Spice it up with homemade condiments
Try these recipes to enhance your summer grilling repertoire
Home cooks are showing more appetite for skipping the condiment aisle at the grocery store in favour of making their own barbecue sauces and other toppings from scratch.
They’re also customizing these condiments, such as adding mushrooms, mangoes or bananas to ketchup and apples or peppercorns to mustard.
Barbecue sauces can have dozens of variations through the addition of ingredients such as fresh ginger, wasabi, miso, hoisin sauce, garlic, herbs, spices, coffee, wine and bacon, but the one component it must have is balance, says grilling expert and author Steven Raichlen.
“My bottom personal line is there are no rules and you should feel free to mix and match with everything,” but the goal of any good sauce is to meld the contrasting elements — sweet, sour, salty, aromatic, hot — into a harmonious whole, he explains.
As Canadians head out in droves to enjoy their outdoor kitchens, here is an assortment of recipes to try to enhance grilled fare.
Sweet and Smoky Blueberry Ale Barbecue Sauce
While researching their cookbook “Feast,” Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller spent an idyllic summer day in Kenora, Ont., a small city on Lake of the Woods, rounding it off with a few great ales on the sunny patio of local craft brew pub Lake of the Woods Brewing Company. This barbecue sauce is courtesy of the brewery.
They suggest it’s particularly good on ribs or grilled chicken.
MAKES 4 CUPS
¼ cup lightly packed brown sugar ½ cup apple cider vinegar ¼ cup molasses ¼ cup honey ½ cup Lake of the Woods’ Forgotten Lake Blueberry Ale or any other mild ale ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce ¼ cup dark rum 2 tablespoons yellow mustard 1 tbsp liquid smoke 1 tbsp chili powder 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 tsp ground allspice ¼ tsp ground cloves ¼ cup fresh or thawed frozen wild blueberries 3½ cups ketchup
In a medium pot, combine sugar, vinegar, molasses, honey, beer, Worcestershire, rum, mustard, liquid smoke, chili powder, pepper, allspice and cloves and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until mixture reduces by about a third, 40 to 60 minutes.
Add blueberries and ketchup and simmer for another 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. In a blender or with an immersion blender, purée until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one month or freeze for up to three months.
This citrusy ketchup blurs the boundary between traditional ketchup and chutney and can be used pretty much as you would any commercial ketchup. Orange and lemon add an unexpected tropical touch that’s reinforced by the ginger and allspice, says Raichlen.
MAKES 4 CUPS
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced ½ cup red wine vinegar ½ cup packed dark brown sugar ½ cup honey ½ cup fresh orange juice 1 lemon, peeled (remove zest and rind), seeded and diced 2 teaspoons coarse salt (sea or kosher) 2 tsp ground allspice 1 tsp ground ginger ½ tsp mustard powder ½ tsp freshly cracked black peppercorns ½ tsp ground cloves 1 can (28 ounce) whole plum tomatoes ( juices strained and reserved, tomatoes coarsely chopped by hand or in a food processor)
Heat olive oil in a medium nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until lightly browned, stirring with a wooden spoon, for four minutes.
Increase heat to high, stir in vinegar and brown sugar and boil until mixture is reduced by half, three to five minutes. Add honey, orange juice, lemon, salt, spices and reserved tomato juices. Reduce heat to medium and gently simmer, uncovered, until syrupy, five minutes.
Stir in chopped tomatoes and simmer ketchup, uncovered, until thick and flavourful, 20 to 30 minutes. The mixture should be concentrated but not too thick. Add water as needed.
Transfer mixture to a food processor and process to a coarse purée. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt, vinegar or any other ingredient; the ketchup should be highly seasoned. Transfer purée to jars, cover and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until serving. The ketchup will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.
Source: “Barbecue Sauces, Rubs and Marinades — Bastes, Butters and Glazes, Too” by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2017).
This country is one of the world’s major producers of mustard seeds. And we’ve been at it a while. Hamilton’s G.S. Dunn, a dry mustard miller, has been operating for 148 years.
Yellow mustard seeds are only mildly spicy, so if you prefer real heat, use the much spicier brown seeds, suggests P.E.I. chef Michael Smith.
MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS
1 cup yellow mustard seeds 1 cup sweet apple cider 1 cup cider vinegar 2 apples, unpeeled, cored and chopped ¼ cup honey 2 teaspoons salt
In a medium pot, stir together mustard seeds, apple cider and cider vinegar. Cover tightly and rest at room temperature overnight. Add apples, honey and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until apple is very tender, 15 minutes or so. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a blender or food processor. If you prefer whole-grain style mustard, pulse for just a few moments. For a smoother result, carry on until completely puréed. Transfer to a clean jar, seal tightly and refrigerate. The mustard keeps indefinitely.
Source: “Real Food, Real Good” by Michael Smith (Penguin Canada, 2016).
Monkey Gland Sauce
This sweet-spicy blend of chutney, wine and hot sauce is popular among South Africans at barbecues, says Raichlen.
“It’s really sweet with chutney and kind of tart with red wine. It’s two kinds of poles of South Africa’s origins, the British and the Indian with the chutney and the red wine with the French,” he explains.
This sauce is customarily served warm or at room temperature with grilled meats, such as steak and lamb chops. It can also be used for basting.
This version comes from the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town.
For a variation, replace half the chutney with ketchup.
MAKES 1¼ CUPS, OR 4 TO 6 SERVINGS
1 cup fruit chutney 3 tablespoons dry red wine 3 tbsp port wine 2 tbsp salted butter 1 teaspoon piri piri sauce or your favourite hot sauce 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/2 tsp liquid smoke Coarse salt (sea or kosher)
In a heavy nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer sauce, uncovered, stirring often until chutney melts and sauce is richly flavoured, five to 10 minutes. For a chunky sauce, serve as is. For a smooth sauce, purée in a food processor or blender.
Use immediately or transfer to a jar, cover and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for several weeks; bring to room temperature before serving.
Source: “Barbecue Sauces, Rubs and Marinades — Bastes, Butters and Glazes, Too by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2017).
This Sweet and Smoky Blueberry Ale Barbecue Sauce, courtesy of Lake of the Woods Brewing Company in Kenora, Ont., is enhanced with blueberry ale and blueberries. It is delicious on ribs or grilled chicken.
You can pay tribute to one of Canada’s homegrown crops by making your own piquant mustard.