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A plate with smoked tomato sauce, pasta, and meatballs

Smoked Tomato Marinara Sauce

Smoke fresh tomatoes to add an incredible mild smokey flavor to a traditional Tomato Marinara Sauce. This Smoked Sauce an be used for pasta, pizza, lasagna, or meatball sandwiches.
Course Entree
Cuisine American, barbecue, Italian
Keyword smoked marinara, smoked marinara sauce, smoked sauce, smoked tomato sauce, smoked tomatoes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
To smoke tomatoes 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Cost $20.00


For the Smoked Tomatoes:

  • 8 whole beefsteak tomatoes Any large ripe tomato works
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Spice seasoning

For the Smoked Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup red onion, finely diced small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 4 cups smoked tomatoes, (should be the equivalent of all 8 of them, smoked and peeled)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 4 whole basil leaves, diced


To Smoke the Tomatoes:

  • Prep your smoker to 250 degrees.
  • Quarter the tomatoes, remove stems, and then toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and old bay seasoning, and place them on a foil lined sheet pan. Smoke them for up to 2 hours or until they look slightly soft and roasted.
  • Remove from smoker and peel the skins from the tomatoes while they are still warm. Set aside.

For the Smoked Sauce:

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet set to medium. Add onions and let them cook about 10 minutes until soft and sweet. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, chili flakes, and let cook 1 additional minute.
  • Add the red wine and cook 3 more minutes, until the sauce has reduced. Add the tomatoes and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. Blend the sauce with a hand immersion blender to break up the chunks, or use a potato masher to get to a consistency you like. Taste the sauce and add sugar if it is not sweet enough. This will vary depending on the ripeness of the tomatoes.
  • Add basil and stir them in. Just before serving.


A note on sugar: if using fresh summer tomatoes you will likely not need sugar. I like to make the sauce, and then taste while it's simmering to see if I like the flavor. If you want it a it sweeter consider adding about a tablespoon of sugar, honey, or tomato paste to add some sweet flavor. 
Canned Tomatoes: If all you have is canned, then use two 28-ounce cans of whole tomatoes like San Marzano. Open cans, place into a smoker safe dish and smoke for up to two hours, stir once during the 120 minutes. Then follow marinara recipe.