Events and Appearances Food People and Food Places

You Asked For It: Blueberry Barbecue Sauce

So The Sandy Spring Museum is hosting a Strawberry Festival this weekend, and they asked me to join six other culinarians to present a dish featuring berries.  The guest of honor was former chief White House chef James Moeller (1991-2005) author of the forthcoming cookbook (with Mike Lovell) Dining at the White House: From the President’s Table to Yours. From Chef James Ricciuti came crostini with Marscapone cheese with fresh strawberry and balsamic reductions.  I followed that class act with hickory and oak grilled chicken glazed with blueberry barbecue sauce. From Al Andariego, Chef Juan Herrera brought crepes filled with fresh warm strawberries and bananas with a caramel sauce and berries in a honey balsamic reduction.


From GrillMarX Chef Doug Kellner made hickory grilled pork tenderloin, lemon-strawberry-blackberry salsita and raspberry dresses arugula. 


Chef Paul Hajewski from the Inn at Brookeville Farms contributed blackberry bourbon pork ribs with grape-Napa cabbage slaw.


Finally it was finished off with lemon raspberry, blueberry cobbler and strawberry Swiss meringue cupcakes from Chef Cheryl Savastano from


So the blueberry barbecue sauce was a big hit! Pic you say? Nah…my wings got massacred and I never thought to set up a presentable picture. BAD FOOD BLOGGER!!!!

Anyways, so many of you on Facebook and Twitter were intrigued by the concept that I decided to publish my rudimentary recipe for blueberry barbecue sauce. Think chicken, pork, beef ribs, bison.


You could use fresh blueberries but really, just go ahead and use really good quality blueberry preserves. The sugars and pectin will make for a nice, thick glaze as the sauce reduces or settles.

I used my molcajete, Rita; yes I named it; to pound and grind the fresh and dried spices.  The garlic and ginger were smashed and made for chunky pieces that sort of shrank back as the sauce cooked.  You may choose that or you may want to go ahead and mince them.  I liked the effect I got but that may not be for you. The juniper berries and allspice resembled coarse coffee grounds.

Rough chop recipe:

4 cloves of garlic, well smashed or minced
2 tbsp worth of fresh ginger, well smashed or minced
1 tbsp of juniper berries, well ground or finely blended
1 tbsp of whole allspice berries, well ground or finely blended
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1.5 cups of white wine vinegar
1.5 cups of wild blueberry preserves
1.5 cups of blueberry syrup
2 tsps of cinnamon
2 tsps of kosher salt
2 tsps of coarse grind black pepoer
2 medium lemons, juiced

Grab a medium saucepan. Heat the vegetable oil and saute the garlic and ginger.  Add the juniper and allspice berries and gently fry on low heat to release the oils and get the flavor of each spice to the forefront. Add the vinegar and blueberry preserves and sauce. Turn up the heat, you want to see it flow and roil but not burn.  Add the FRESH lemon juice and season in stages with the cinnamon, salt, and may want to add less or more of each to taste.  After letting it all come to a mini boil, reduce heat and allow time to reduce if you want a thicker, sturdier sauce; this may take up to 35 minutes of patience and stirring.  Remember as the water evaporates the sauce will settle so you don’t need to make jam again. 🙂 Or if you just want something to dance on the surface give it ten to fifteen minutes tops with a couple of mindful stirrings.



5 comments on “You Asked For It: Blueberry Barbecue Sauce

  1. Wow! Another amazing post and again, I leave your page hungry 🙂


  2. Okay, Michael, I will confess that I am woefully lacking in the cooking department so I must ask a question. When do I glaze the chicken? While it is still cooking on the grill or only after it is removed? I really don’t want to mess this up. Oh, one other question, where should I look for juniper berries? In my yard?


  3. I’ve just discovered your blog through the re-posting of your amazing open letter to the unfortunate Paula (WELL done, sir!) So now I’m playing catch up through some of your recipes. Oh MY, this looks good, thank you!


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