Thursday, May 19, 2016

Blueberry BBQ Chicken

It's blueberry picking time at the local U-pick blueberry farms in our area.  Last Saturday my granddaughter and I spent about an hour picking blueberries (and cherries!)  This was our second year to do so and she was quite enthused about going. We laughed and chatted, while getting a bounty for the freezer. It was very good Nana-granddaughter bonding time!
I made a pie with the cherries and froze most of the blueberries.  With the remainder I made this blueberry BBQ sauce that we used for chicken.  I found the recipe on the Big Green Egg website. We don't have a Big Green Egg but the chicken was easily cooked on our BBQ grill.
Oh, the sauce is so good!  It's very thick, sweet, with a slight touch of acidity, due to the vinegar.  According to the website, the sauce keeps for months when refrigerated.  I can't wait to have some on ribs!

Blueberry BBQ Sauce

3 cups blueberries
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Combine the blueberries and a little of the vinegar in a food processor.  Pulse the berries just to break them up.  You're not trying to achieve smooth berries at this point; you just want to get some blue juice flowing. In a Dutch oven or 4-quart saucepan, combine the pulsed blueberries and the remainder of the sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for one hour, covered.  Give it a stir from time to time to avoid scorching the bottom.

Remove bay leaf and cinnamon and carefully transfer the sauce to a blender.  Pull the little knob off the top of the lid and cover it with a dish towel to prevent a mess. (This resulted in a blueberry sauce-infested towel for me.  Next time I will process the mixture in batches to avoid overflow!) Blend the sauce to get it as smooth as you can, then strain through a fine mesh strainer.  Transfer strained mixture back to pan.  Cook to reduce the sauce by one-third.  The sauce should coat the back of a spoon and have the viscosity of maple syrup. Refrigerate overnight.

For the chicken, I had my butcher "spatchcock" the chicken.  This cuts out the backbone and sternum so that the chicken can be flattened.  (This can be done at home but cutting chicken isn't my favorite thing to do!)  Bring the chicken to room temperature and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the grill to 350 degrees.  Place the chicken skin-side up on the grill and roast for 20 minutes, then begin basting with the blueberry sauce every 5 minutes for an additional 20 minutes of cooking.  After 40 minutes of total cooking time, turn the chicken over the caramelize the skin and baste the other side 10 more minutes. Using a thermometer, check the temperature of the thigh.  Once it's at 165 degrees, remove the chicken.  Let rest for 10 minutes, then cut the chicken into pieces.  Serve with additional sauce, if desired.

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