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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Paleo BBQ Sauce

Summer = BBQ

Summer is such a great time for food. Grilling out on the deck with a beer and tons of friends and family around to just enjoy the season. That's the American dream, right? Its what all the commercials tell us we should be doing this time of year, and I am fine with that! I love me a good cook out and all the food that comes with it.

The problem is that most of the foods served at cook outs are not health-friendly, much less paleo or Whole30 approved. Among the mayo soaked pasta dishes crazy sweet deserts BBQ sauce is can be one of the biggest "no, no"s out there.  Its usually packed with sugar and preservatives.

The solution? Make your own!

It takes about a good full afternoon to make and can this sauce. It needs time to simmer so all the flavors can meld.

This BBQ sauce is to die for! My family is full of BBQ lovers. We are that family that would make a detour just because there was a local BBQ legend 20 miles up the road. Every Friday is unofficially BBQ Friday. Needless to say, we have tried a lot of different sauces. Mustard based, vinegar based, tomato based, smokey, sweet, spicy. From Maryland to Texas and everywhere in-between.

Needless to say we have some pretty refined BBQ taste buds. And this recipe was declared a home run! My brother told me to slap on a label and sell it. Its got a great smokey flavor and is slightly sweet, but not overwhelming. So far, I have served shredded chicken and ribs with this sauce.

I would like to experiment farther with this recipe and replace the applesauce with peach sauce or maybe chop up some roasted peaches, apricots or apples. Perhaps add some smoked peblano peppers or something spicier. I will let you know if I get around to messing with perfection.

This recipe produces quite a lot of sauce, enough for a good sized party with lots of leftovers. I ended up with 8 jars worth of sauce leftover after my big family dinner. I transferred the sauce to canning jars,submerged them in water and boiled for 45 minutes until the jars sealed themselves (the button on the lid sucked itself in).

Paleo BBQ Sauce
(adapted from The Domestic Man)

2 tbsp coconut oil
2 medium onions, minced
2 28oz cans whole tomatoes in juice
2 8oz cans tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple sauce (or honey)
6 whole dates, chopped (or date molasses)
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp chili powder
4 tsp hickory liquid smoke
4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (check your label, see note*)
1/4 cup horseradish mustard
1/2 tsp all spice
1 bay leaf

In a dutch oven, heat up the coconut oil on medium for a few minutes. Add the onion and saute until the onion becomes translucent, about five minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients, and just as it starts to boil, set the heat to low. Simmer for two hours, using a potato masher to break up the tomatoes as they cook. After two hours, remove the bay leaf and blend the sauce in batches until it’s smooth. Return the now-smooth sauce to the dutch oven and simmer for another 30 minutes. Or, if you have an immersion blender, you can just blend it in the pot. If the sauce isn't thick enough, you can add some honey or molasses and cook it for another 30 minutes or so.
This sauce can absolutely be canned. To do so, submerge it in a hot water bath for 45 minutes, using this method from The Domestic Man. It should be good for a year after that point. After opening, I suggest finishing the sauce within a month.

*Note about Worcestershire sauce: I didn't realize Worcestershire sauce has soy sauce in it until after I made this sauce. Oops! If you have a soy allergy, make sure to read the label! The Original Worcestershire Sauce by Lea and Perrins doesn't have soy. It does have molasses and sugar, so its not Whole30 approved.

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