Blueberry BBQ Sauce
Recently, I had the experience of a lifetime traveling the Burger Trail in Southeastern Montana. The area has been one not overly visited by tourists who have opted to visit Montana’s more-famous sites, such as Yellowstone and Glacier national parks. But put your stretchy pants on, hop in your car or on a plane, travel to Billings and begin one of the best trails in America for beef lovers.
The trail, some 600 miles long, takes you into small towns filled with local flavor. There’s no way to do it all in one day or even two. So take your time, book a night or two in a hotel and enjoy the splendor of the Badlands of Montana and its small towns, such as Terry, Fort Smith, Glenville, Broadus and Baker. But one of the not-to-miss stops on the Burger Trail is in Billings — the Burger Dive, home to a burger that boasts awards from the World Food Championships to Man vs. Food. The I’m Your Huckleberry Burger takes Montana’s favorite berries and blends them with Hatch chilis from New Mexico and blends them to a sweet-savory finish, then slathering it on a burger and crowing the whole thing with goat cheese. It’s a combination that will send you tastebuds on wild ride.
For a complete rundown of burger places on the Burger Trail Southeast Montana, log onto www.southeastmontana.com.
Huckleberries grow wild in the Northwest, so if you can pick some or find some in your local market, by all means do so. For those in other areas, such as myself, use blueberries in this barbecue sauce. The recipe is not the same as what you’ll find at the Burger Dive, but it’s a nice substitute for your summertime meats — not only burgers, but chicken and pork, too.
Berry Good Barbecue Sauce
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small Hatch chili, seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1/2 inch) piece fresh ginger, grated
3 cups blueberries
¼ cup real maple syrup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons molasses
½ teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir Hatch chili, onion, garlic and ginger until chili and onion are softened, about 8 minutes. Add berries, maple syrup, cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, lemon juice, cinnamon, cumin, chili powder, paprika, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper; stir to combine. Simmer over medium-low heat until sauce is slightly reduced and bubbling, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; cool slightly. Pour sauce into a blender no more than half full. Cover and hold lid down; pulse a few times before leaving on to blend. Puree in batches until smooth.
Note: Wait until meat has cooked to add sauce. The sugar content may cause this sauce to burn.