charred pepper steak sauce

This is Alex‘s birthday week, which, in case you’re new here, means that there’s an open package of bacon in the fridge, the promise of oysters, shrimp cocktail, small-batch bourbon and babysitters on the horizon, butter and chocolate will soon align to meet their many-candled cake destiny and I, well, I bought some steak. I bet you’d imagine that a guy married to gal who likes to cook things that make people happy would be frequently entitled to his favorite food on earth, made at home, just because it’s a Tuesday. Well, once every year or so, that is exactly what happens.

broiled red pepper
so you don't lose any pepper juices

This is also that point in the summer where pretty much every human being I know is either at their own beach house or a guest in someone else’s right now. If you’re in the former category, well, la-de-dah, okay? If you’re in the latter category, I know a secret: You are totally going to get invited back next year because I have just the hostess gift for you to bring. You’re welcome.

peppers and tomatoes and spice


I’m not going to lie; I hadn’t given a single thought to steak sauce before I made this. I don’t eat a lot of steak thus I don’t have a beloved steak sauce, thus my expectations were limited when I found this recipe in Tasting Table last month and by the way, do you get Tasting Table? I discovered it a year or two ago and it’s about the best thing that lands in my inbox each day and no, nobody paid me to say that. Their restaurant suggestions almost always lead to excellent discoveries and I love their newer cooking content, even more so after this recipe because, holy moly, guys. This is one of the best surprises to come out of my kitchen in eons.

simmered for a bit
you can strain it for a smoother texture

I ate wanted to eat it (Because I’m dignified and stuff. I also have a bridge to sell you.) off a spoon. Sure, it’s good on steak but I have a feeling it’s going to be the new ketchup/barbecue/dang this chicken is dry tonight and needs a little something-something (What? It happens.) sauce around here for a while, because it’s amazing. You char a red bell pepper under the broiler, remove the seeds, and blend it up, blackened skin and all, with tomato puree, a bit of olive oil, balsamic, Worcestershire, molasses and a bunch of spices from ground ginger to mustard to onion powder and allspice. You cook this mixture for 15 minutes, you pour it on steak and then after that, you throw away every bottled condiment in your fridge because they had a good run. You appreciate their years of service. You hope they’ll find their new digs suitable and understand that it wasn’t them and it wasn’t you either. It was this punchy rust-colored jar of unparalleled steak awesomeness put them out of business, and it’s really not sorry.

charred pepper steak sauce

Condiments, previously: Barbecue Sauce, plus some pickles [Wow, is that it? Time to make some mustard!]

Two years ago: Zucchini and Almond Pasta Salad
Three years ago: Lighter Airy Pound Cake
Four years ago: Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing (Guys, this is one of my favorite salads on the site.) Key Lime Meltaways
Five years ago: Mixed Bean Salad

Charred Pepper Steak Sauce
Barely adapted from Tasting Table’s test kitchen

It is shameful how little I adapted this recipe, and a testament to awesomeness that is stumbling upon a recipe that is a rare hole-in-one. Nevertheless, I made a few, tiny tweaks: my pepper took longer to char, because I have the world’s worst broiler; I add some salt specificity because I’ve learned the hard way how drastically different Kosher salt can affect a recipe; I used a smidge less allspice. Finally, I cooked it for a lot longer than suggested, because I felt it thickened up better and had more of a saucy cooked taste after simmering for a while (rather than just until the first bubbles appear, as suggested). I hope you love this as much as we do.

Someone is about to ask if you can can this and my early research suggests that you can. Update: It’s a Can’t Can (unless you have a pressure canner). However, I think it would keep really well in the freezer.

Yield: 1 2/3 to 2 cups steak sauce. We would not have minded doubling this.

1 red bell pepper, small was suggested, I used a large and didn’t regret it
2/3 cup canned or fresh tomato purée
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon molasses
3/4 teaspoon table salt or more to taste
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Preheat your broiler. Place your pepper on a baking sheet and cook it under the broiler until all sides are charred, turning with with tongs as needed. Don’t skimp on the charring as this skin will add a fantastic flavor dimension. Mine took about 15 minutes, but I have a terrible broiler. Yours might only take 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer pepper to a mesh sieve set over a blender jar or food processor work bowl to cool until you’re able to handle it, about 15 minutes.

Tear open the pepper and remove the seeds and membranes with your fingers or a paring knife. Add the pepper (with its skin) to the blender along with the remaining ingredients. Puree mixture until as smooth as possible. Transfer mixture to a small saucepan. Simmer it gently over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. It will yield a fairly smooth that can be used as is, but if you’d like a smoother consistency, you have two options: running it back through the blender or food processor again (I got a smoother blender after the fibers had cooked down more on the stove) or pressing it through that fine-mesh sieve (I started doing this, then decided it wasn’t worth the trouble).

Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for one week, though I suspect it will keep for two.

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249 comments on charred pepper steak sauce

  1. Danielle

    Any idea how this might be preserved longer? Sounds fabulous and delicious, but I tend to use sauces like this sparingly (I know, crazy right?).

  2. Thank you! This looks amazing. We will try it as soon as possible. (likely tomorrow!)

    In my canning experience, one would need a pressure cooker/canner for this, as it’s not very acidic. I don’t have any pressure canning experience, unfortunately, as this would make great winter holiday gifts. (And peppers are terribly expensive, un-local, and un-tasty during the winter. Yuck.)

  3. Chris

    I don’t think it has enough acid for water bath canning. Peppers aren’t acidic like tomatoes or plums, and there isn’t much vinegar. Pressure-can it, or I would bet it freezes well.

  4. I’ll be curious to hear how your canning question is answered, but my general rule of thumb is that if it didn’t come from someplace that specifically says yes to canning and has tested it and knows for sure it won’t give me terrible diseases or make me really sad by spoiling on the shelf, well, I just freeze it.

  5. I love charred peppers. I used to make charred peppers and garlic salad all the time while I lived in Europe. So, I am sure this sauce is just delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  6. WINNING! This sauce sounds awesome AND so easy to whip up! Happy summer. I am working stiff WEEKENDS as well – I’m in the garment center well it’s only called that now even tho there is no center left in NYC. A girl can dream of being away :).

  7. Katy

    If only my boyfriend weren’t allergic to bell pepper *sigh* I may have to try this with a spicier pepper – poblano perhaps?

  8. AndiK

    Any suggestions for a Worcestershire sauce substitution? I’m allergic to it. Maybe a dash of liquid smoke? Or should I just leave it out?

    1. deb

      For Worcestershire (does anyone else high-five themselves when they spell it right the first time? just me? siiiigh), I’d probably use soy and a single droplet of hot sauce.

  9. I was just reading a post about wood fire grilling and now you come and slap me with the perfect sauce for a juicy piece of grilled meat. I have some sauce to make. I am licking my fingers in anticipation. And there´s no charred skin removal! That is such a bonus.

  10. Karen @ SoupAddict

    Andi, it depends on what you’re allergic to. If it’s not fish (WS sauce has anchovies), try fish sauce (the good stuff – smells terrible, makes everything it touches taste fabulous). If you’re allergic to the gluten in the WS sauce, try a gluten-free version (they do make them). Otherwise, I’d go with soy sauce with bit a bit liquid smoke. Unless you’re allergic to soy. :)

  11. Jessie

    Did you splurge on steak from the Japan Premium Beef store on Great Jones? I’ve been meaning to try that place out, and this sauce is a great excuse!

  12. LG

    Well, we just decided on grilled chicken and yukon golds for dinner and here was this recipe in my feed. Perfect? Yes, I think perfect.

    1. deb

      Hi LB — I don’t have a grill, however, I personally feel that I have better luck with skirt steak inside in a big cast-iron skillet than I do outside if it’s a gas grill. I just can’t get them hot enough to get a good sear before cooking the steak through. So, I try to get the steak to room temperature, just season the heck out of it with more salt and pepper than you think you’ll need, get a skillet really hot (medium-high), add oil, heat that too, and sear it for about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side and about 3 on the second for medium-rare.

      Jessie — No! I’d never heard of it but will have to check it out. I either buy my meat at the Greenmarket or from Whole Foods (the one on Houston has a nice selection of local and other slightly more humane meats).

      Brittany and others with ingredient questions — You can leave out any ingredient you don’t care for. There are a lot of flavors going on here so it doesn’t hinge so drastically on one or two (aside from the pepper, of course) that you can’t fiddle around or leave out something you don’t want to eat without doing the sauce much harm.

  13. Sue

    I have a fabulous rib sauce I make and the recipe makes a ton. It looks similar to this and it freezes perfectly; I bet this would also!

  14. Sequoia N.

    I think this will go on just about any protein I could cook… including grilled tofu like I want to make tomorrow night! Thanks deb! you have done it again :-)

  15. I’m not sure how I ended up getting Tasting Table, but I’m totally with you. They had a pickled zucchini recipe last summer which was kind of like the one from Zuni Cafe cookbook (but better, shh…) and I bookmarked a maple syrup and thyme panna cotta last fall that I hope to make when the leaves start to turn. I somehow missed this recipe but am glad you’re spreading the Tasting Table love.

  16. Yes! Drooled and bookmarked in the span of 11 seconds. The summer squash that come in our CSA are the round, squat ones, so I must be the only person in the world who is currently on a mission to find MORE zucchini. (Tonight’s squat squash were cooked into a lovely tomatoey barley salad. Good, yes. But I want those noodles!) Here’s the pickled zucchini from last year. Legit delish. (And if you read down at the bottom of the comments, the Tasting Table love comes through.)

  17. Kristy

    Read this to my husband and he thought it sounded fantastic as well! We’re always looking for some extra yumminess for chicken or steak.

  18. OH MAN does this ever sound wonderful! I would eat it on all kinds of things besides steak, too–how does pulled pork or seared tempeh sound? BRILLIANT.

  19. Well hello gob-smacking loveliness in a sauce! Thanks Deb – it’s almost feeling like spring here in oz, so I’m definitely going to give this a try. (YES to putting it on pulled pork too, #39 Eileen! Yum!)

  20. Juliet

    Ohhhh, we’re getting so close to summer here in NZ, i can’t wait to make this. And while i do make my husband grill outside even in winter, i’m not paying $3.50 for a capsicum that tastes of nothing. I shall have to wait. And look forward to asparagus instead.

  21. I’m not a big fun of steak, but I think this sauce would be a great substitute for ketchup or BBQ! Plus, I really like peppers so I’ll be definitely trying it out as soon as I get my hands on some good meat!
    Thanks for sharing :)

  22. Jessica

    I love Tasting Table! That’s cool you get it too, & that you’re spreading the love. Their email about “asian brie” recently was too much. I want to figure out how to make it!

  23. I’m new here. Happily, I found this site a couple of months ago. I do a sauce similar to this, using peppers, tomatoes, anchovies lots of garlic and olive oil, and it is very tasty. Or, as the old woman in the hot pepper sauce ad says, “I eat that s*&t on everything!

  24. Jenna

    Yum, I’ve been looking for a good chimichurri sauce recipe (I like thick chimichurri, a lot are too thin) – this looks delicious! My partner’s a far bigger steak fan then I, looks like he’s in luck this week!

  25. If I lived in the U.S., instead of West Africa (where a lot of ingredients are really hard to find or CRAZY exensive) I’d probably cook everything on your website!

  26. I’m vegetarian so this will have to go on some tofu or seitan… or maybe even just veggies. In fact, I think this would be /amazing/ over breakfast potatoes.

    By the way, another tip for charring bell peppers: Just turn the flame on your gas stove on and plop the pepper right on top, turning with tongs as needed to get all the sides blackened. I prefer this over broiling them because it’s less risky — you can see exactly when they get to the perfect point of char and flip quickly, instead of having to constantly check the broiler and then throw your hands up in frustration when it overcooks.

    1. amativus

      Just wanted to say THANK YOU for this tip. I’ve made this sauce a few times now and I always roast the pepper on the gas stovetop instead; it’s way easier to turn the pepper and make sure I get everything blackened – and it doesn’t heat up my entire kitchen in summer the way the broiler does.

  27. My B-day week also, will you make all those things for me too, please?
    I used to make my own Bday dinner but got smarter as I got older and now I pick a dish I have never had and go to a place that does it well and let them spoil me. Then I come home, try to duplicate it and am seriously disappointed…lol
    Somehow I know I would not be disappointed if I wish upon this dish…..
    Happy Birthday Alex!!

  28. belmontmedina

    If anyone out there has a fancy pH meter (as in NOT the kind you use for soil), the rule is that anything at a pH of 4.6 or below is safe to boiling water can. So in theory, you could test the pH and you’d know immediately if it was safe to water bath can. My guess is that Chris is right, and it’s not acidic enough.

    (just a little canning background)

  29. Jennifer

    I just bought a pressure canner AND my pepper plant is full of delicious red peppers that need to be picked. Double score! I know what I’m doing today :D

  30. Diana

    Deb, we are getting a batch of red snapper from our fish csa today.(Santa Barbara living!) do you think it would be good with fish?

    1. deb

      Diana — So good! You can also tweak it if there are additional flavors you like with your grilled fish.

      lori — Mustard powder.

      belmontmedina — I have a very stupid question about pH levels and canning. Last week, I attended a canning demo with one of my canning heroes, Marisa from and she, too, mentioned the pH level concern. I didn’t get to ask her this but I remember waaaay back in science lab in grade school that we had these papers that we’d dip in liquids at a litmus test to see acidity levels. They were so simple and probably not terribly expensive to acquire. Does anyone use those for canning? Is this a ridiculous question? You can tell me. I don’t mind.

  31. Like M. @ Stuffed Grapes, I too char my peppers right on my gas range over a low flame. It may fill my apartment with a pepper scented haze, but it gets the job done. Gotta break out my brand new Cuisinart for this sauce!

    1. deb

      Badger — I don’t find it easier but if you have a charring technique you prefer, definitely use it. It doesn’t matter how it gets charred.

  32. Zanitta

    If your broiler is terrible, why not just char it over the open flame of your gas hob? I get a pair of tongs and leave it in the flame until it’s blacked, then turn. Pop it in a ziplock bag one it’s all black and it will steam itself in a few minutes so you can pull the skin off, but for this recipe I guess you would just blitz it and not worry about that.

    1. deb

      Re, charring the pepper on the gas flame — It should work. I actually prefer the broiler method, however, because it cooks the pepper a bit more. I wanted my pepper to be good and tender before I pureed it so it would eventually dissolve in the sauce better. The sauce is not cooked for long on the stove.

  33. I love mixing A1 steak sauce with ketchup–my parents think I’m absolutely nuts. But, more than that, I love creating condiments from scratch just to see if I can. This is AWESOME that you have a recipe for a homemade steak sauce! I am SO going to try it!

  34. Orange juice? Ginger?! I would have never thought to put these items all together. I make roasted pepper things all the time but you totally have me beat. This is beautiful.

  35. As an omnivore who married a vegetarian, and now only cooks vegetarian at home (people always ask, somehow thinking I have both time and inclination to cook *two* dinners every night), this sauce sounds like it could add some serious pizzazz to our veggies. thanks!

    Another canning question for people who know- would this perhaps can properly if you add a splash(es) of lemon juice to each jar before adding the sauce?

  36. Is this stuff strictly for putting on the food after it’s cooked? Or would I want to brush some on my chicken before I grill/broil it and then serve some with it afterward?

  37. Jasmine

    Love the look of this sauce! And, amazingly, I have all the ingredients already, including several nearly ripe bell peppers growing on my deck that I was wondering what to do with.

  38. Benjamin

    I see a couple of posters tackled this above, but I usually skip Worcestershire sauce altogether because I never use enough to keep from wasting most of even the smallest bottles. Here’s what I do:

    1 part soy sauce
    1 part cider vinegar
    1 part tamarind paste (which can be frozen so I don’t waste what I don’t use)
    couple drops of some kind of hot pepper sauce (Louisiana around here)

  39. I’m SO making this tonight for company coming over, except I’m going to serve it over pan-seared sole. I know….light fish, heavy sauce. But: I DON’T CARE! I bet they’re going to love it, anyway! :-)

  40. This sounds just simply great. I love that you didn’t use ketchup in the sauce, but gave it the same base. My husband is an I-can-eat-steak-every-breakfast/lunch/dinner-type guy, so I’m sure he will devour this! Thank you!

  41. robin

    Actually it seems ok to water-bath can, given your proportions. Peppers are often added in similar amounts to salsas, and the orange juice in this recipe can stand in relatively well for the lemon juice or vinegar typically used to acidify water-bath recipes. The hubbub about botulism is a good preventative measure, to make people think twice about canning safety, but it’s really very simple to make up new recipes and ensure food safety. As a couple of commenters have mentioned, get yourself some inexpensive pH strips and test it. Under 4.7 and you’re good to go.

  42. Loren

    Deb – did you underchar your pepper a bit for the photo? It certainly looks pretty – just trying to figure out whether, if I char them in my usual way (until they are little black-as-coal lumps with bits of green on top and the fire alarm is going off, which is, of course, how I know they are done), the char will overpower the sauce.

    You did mention that char doesn’t matter, but I took that to mean method of char, not relative degree of char.

    1. deb

      Loren — Mine was moderately charred. It could have been charred more; my broiler (which had held up for an unprecedented 15 minutes) then died again and I quit. I don’t think the method matters terribly. You should get as much char on it as you prefer.

  43. mpb

    I frequently use pH paper in my currently line of work (gynecology – I’ll spare everyone the details as this is a food blog). The substance being tested needs to be relatively clear or neutral otherwise it obscures the color of the paper which indicates acidity. For example, dipping the pH paper in the delicious steak sauce would just look orangish-red on the paper. But such a great idea! Other thoughts?

  44. knifegirl

    mpb–I was thinking the same thing. I have a hard enough time deciphering the pH level with clear(ish) liquids. It would be impossible with pepper sauce. Eugenia Bone in her book Well-Preserved says she tested the pH of her finished product by allowing it to rest for two or three weeks, then making a slurry using distilled water if necessary and then testing the slurry with a pH meter.

  45. This looks awesome!! Can’t wait to try it…yes, we do have steaks more often than I’d like to admit! By tomato puree, do you mean tomato paste or canned crushed tomatoes? I’m from Asia…the labels are a bit different? :)

  46. Staci

    My husband’s birthday is this weekend and steak at home is a once or twice a year treat for him as well. I can’t wait to make this for him!! Thank you!

  47. Willy

    I think this is the most beautiful phrase I’ve ever read:
    “butter and chocolate will soon align to meet their many-candled cake destiny”
    Thank you.

  48. KWienhold


    Can you suggest a replacement for the onion powder? I’m allergic to the powdered form of onions. Regular onions (raw or cooked) are fine.

  49. Theresa

    Deb – made this last night and it was delicious. Any suggestions for what else to use it on? It’s got that tangy steak sauce flavor, but I’m wondering if it could be a sauce on something that isn’t meat?

  50. Anita

    Made this last night and it was delicious. I omitted the onion powder as I didn’t have any, and somehow forgot to add the OJ, but it was not missed.

  51. This looks super delicious. I cannot eat Worcestershire sauce (and yes, I feel smart if I spell it right the first time) as a vegetarian, because almost all versions have a bit of anchovy in them. However there are a number of options for substitutions.

    Also, my first reaction was that this was like harissa until I decided to look up harissa recipes. I will have to make some and use it on roasted vegetables!

  52. I haven’t made it yet, but it seems fairly reminiscent of a finely processed romesco sauce? Or am I completely off with that? I know the spice profile is different, so it could take a different path.

    If it is, I will want to bathe in it. I LOVE romesco sauce. :-)

    @KWienhold: Since you have to blend it once (if not twice) I would say you could sweat or even caramelize a chopped onion and add it before the blend? Or as a previous poster commented, it would likely still be delicious without it.

  53. Christina

    I just made this on a whim for tonight’s dinner and it was the best part of the entire meal! I could skip the steak, actually! Thanks for sharing!

  54. Jen

    Made this tonight to go on our burgers- YUM! Also dipped grilled zucchini & summer squash in it, and it was delicious. Doubled the recipe and plan to eat it on grilled chicken, possibly mixed in with egg noodles or other pasta.

    I would have no idea how to spell Worcestershire except that my college roommate used to pronounce it phonetically!!

  55. Peggy

    Happy birthday to Alex! I used to work with him when he was just a college baby and it’s so nice to see all of you so happy! You do a great job and I can’t wait to try this. I made your zucchini cakes from last year, and it was the first real veggie my 4 year old has eaten…even if it was fried! He even asked for more!

  56. i have never made my own steak sauce! this looks like a dream in those photos. what would you think of using half a bell pepper and a couple of jalepenos? too crazy?

  57. Charlie

    I just made this, it’s bubbling away on the stove right now! It is just super super delicious, great recipe! My boyfriend is a chilli-fiend so I also got a red chilli-pepper in there too, just popped it under the grill with the pepper. Going to serve it this evening with steaks and corn-cobs.

    Love your site so much!

  58. Love your sweets, but you’ve knocked me silly with rosy beef and this sauce. I adore charred veggies in just about any permutation. One of my favorite things to do is to load up a large disposable aluminum roaster with tomatoes, onions, peppers and other goodies, place it on the grill for a couple of hours and then puree the roasted and charred goodness before it gets packed and frozen. (directions on my site) I have some of my homemade paste that I think I’ll use to make your steak sauce. Any excuse for grilled meat. Thanks mucho.

  59. Dumped all your condiments, huh? This stuff must be magic, it sure sounds like it. I can see it as a side condiment with crunchy roasted rosemary potatoes, or slathered over some kind of fish I don’t much like (tilapia) to give it flavor.

    I wonder if it would be good with a bit of leftover pork and some veggies in a corn tortilla? I bet it would! Off to the fridge!

  60. Thanks for the charred pepper steak sauce recipe. This would be perfect when you are willing to go the extra mile. It seems like your husband has the great birthdays.

  61. Catie

    My first smitten kitchen recipe! (I know, where have I been!) the boyfriend hates sauce on his steak. . . But then had seconds of this sauce. Then we put it on the veggies. Then just ate it by the spoonful. Thank you!

  62. JP

    Haven’t read through all the comments to see if this was mentioned, but Cook’s Illustrated suggests opening the peppers so they are flattened, charring them really well under the broiler and then putting them in a bowl with plastic wrap over the top to cool. Then peel them and the peel slips right off for the most part. By the way, these freeze perfectly too, if you have an over abundance. I guess your sauce would also.

  63. Nancy Peacock

    Made this and it was so good.
    I think I could drink a small glass of it!
    We had it on steak tonight and I think I’ll try it on chicken too.

    Thanks Deb!

  64. Marcia

    Re Canning:Jam is O.K. because the sugar is a preservative as well as the acidity of the fruit.Old jam makers (like both my Grandmas ) would sterilize any old jars put the jam in them and seal with processing. I process all my jams in a water bath..same goes for pickles and relishes..sugar plus vinegar or lemon juice..sugar also helps the jam to set , so you can reduce the sugar a little but not a whole lot for both set and wholesomeness. The USDA now even suggests adding lemon juice to each quart of tomatoes that you can and process due to the lower acidity of many varieties of tomatoes. The USDA also publishes guidelines for canning and freezing. Another valuable resource is the
    BALL BLUE BOOK which costs just a few dollars (used to be free!) , and is updated every few years. The ratios are fairly well established as are processing times which differ according to the size of the jars. If you are new at this , go with recipes from a reliable source and don’t wing it too much until you have some experience..( early on I reduced sugar too much and had things go moldy..yech. ) otherwise freeze. As long as you are cautious which becomes second nature, there is nothing quite as satisfying as the “PING” made by jars you have just canned.

  65. Jane

    This looks delicious! Anything with charred pepper is A-one in my books :)

    Now, I think the question that still lingers is….what kind of epic chocolate cake will Alex be getting this year?

  66. Laura

    Re: pH paper.

    I work in the sciences. As mpb said, if you’re going to use litmus paper, the liquid you’re dipping it into has to be clear and relatively colorless. Also, litmus paper is not terribly accurate, so it probably wouldn’t be a great tool for guaranteeing food safety in canning.

    BUT! What would be perfect for checking pH levels in food you intend to can is a pH meter. It’s a simple device, they usually have a probe and run on batteries. You insert the probe into the liquid, and the LCD screen will give you a reading on the pH level, with relatively good accuracy (+/-.1 or .2 units, depending on how good the meter is). Here is a great meter to use at home, it’s inexpensive, easy to use, and pretty accurate:

    Also, for funsies, here’s a great video on acid/base chemistry and pH, which may be helpful with canning tinkering:

  67. Laura

    Also, Deb, I love you. I have to go to a barbeque tomorrow and they told us not to bring any food but I feel sooo weeeird not bringing anything, so I’ll make this! Sauce is not food.

  68. JP

    I think your comments are being hacked (if that is the correct term)…check out #126 (I mean, don’t really go there, just look at what is in the comment)…I hate that…I bet you do too!

  69. Brad

    Okay, one more substitution question (my wife’s allergic to grapes, so no balsamic or white vinegar)… Would you just use about half as much Apple cider vinegar (as balsamic) and maybe something else for tangy-ness?


  70. Ellen

    I just made this tonight and slathered a little bit over some of your fabulous chicken meatballs. Yum. I plan to serve appetizer-sized meatballs at a party tomorrow: I’ll baste them with this before baking and then serve some in a bowl on the side (that way even the vegan can at least taste it).


  71. Dana

    Nooo, it’s not just you; I totally high-five myself when I spell Worcestershire correctly the first time. (I have to say it to myself (war-sester-shire) so I don’t put the h in after the c like the silly word sounds.

    On another note Amazon just sent me a notice that I can pre- order your book. Belated congratulations – but how did they … know?

  72. sarah

    Made this last night, and it was delicious and easy. I doubled it, and I have put the second batch in a zipper bag in the freezer to see how it holds up — can’t see why it wouldn’t work. I liked the flavor even before it simmered. Cooking it deepened the flavor, but I could see skipping the extra step on a hot night! Thanks so much for this one!

  73. Carrie

    Does this have a really strong mustard taste, because I pretty much dislike mustard entirely. However, for some reason I really like Heinz 57 sauce. Thoughts?

    1. deb

      Carrie — I think the mustard flavor is very mild. There’s a lot going on so it’s not something you can necessarily call out.

      Brad — I bet you can use the same amount. The brightness of vinegar usually dissipates upon cooking.

      Laura — Thank you! I am so glad someone cleared that up. I really do think about this stuff too much. I don’t can a lot but I would totally be the type to get a meter if I did. I’d rather have a meter than have to buy bottled lemon juice (which many canners use for consistency, as fresh lemon juice can have greatly varying acidity).

  74. Bella

    Just wanted to let you know that your site has started loading speedy fast! Did you upgrade your server? Whatever it is–it makes the SmittenKitchen instantly gratifying :)

  75. sarah

    Carrie of comment #140, I didn’t get a strong blast of any specific ingredient, since there is SO much goodness going on in this. I think you could easily ease up on the mustard if it’s not your thing.

  76. Shandy

    My six-year-old daughter and I made this for our steak dinner tonight. She ate everything with her hands, declaring it too good to bother with a fork. Thank you for a fantastic alternative to ubiquitous ketchup! Your recipes rock!

  77. Anna

    Made a double batch of this last night with 2 bell peppers and a jalepeno i found while i was cleaning out the fridge. It was fantastic! I didn’t get as pretty of a red color as in your photos, but i’m guessing that was because of the jalepeno? We had it on steak, with your roasted carrot and avocado salad on the side. Fantastic meal.

  78. Deb,

    This is a very interesting recipe. I am looking forward to trying it. We have made Roasted Bell Pepper Sauces before for fish dishes but never for steak. It looks like you may have given us a project this weekend…

    One Question –
    Have you ever considered running the roasted peppers through a food mill instead of a blender or food processor? A food mill fitted with the smallest disc would remove any residual skin or seeds. It might help eliminate the extra step of running the pulp through a seive after it has been cooked down. Just a thought…

    Anyway, we love your site. Thank you for providing us with hours of entertainment and inspiration.

  79. Melissa

    I made this sauce this weekend to go along with grilled ribeyes, potato gratin (from the Art of Simple Food), and steamed broc – it was delicious! We immediately thought of a LOT of other things to put the sauce on… Thinking grilled chicken tonight with leftover potato gratin…

  80. I’m always looking for great sauces to go with meat and veggies and this sauce is absolutely perfect for my taste! I love red bell peppers and enjoy spicing up a good cut of meat. Another wonderful recipe! Happy belated bday to Alex!

  81. jenny

    hi deb, this has nothing to do with your steak sauce recipe. i have an unrelated question. where did the button go on the bottem of each page that you can press to go to previous entires? i have to go to the recipe index now if i miss a week on your site to find new stuff. i keep looking and looking, but i can’t find it. help me!!

    1. deb

      Hi Jenny — The button was never on the bottom; it’s on the top and should still be there so you can arrow back and forth between posts. (It’s a favorite feature of mine too, and one I wish every blog had!) Do you see it? Please tell me if you don’t see it because I’d really want to get it fixed if so.

      Chris — Definitely you can use your food mill. However, in many roasted pepper recipes, the pepper skin is unpleasant. Here, it’s intentionally charred to add flavor, so I’d not want to remove it.

  82. Dileep

    Hi, I just tried this sauce…I love your site and your recipes are almost always awesome. This sauce just didn’t turn out quite good. It was kind of meh. Maybe i used too large a pepper…I dunno. Off to tweak it, I suppose.

  83. SMum

    You mention Kosher salt is best. Have a good resource for the different typs of salts? I never seem to know when to use table salt, pickling salt, kosher salt, sea salt…

    1. deb

      SMum — I actually have a preference for table salt in recipes. It’s cheap, everyone has it, and just about every brand matches in saltiness. (In Kosher salts, the weight, therefore saltiness, can vary greatly. A tablespoon of Morton brand, for example, weighs almost twice what Diamond brand does, which means people will can very different results in pickling, etc.) That said, when I think the texture of a salt will improve the final outcome, then I’ll call for a coarse or Kosher salt.

  84. PaulaS

    Oh how I wish you would go Paleo! I love your site and recipes but either can’t eat them or have to figure out a paleo substitute myself. I’m sure you would be much more successful at that than I. I will try coconut aminos to substitute for the W sauce tonight. Steak is definitely paleo, but not soy. I did a search for paleo on the site, and I see I am not the only one.

  85. Am I mistaken, or would this totally ROCK a platter of late summer grilled veg, eggplant, zukes, mushrooms? Maybe grilled haloumi?

    This sounds divine. Printing…

  86. Sarah

    This was fabulous! My husband has been complaining lately that our steak needed something new and this was exactly it… he probably said 10 times during the steak how good the sauce was… and it was super easy. Thanks!

  87. Emily

    I plan on making a double batch of the sauce, however I’m not big into canning. Nor do I think it’s worth the effort since I have a feeling this sauce is going to be eaten rather quickly in my household… I am wondering about freezing the sauce in individual ice cube trays, then I can defrost 1, 2, or 3 at a time when I’m ready to use them? Not having made the sauce yet and being unsure about the overall consistency, do you think this approach might work? Thanks!

  88. Ksenia

    PaulaS! As a fellow paleo I just wanted to share these two links to paleo food bloggers. I love smitten but for everyday meals it can be tough to browse and then spend an hour swapping non paleo items out, just hoping it would work! You may already know about these but I thought I’d share anyway. Maybe Deb could add these to her ‘Good Reads’ section just for Paleos?

    1. deb

      Jina — It really depends on how much baking and bread-making you do. If a bit, and you love it, you’ll want a KitchenAid. Personally, I use mine equally, but probably lean more towards the food processor. The thing is, if you don’t have a KitchenAid, you can still use a handmixer, even a cheap one, it’s just far less enjoyable. But making pesto or grinding nuts by hand? A ton of work.

  89. Adrienne

    Double batch made, I’ve added smoked paprika (2 Tbsp, mellow smokiness) and tamarind paste (1 tsp, tartness) to better match the elk sausages it’s going to be served with. Amazing stuff.

  90. beth

    Tried this, and I was just a bit disappointed that I didn’t taste enough of the roasted pepper flavor. Added some heat too. Would be good on meatloaf!

  91. PeterM

    Thanks for the recipe. I made it this evening and served it with steak, even though what I really wanted to do was eat it with a spoon. Rationale: put some cream in that and you’ve basically got a red pepper bisque, right?

  92. Michael

    Joey- I was wondering the same thing about the tomatoes (Australia here). I ended up just using a can of dice/crushed tomatoes and then letting it simmer for a little longer. Turned out great!

    And Deb- i came across your website many moons ago after some of my american students raved about you. Your food is always delicious and a joy to make. It keeps three twenty-something mates in my house very happy :)

  93. This steak sauce looks amazing! I love how deep orange it is. I can almost imagine how good it tastes with the molasses and tomato paste and the spices. Random note: I have the same glass container as you in the last picture.

  94. katzien

    Not that this needs another comment, but I’ve made this twice now, and oh-ma-goodness…it’s just so darn good. The second time I put a tsp of currey powder in. Also incredible. So like you say, it’s a go-to sauce for sauteing veggies or making tacos, or slathering on steaks, or marinating chicken, or adding to meatloaf or spreading on a burger bun. OH…I also make this whole thing in the sauce pan and use an immersion blender. It’s a one-pot wonder.

  95. katzien

    Vanessa, you could try Bragg’s Amino Acids instead of soy. I also add a good squeeze of Sriracha for some back-of-the-throat heat. ;-)

  96. D. Zaster

    I made this exactly according to the recipe (taking care to get a good, thorough char, as advised). Tastes great, it but needs a little heat – a squirt of Sriracha or tabasco or chili flakes, perhaps? I won’t be using it until tomorrow, so I wonder if the flavours will develop in the fridge overnight.
    Curious to know if the ground ginger in the recipe is supposed to be minced fresh ginger or the dried, powered kind. I used the latter.
    BTW – another great thing to make with roasted red peppers is Muhammara,a middle eastern dip that also contains walnuts, garlic and pomegranate molasses. REALLY good, with a great mix of flavours. I made the version on Epicurious, but cut down the amount of olive oil. There are several other versions to be found on the net.

  97. Jess

    Deb! After taking your advice and browsing around on Tasting Table, I found TOMATO BUTTER! Holy Hannah…just make it. I’ve already had it on pasta and bread and seafood. New favorite condiment (because what I really need in my life is another use for butter!). This steak sauce is up next. Great suggestion!

    1. deb

      Molla — You can use honey or another liquid sugar but you will lose the slight bitterness (and balancing of the acidic ingredients) that it imparts.

  98. Sarah

    I multiplied the recipe by 9 and canned it in 8 oz jars in my pressure canner. It was my first time using the pressure canner and the third time I canned. It came out beautifully!

  99. Made this steak sauce yesterday and, I too, wanted to eat it with a spoon. I made some changes. I used 3 peppers and blackened them (and I mean blackened) on my gas grill. I used an 8 oz can of tomato sauce, prepared dijon mustard, fresh grated ginger and brown sugar. I also added a clove of garlic.

    I suggest soy if Worchestershire sauce is a problem in any way. Just pull back on the salt a little.

    I can see a use for this in many contexts. I think it would be great with salmon.

  100. Abegail Redford

    My mom use the marinated sauce used in the steak then cook it with some honey and it can be an alternative for Worcestershire sauce. The taste is so authentic so I decided to try my own version and cook it with in our Deni convection oven. In my first try I think it is a failure but having some practice and reading magazines and blogs help me perfect my Mom’s charred pepper steak sauce version.

  101. jen

    how embarrassing… just posted the following comment to the wrong recipe. I meant it here:

    I just discovered roasted red pepper tomato soup and thought, where have you been all my life?!? so I can well imagine how great this tastes.

  102. Ams

    Hello Smitten Kitchen, first of all, I am so happy I found your site, your recipes are to die for! I made the sauce for my son’s bday, and everybody licked their plates! I would love to have a copy of your book (can we have it autographed?)

    1. deb

      Ams — Thank you. The book will be out on Oct. 30th. Preordering and other buying information is on this page, if you’re interested. In a week or so, I will announce the book tour dates and locations. It’s going to be crazy! That will give you the best chance to get the book signed. If those locations don’t work for you, well, stay tuned, we might have another solution in a month.

  103. Made this steak sauce yesterday and, I too, wanted to eat it with a spoon. I made some changes. I used 3 peppers and blackened them (and I mean blackened) on my gas grill. I used an 8 oz can of tomato sauce, prepared dijon mustard, fresh grated ginger and brown sugar. I also added a clove of garlic.

  104. Marie

    Followed this recipe exactly and it was great! It has a very nice blend of flavors and was a welcome alternative to the sweeter sauces. Even the teen-aged boys loved it, and they are not bell pepper fans. Definitely putting this in the “keeper” binder.

  105. Andreas

    Thank you for the recipe, made it today and we loved it.Really fits nicely to the steak, as well as to the fondant potatoes I made as a side dish.

    I processed it twice like your wrote, and it yielded such a smooth sauce that there was really no point in passing it through a sieve.

    One thought on the canning discussion: For this recipe measuring with a PH-meter should not be a problem, but for other stuff you have to take care: If the canned stuff contains junks you might get into a problem with those. It can happen that the liquid around the junks is acidic enough, but the junks themselves are not. Those “hotspots” can either persist, or the PH evens out in the jar, which would lower it.
    That’s also what knifegirl pointed at above.
    Should not be that big of a deal in this case, especially if you processed it a second time.

  106. Annie

    I made this on Saturday for my parents and it was a hit. I didn’t have allspice so I omitted that and instead of tomato puree I peeled some homegrown ones. At first I was a little worried because as it was simmering it tasted almost floral, but after it cooked down the flavors intensified and were wonderful. We had it on skirt steak and used the rest the next night on chicken. So. Bomb. I will definitely be making this again!

  107. I made this today. Everything was done per recipe except for I appropriately subbed dijon mustard for ground mustard. I also made it with a 5 small peppers from the CSA. They were called chocolate peppers and were brown. This made for a sauce that looks a lot like A1 haha. I can’t wait to eat this!! It was a little too sweet for me though (maybe using dijion instead of ground? maybe it didn’t cut through the sweetness of the molasses as well?) and I like spicy food so I added some Louisiana hot sauce. Maybe if you don’t use ground mustard my suggestion would be to cut the amount of molasses by half.

  108. oh yeah…. it tastes a lot like mole too (and in my case bc of the chocolate colored peppers, looks like it too) This could be a great sauce for enchiladas or any sort of mexican dipping foods.

  109. I love charred peppers. I’ve made a charred red pepper sauce that goes great with pasta. Also, a charred pepper aoili on sandwiches is great. Total carnivore here and will try this recipe soon!

  110. Jason

    Amazing! I made this last night and it was a huge hit. I used a very large red bell pepper. I added a bit more molasses, like 1/2 tbsp. Everything else I followed to a T.

    The next time I make this, I’m going to add some cayenne to give it a kick!

  111. Made this tonight to serve with flank steak and it got an instant thumbs up from my husband, who normally isn’t much of a sauce person. I followed the recipe exactly (except I didn’t process it a second time because I was starving) and it turned out great. I’m a big fan and I can’t wait for the book to come out!

  112. Mardi Wetmore

    I have a ton of 1/2 cup canning jars. I would store this in the canning jars and freeze them. That means you would have 1/2 cup in the refrigerator at any time and it probably wouldn’t go bad in the time it would take to consume the 1/2 cup.

  113. oh gosh this looks amazing. i’ve just bought a steak…and i’ve been reading up on the best way to cook steak, there are so many conflicting opinions…smitten kitten how do you do it? (room temparature?? / highest heat??)

    i live in Buenos Aires and run a little photo tour thing, and we usually take our clients to a parilla afterwards, where they cook steak on an open fire. seriously delicous but they often over-cook it

  114. Dimitra

    I have just tried a savoury recipe from your blog for the first time and this was it – it’s not that the rest of your recipes don’t look delicious but I come here chiefly for the dessert porn so… Anyway, this sauce blew my mind. We used it on everything and I have to say, it seriously upgraded our breakfast toasties: bread, nice bit of cheese, thin layer of sauce and in the toaster it goes. I am now contemplating making a hummus with some of this added to it.

  115. Roz

    Deb – Learning to cook in a micro-kitchen (we’re retiring to a 400 sq ft 5th wheel RV) just got easier…after finding you! Made this sauce using an emersion blender (I already gave away my food processor) – really smooth, really fast, really de-lish. We’re in SoCal so I had to add some heat – several large splashes of tabasco did the trick. Next time I think I’ll try papper flakes instead or fresh jalepeno. Having flank steak for dinner cannot wait.

  116. Jamie


    I’m up in Hell’s Kitchen. I get my meat from Espositos, an old-school Italian butcher (try their sausages). Anyway, I saw your note about cooking skirt steak on cast iron. That’s how I cook my skirts and hangars: hot as the iron gets, a bit of grapeseed oil (high smoke temp, no strong flavor), cook each side for a minute or so until nicely browned, then move the pan into a a 350 oven to finish for a minute (for rare) or longer, to bring up the interior temperature. No grilling for me, but this works well, and the iron seems to sear the meat nicely.

    I usually char poblanos for salsa / fhajitas, but I just set them on a burner on the gas stove, rotating with tongs as needed. I should try the broiller.

    Now I need to get myself a food processor, for this sauce. :)

  117. Nick

    I just came across this website for the first time today.

    I tried your recipe and used two small red peppers. Otherwise everything was exactly as you wrote it.
    It is simply a marvellous recipe. This has to be the best steak sauce I have ever tasted.
    Thank you for sharing.

  118. Wayne

    Made a batch exactly following the recipe. Wonderful.!!!’ Then I made a double batch with a few more additions. I added a few items for a tad more “kick”. I grilled all items on the grill. Added 1 sweet onion cut in quarters, I jalopino pepper and 1 pablano pepper, all coated with olive oil and grilled to charred. Added pinch of red pepper flakes and a pinch of cumin. Also added a hand full of fresh basil. I let the sauce simmer for about 45 minutes to thicken.

    I made some turkey meat balls and served the sauce over them with grilled mushrooms and onions and it was a hit! I will now add this sauce as “rated five stars”, when we have folks over for dinner!!! Good Stuff!

  119. Sarah

    Hey Deb,

    I have all but one of the ingredients at home to make this sauce (which sounds divine!). What would you recommend as a decent substitute for molasses?

    1. deb

      Sarah — I think you’ll be okay without it. It adds a mild sweetness and bitterness, but there are many other strong flavors there, you’ll be just fine.

    2. amativus

      I always make this recipe without molasses because I’m too lazy to buy molasses. It’s still completely delicious.

  120. Bryan

    Made this because your post announced it was two years old today, and it was really great. Used a fresh red pepper and tomato from our CSA box, omitted the molasses, and added some sambal oelek for heat. The ribeye was atop a fresh cauliflower mash and served with some steamed broccoli, both also from this week’s CSA. Using four vegetables and finding a reason to buy ribeye (on sale at our grocery this week) will make this a regular in our rotation. Thanks Deb!

  121. Susan

    I have made this several times now and I have frozen it. It is delicious, a favorite in the house and it freezes quite well.

  122. Hannah

    I plan dinners every 2-3 months around this sauce. I am not kidding. i eat it with steak, chicken, and eggs AND if I am going to a BBQ i bring it along as a gift for the host. brilliant – thank you!!

  123. Alex

    WOW. This sauce is amazing! We made it tonight with almost no changes (my pepper was a bit more charred, added a few leaves of basil, and about two teaspoons of brown sugar). It was amazing over our steak, and even on the grilled vegetables and mashed potatoes! This is such a winner and I can see it paired with so many different proteins – even grilled shrimp as a sort of cocktail sauce.

    Here is a picture of mine when it was simmering on the stove:

  124. amativus

    Just wanted to chime in and say how much I freaking LOVE this sauce. I was trying to recreate a buckwheat crêpe from one of my favorite now-closed restaurants, which had ham, Gruyere cheese and a thin red pepper sauce. This recipe looked closest to what I’d been envisioning, and everything I’ve made from SK has been a success so I took a chance. It’s freaking delicious. I bought one of those squeeze bottles used for ketchup and mustard just to store it and I’ve been adding this sauce to E-VER-Y-THING. The crêpes turned out perfectly, but the other all star combo was this sauce + Trader Joe’s mahi-mahi burgers + mango salsa + caramelized red onion + King’s Hawaiian bun.

    Also wanted to say thanks to the commenter who recommended charring the red pepper on a gas stove. This works beautifully, really cuts the time in half and gives you more direct control to make sure every single inch of the pepper gets charred.

  125. Jonathan

    I cook alot of red meats on a BigGreen Egg, I found your steak sauce recipe..I was doubtful, never use steak sauce, I assumed you use steak sauce when you dont’ want to taste the steak……. I grilled a 2lb sirloin steak at around 500 degrees on direct heat. Julienne Steak and served with Roasted Red pepper sauce….After that was consumed my brother who we invited over, started looking for things to put the sauce on.
    This ones a keeper

    1. deb

      Thanks — now fixed. Nah, never made mustard. I became convinced that it would have so much to do with the quality of mustard seeds you could get your hands on, and thus wouldn’t work for a lot of people.

  126. As a steak cooking expert, I must say that this charred pepper steak sauce recipe is a fantastic discovery! The charring of the red bell pepper under the broiler not only adds a smoky depth of flavor but also elevates the sauce to a whole new level. Additionally, the combination of tomato puree, olive oil, balsamic, Worcestershire, and molasses creates a well-rounded base that harmonizes perfectly with the spices like ground ginger, mustard, onion powder, and allspice.

    I appreciate your recommendation to simmer the sauce for an extended period, as it allows the flavors to meld together and creates a more cohesive, saucy taste. This sauce can truly be a game-changer in the world of steak condiments. Not only does it complement the richness of the steak, but it also has the potential to enhance other dishes such as chicken or even grilled vegetables.

    I couldn’t agree more with your sentiment about discarding other bottled condiments after trying this sauce; it’s just that good. This charred pepper steak sauce is a testament to the power of homemade condiments, and I’m thrilled to have come across your recipe. Thank you for sharing this gem with us, and I’m sure it will become a staple in many households!