well covered. 


  • 1/3cup vegetable oil
  • 12medium (about 6 ounces)dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into flat pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2teaspoonsdried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
  • 1teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
  • 1/2teaspoon cumin, preferably freshly ground
  • 1/4teaspoon cloves, preferably freshly ground
  • 1/2cup cider vinegar
  • 4cups chicken or turkey broth (use the turkey neck and giblets for making broth)
  • Salt
  • 2 to 3tablespoons Sugar


Measure the oil into a large skillet and set over medium heat. When hot, oil-toast the chiles 1 or 2 pieces at a time until very toasty smelling and blistered, only a few seconds per side. Pour off all but a generous film of oil from the skillet and set aside. Transfer the chiles to a large bowl and measure in 4 cups hot tap water; a small plate on top will keep the chiles submerged. Let rehydrate for about 20 minutes.

Measure the garlic, oregano, black pepper, cumin, cloves and vinegar into a blender or food processor. Pour in the rehydrated chiles, liquid and all (do this in two batches if necessary). Process the mixture to a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh strainer set over a bowl.

Set the chile-frying skillet over medium heat. When quite hot, add the adobo and stir until reduced to the thickness of tomato paste, about 10 minutes. Stir in the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes or so. The finished sauce should be quite light in texture, not watery, but just one stage thicker. (A good test is to pour a little on a plate and watch it spread: If it flows evenly, it’s right; if it doesn’t flow much and water begins separating around the edges, it’s too thick.) Season with salt (usually about 1 tablespoon) and sugar—it should be a little sweet-sour with a hint of saltiness. Serve warm.



    1. Hello Louise –
      This is one of the “Secret Weapons” from Rick’s upcoming cookbook. We use it for a number of recipes in this book and offer a bunch of other ideas about ways to use the sauce. You can preorder your book here:

      Additionally, I have copied a few recipes below that use the sauce:

  1. On May 2, 2015 I viewed a presentation for preparing barbacoa in a slow cooker and was referred to the website for the recipe; however, I was unable to find it. It looked and sounded great. Would you please e-mail the recipe to me. Thank you.

    Damon R. Capps

    1. Most any dried chillie will work. You could use Ancho Powder. Mix about 4 Tablespoons of powder, to 1/2 cup Hot Water, but, Chicken Stock is best.. Mix in powder and water to desired thickness.

  2. Just made this using Ancho, Pasilla, & Mulato chilles. Made pork adobo with some loin chunks I had left over. Great taste, but should have used a little bit fatter pork. Meat was a little dry. Will make again. Great Adobo.

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