Today is a good day for a harvest picking. It's also a good day for a BBQ. So let's harvest and make a BBQ sauce for said BBQ day, yes? But not just any kind of BBQ sauce, one using ingredients that are plentiful this time of year as a way to preserve that goodness. Enter, the humble rhubarb stalk and ye delicious tart apple from yonder tree.
I went foraging in my friend Liz' garden again. I am that kind of friend, I come to your house talking about food and what I want to do and make, and then I go scrounging around your garden. Ok truth be told, I really only do this to my friend Liz. And I'm grateful she's game. In fact, I'm sharing the bounty again with her with this latest picking, as I do with anything I pull out of her garden. So yes, her apple tree is weighed down with apples, and the rhubarb plants have given a fresh flush of ruby rosy stalks, and so I obliged and took a grocery bag home full, along with some lemon balm I'm drying to make teas and herb salts later. As Liz is a fellow foodie, she shared with me a recipe from a recent cookbook find of hers from Sean Brock, a book called "Heritage". This recipe was for a rhubarb ketchup. That made me think of an old BBQ sauce recipe I would tweak and play with from a cookbook my sweetie and I received for our wedding, a book from the Dean & DeLuca shop in New York. I thought to mash the two recipes together and tweak to taste, in order to keep the summer goodness in the fridge for meals to come using that rhubarb and apple; see, they're tart to start with, so perfect ingredients for a BBQ sauce was my thought.
8 cups of chopped rhubarb stalks
4 cups of tart apples with peel on, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 cup water
2 tbsp good solid fat (butter, ghee, bacon fat, lard, tallow, duck fat)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp fresh lovage (minced - optional)
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup of honey or other sweetener
2 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp paprika (omit if you want this to be nightshade-free)
1 tsp ground peppercorns
1 tsp ground mustard powder
1/2 tsp cayenne or chili peppers (omit if you want this to be nightshade-free)
1 dried chipotle pepper (omit if you want this to be nightshade-free)
Add your rhubarb and apple along with the cup of water to a big pot. Bring it to boil in order to just break the fibres down and lower to medium high to cook down to a pulp fairly quickly, no more than 10 minutes. Set this aside to cool. Using your hand blender, blitz the whole lot into a paste.
Meanwhile, put your pot back on the stovetop on medium, and add your good fat to melt. Toss in your onion and saute until golden, about 10 minutes. Toss in the garlic, sea salt and optional lovage in the last few minutes to make it fragrant. To this mess, add the rest of your ingredients including your rhubarb/apple compote you just blitzed. Allow it to simmer for 30 minutes on medium low. Again, using your hand blender blitz the final product into a paste.
This makes 3x500mL jars, so one for you, one for a friend, and one for the freezer for down the road. This should last a few months in the fridge.
For those avoiding nightshades, or those on the AIP protocol, this can easily be made nightshade-free! Simply omit the paprika and cayenne pepper, and you've hit a home run. Imagine this BBQ sauce mixed in with some mayo for sweet potato fries; or tucked in with some fermented baby corn and BBQd sausages. Or side by each with some pork chops and grilled onions and zucchini. Awwww yeaaaaaa.