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Peach-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Peach-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

It was the box of organic peaches that first got me thinking about barbecue sauce. The peaches were perfection but some were dangerously close to ripeness so I wanted to use a lot of them at once. Freezing is always an option but I wanted something that was a little more immediate and fun. It wasn’t long before the idea of BBQ sauce hit me. Peaches and bourbon: that’s something people put together, right? In researching the topic, I learned that peach-bourbon BBQ sauce is indeed a southern culinary tradition.

I would love to explore large batch canning in a future feature here but ultimately I decided that I didn’t really have the time to give it the attention it deserves for a write-up now so I decided to just make a single batch of the sauce. If you know how to can, you just multiply the ingredients and do the water bath. If you just follow the directions for a single batch, though, I think you’ll still find it worth your time.

As someone who doesn’t have much tolerance for sweet sauces, this version is gently sweet while hitting all those other flavor nuances as well, creating a very balanced sauce with smoky, spicy, bitter and sour notes complementing the summer peach sweetness and keeping it from being cloying. This sauce can be tinkered with quite a bit, too, to emphasize and de-emphasize aspects of it. For example, if you like a spicier sauce, add more pepper and cayenne; if you prefer more sweet, you can add more maple syrup. For myself, because I do prefer to limit the sweetness, I used a ketchup brand that doesn’t have sugar added. For me, the sauce is perfectly sweet without that but if you have regular ketchup that works just as well. It’s all about tailoring it for your preference.

Peach-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup Vidalia onion or other sweet onion, chopped
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and pith removed
2 cups peeled and chopped fresh peaches, pits removed
1 cup ketchup
cup bourbon
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tamari
teaspoon dry mustard
teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat your olive oil or broth over medium heat for a minute. Add the onions, garlic and peppers and cook, stirring often, for about five minutes, until softened. (If using broth, you may need to add more by the tablespoon to keep it from sticking.) Add all the other ingredients and bring to a boil; lower the heat and cook over a medium-low heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. When cool enough to handle, add to a blender and blend until smooth. This will store in the fridge for several weeks in an airtight container.

2013-2016, Vegan Street

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