My younger daughter is married to a British man, and in anticipation of their mid-summer visit, I planned an involved Texas-style barbecue meal. He’s never been to Texas or enjoyed real barbecue.
So in July, I pulled out the big guns – the charcoal grill, electric smoker, briner, the sous vide, and the stove-top smoker were all ready to go. I prepared, along with help from my husband, brisket, venison, chicken quarters, Polska Kielbasa, ribs, plus salmon for the pescatarian at the table. And sides, of course.
I have a favorite brand of barbecue sauce, Head Country, which is actually made in Oklahoma. It’s such a good brand, and the various flavors are all good, that it’s more of a rare occasion these days that I make my own sauces. But, this was a special occasion.
On this blog is my favorite barbecue sauce, which is why I called it that, and it’s especially good with brisket. But I wanted to also make a fruit-based sauce, so I chose blueberries. I thought a blueberry barbecue sauce would be good with both the venison and salmon.
This sauce was really good, and paired beautifully with the venison, pictured below.
I decided to make the barbecue sauce again for the blog, following the recipe I’d jotted down, and this time served it with grilled salmon on top of potato mash. Delicious.
Blueberry Barbecue Sauce
Makes about 4 cups
2 pints blueberries, rinsed
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups ketchup, preferably unsweetened
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Combine the blueberries, pomegranate molasses and lemon juice in a pot. Bring up the heat and simmer for about 10-12 minutes, covered. Remove the lid, give the berries a stir, and let cool.
Pass the blueberries through a food mill with the largest holes. If you don’t mind the blueberry peels, don’t bother with this step, just mush up the blueberries. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté gently for 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and stir a couple of times, then add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar. Cook over low heat, thickening slightly, about 10 minutes, then stir in the spices.
Pour the blueberry purée into the onion-ketchup mixture and stir well.
Cook until the mixture thickens somewhat, over low heat. This will take about 10 – 12 minutes. When you’re satisfied with the thickness, remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Let cool completely before storing in a jar or bottle.
Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
I was told once at a trade show by a man selling barbecue sauce, that you have to use vinegar to make it. However, if at the last minute you stir in lemon juice, after the heat is off, the vinegar flavor goes away. And that’s what I’ve always done when creating my own sauces. It really works!
My ultimate compliment was when I shared a jar of this sauce with my daughter, and she told me that one evening see searched for something just to have with the sauce! It is, really that good.