Today, my fiery food fans, we’re returning to the fruity sauces again and, in particular, an old favourite style: Berry-based barbecue sauce.
Chilli Pepper Pete did it well with their cranberry Dragon’s Blood BBQ and Hot Plot Chilli Co even better with their cherry chipotle 💀 T.N.T. 💀 but, this time, we’re trying out a blueberry version from Rubies in the Rubble.
A company that I found recently at a local community event and who specialise in working with food waste to make sauces that are edible and hopefully delicious – Their chipotle ketchup certainly was.
As someone who hates to see good food go to waste myself, I can definitely appreciate their ethos but there is one quite major downside: Their production is at the mercy of others.
When blueberries go out of season at the end of summer, they’ll still be around in supermarkets but less so. And they won’t be chucked out in the quantities needed to produce this sauce.
This sauce, like much of what Rubies in the Rubble produce, is a limited edition. Perhaps it will return next year if it goes down well but it won’t be around for much longer in 2018.
So, read on, see if it appeals and, if it does, get it quick before it’s gone.
Looking at the bottle, this sauce doesn’t say “barbecue” on it in anything but text but its dark blue text boxes and black and white, watercolour background of peppers and berries instantly convey everything else about it. It’s a blueberry-heavy chilli sauce and it tells us so with no hesitation.
Then, with a little reading, we find just as little mincing of words in its “Blueberry BBQ Sauce” title, the small “Sweet ‘N’ Smoky” flavour description at the bottom or the circle in the middle that highlights its saved fruit content. Everything is short and to the point.
Even the company’s logo is simple. Mere outlines of a sparkling gemstone, part hidden behind a hill.
Of the entire bottle, though, there are two things that really stand out to me: The rich, dark, purple colour of the sauce itself and the number in that middle circle. Apparently there are 260 blueberries in every bottle of this sauce.
That sounds like an awful lot and its colour seems to agree but the real test comes when we open it.
When I do, though, its aroma is not a good one.
It’s dark and rich, yes, but also acidic, tomatoey and a tiny bit metallic. There is a hint of blueberry to it – And I do mean blueberry, not just berries – but it’s almost unnoticeable over what smells like the dried out stuff around the lid of a ketchup bottle. If it tastes anything like it smells, I’d suggest that you steer clear.
Fortunately, though, it doesn’t.
It doesn’t taste of tomato at all, probably by virtue of it not containing any, so I have no idea how that came through so blatantly on the nose. And its vinegar does come through in its taste but more as a rich and fruity blend of red wine and balsamic than as acidity.
It doesn’t taste old or dried out. It tastes dark and slightly smoky in the way that a barbecue sauce should, with the depth of its unusual vinegar choice and the sweetness of its fruit making up for a slightly lower brown sugar content.
The only things that even remotely suggest that some of the ingredients were previously rejected are the blueberries. Whole ones, strewn throughout the sauce that fall apart with a burst of fruitiness the moment that your teeth pierce their skin. A texture that implies, to me, that they may have been overripe before cooking.
But, you know what, I don’t mind it. I don’t mind it one bit.
I’ve been thinking for a long time about how I might get non-uniform bursts of flavour into a sauce and my first attempt, which you’ll see on camera soon, was a failure entirely because my flavour pockets were too firm.
These blueberries that fall apart in your mouth do a far, far better job than what I tried and, while their flavour might just be more of one that’s in the sauce already, the sudden juiciness that it provides is still oh so welcome.
This is a delicious sauce with a heavy fruit focus and bursts of even greater fruitiness suspended within but, unlike Saucey Lady’s blueberry sauce, it’s still got a bit more to it than just fruit.
And, while it’s not even close to her level of firepower, it’s still a decent amount stronger than I expected from a sauce that doesn’t talk about its chilli content. A low
in the upper back of the mouth that just about qualifies it as medium.
It’s sweet but not overly sweet, smoky, if only slightly, rich but not rich enough to obscure the fruit, fruit-heavy but not to the point of overpowering all else and hot enough that I can feel it, even if it’s not hot.
To me, that’s everything that a berry barbecue sauce should be and I’m definitely going to use this to add fruitiness to my con carnes or to top cheese and crackers. It’s also going to go with meats – Especially chicken or pork – both smoked and unsmoked, but smoked tofu or a well marinated jackfruit would prove a great vegan alternative. It is, after all, a vegetarian, vegan and gluten free sauce, as well as being waste-concious.
It’ll go great on burgers, too, and probably lightly over salads. It may even find its way into my peanut butter sandwiches but I think it’s going to be just a touch too vinegary for ice-cream or cheesecake.
So, all things said, I’ve learnt a few things from this sauce that’ll probably find their way into my own creations at some point but, more importantly, I’m going to thoroughly enjoy the rest of the bottle. And, if you think that you would too, I strongly recommend checking out Rubies in the Rubble sooner rather than later. It may not be around for long.
Here’s the ingredients list:
Blueberry (52%), brown sugar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, onion, corn flour, chipotle (1.94%), garlic (0.97%), smoked paprika (0.76%), chilli (0.25%), cinnamon (0.13%)