Cooking with berries brings out a whole different side of their flavour and texture. Blueberries add a wonderful sweet-tart flavour that lends a new dimension to barbecue sauce. The sweetness of the blueberries complements the savoury and smoky flavours of traditional barbecue ingredients like tomato, vinegar, and spices. This combination creates a balance of flavours that can enhance grilled meats, poultry, or even vegetarian options.
Makes 2 cups of sauce
1 rack baby pork ribs
1 tsp oil
2 tsp salt
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen, from your summer harvest)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 to 2 tsp tomato paste (if the berries are quite tart, use 1 tsp; if they’re quite sweet, use 2 tsp)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp best-quality apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp sweetened rice wine vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp pepper
To make the sauce: Sauté the chopped onion in the olive oil until tender.
Add the minced garlic and continue sautéing until fragrant.
Add in the remaining ingredients all at once and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high.
Turn down the heat and allow the mixture to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the sauce from the heat and let cool.
Once cooled, purée the sauce in a food processor (purée for longer for a very smooth sauce, or shorter for a chunkier sauce).
Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
To cook the ribs, you can use the traditional method on the grill, or if you’ve canned your sauce or are using your frozen berries during the winter, you can cook the ribs quickly under the broiler, with the rack positioned in the upper third of the oven.
Turn on the broiler a few minutes before cooking.
Rub the ribs with the oil and season well with salt.
Cook the ribs, starting with the bone side down and turning once, until they begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
Flip the ribs a third time and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, and then turn off the broiler, remove the ribs and set the oven to 350°F.
Baste the ribs with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the barbecue sauce, just to coat.
Return the ribs to the oven and cook for 15 more minutes.
Apply the sauce liberally to the rack of ribs and serve!
Joanna Notkin is a designer at heart, and food is her passion. With an eye for detail and a love of all things seasonal and local, Joanna approaches food in a way that is delicate and thoughtful. She brings together the flavours of each ingredient while honouring the fact that we truly eat with our eyes.