I seem to have gone a little plum crazy this summer. As I looked back on my recent recipes I think I’ve used plums more than any other summer fruit. There is so much variety to plums and pluots with their juicy magentas and pinks and even greens and golds. I blame the tasting tables at the farmer’s market for my overindulgence — once you see them cut open and taste them they’re hard to resist. These plums were so ripe all I needed to do was squash them with my bare hands to remove the pit and then dump the pulp and skins into the pot. They give the barbecue sauce a bold red color, and on the blackened meat it’s almost primal.
Barbecue sauces have to be one of the most fun things to make. Different styles have roots stretching way back in Asia, Europe, and Africa. The ones we’re used to are built on a balance of tomato, vinegar, spice, and sweet. Almost anything can, and does, go into them. Ketchup? Sure. Brown sugar? Maple syrup? Cola? Why not. Plums and tamarind paste? Heck yeah. All you have to do is keep tasting and you can’t go wrong. They can have long laundry lists of ingredients, but usually they are things you already have in your cabinets.
The drumettes get tossed with a light coating of the sauce before going into a hot oven. When they come out, brush more sauce on. Serve with even more on the side. Get it? The sauce is key.
- 1 1/2 lb chicken drumettes
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- olive oil
- 10 ripe plums
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 2 Tbsp plum sauce (find it in the Asian foods aisle)
- 3 Tbsp rice wine or cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tsp sriracha chili sauce
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp tamarind paste (find it in the Asian foods aisle)
- To make the barbecue sauce, remove the pits from the plums and give them a rough chop. Don't peel them.
- Put them in a medium pot and add the lemon juice, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, plum sauce, vinegar, ketchup, hot sauce, soy sauce, tamarind paste and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil and boil gently for about 30 minutes, stirring often, until thickened.
- Take off the heat and blend with an immersion blender if you want a smoother texture. Taste it and see if you want to add more of anything.
- Let cool and then store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator. This recipe makes extra sauce, it will keep for a month.
- Set the oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
- Sprinkle the drumettes with a little salt and black pepper, and then toss with barbecue sauce to lightly coat them.
- Lay them out on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, giving them a turn once or twice to prevent sticking and let them brown evenly.
- Remove from the oven and brush more sauce on the meat.
- Serve hot or cold, with a little more sauce on the side.
This is an appetizer that could easily morph into dinner, so make extra.