Grilled Chicken with Chipotle-Peach BBQ Sauce
This Chipotle-Peach BBQ Sauce recipe is the result of three factors: firstly, it is my contribution to the TUMS #eatmorebbq campaign (which you can check out here and here). Secondly, it is the direct result of my frenzied effort to squeeze as much grilling as possible out of the remaining season (how is it already late August?!) . And thirdly, it is brought to you by my potentially serious farmer’s market hoarding problem.
In most areas of my life, I’m fairly minimalistic — I’m not one to squirrel away physical mementos. I purge my closet of clothes several times a year. I don’t hang on to old books or magazines. And I can walk by a shoe sale without even batting an eye. But when it comes to summer fruit, I may actually need help. I want to buy all of it and make it mine. Because (gulp!) what if next week the peaches (or blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, figs…) are gone?!
Isn’t that what hoarders do? Acquire all the things for fear that said things will cease to be available when desired in the future?
Let’s just graze over the fact that I impulsively bought 10 lbs of perfect, juicy peaches a few days ago and wanted to buy many, many more. They have been making their way into most of our meals (peach and cheese sandwich anyone?), and it turns out they make one seriously amazing BBQ sauce.
I slathered it all over juicy chicken thighs rubbed with paprika, cumin and allspice for a bit of Caribbean flair.
To make the sauce, I softened some onions, garlic and ginger in a saucepan, and then tossed in some ripe peaches (skins left on, since I was going to puree it anyway). Then in went a bit of cider vinegar, a touch of brown sugar, a splash of soy sauce, and a good hit of ground chipotle.
The flavour of the peaches was wonderfully prominent in the sauce, in fact it actually surprised me just how peachy it was. The ginger and chipotle give it wonderful heat, and the vinegar brings out the tartness of the peach. It is balanced, and definitely not too sweet (which can be a problem for me with fruity barbecue sauces). It was so delicious brushed over crispy, flame-kissed, spice-rubbed chicken thighs.
We like barbecue (and most other things) spicy in our house – I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of chipotle powder and it was definitely hot. Start with 1 teaspoon (or even 3/4 teaspoon, if you prefer to keep things mild).
My hubby commented right away that the sauce would be delicious on grilled pork chops or shrimp skewers, too – I’d even use the same spice rub for either. We have some sauce (and lots of peaches) left, so I will probably try one or both.
All the peaches! All the barbecue!
For Chipotle-Peach BBQ Sauce
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
- 1 lb peaches 2 medium-large, pitted, coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 to 1 1/2 tsp ground chipotle
- 1/4 cup water
For Chicken and Spice Rub
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3 lbs bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (about 8 thighs)
For BBQ Sauce:
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, lowering the heat if it starts to brown. Add garlic and ginger; cook a minute more.
- Stir in peaches and remaining ingredients, starting with the lesser amount of chipotle if you're concerned about heat - you can always add more. Simmer until peaches are tender, then transfer to a blender and carefully puree until smooth (work in two batches if your blender doesn't have steam vents in the lid).
- Reserve 1/2 cup of sauce in a separate bowl for basting the chicken, and transfer the rest to a dish for serving at the table.
For Chicken & Rub:
- Stir together paprika, cumin, salt, allspice and black pepper. Rub it into the entire surface of the chicken thighs, gently working it under the skin. Let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature before grilling.
- To prepare grill, light one burner (or half of the grill) over medium heat and close the lid; preheat for 10 minutes. Grill chicken skin-side down over direct heat (over the lit burner) to crisp the skin, about 8 minutes. Watch closely for flare-ups, moving the chicken to the unlit side as needed until they subside. Move chicken over to indirect heat (unlit side) and cook with lid closed as much as possible for 15 minutes, flipping once.
- Brush both sides of chicken with 1/2 cup of the BBQ sauce and continue cooking until meat reaches 165ºF on a thermometer, or until juices run clear when meat is pierced - 15-20 minutes more. Serve with more BBQ sauce on the side.
- Any remaining sauce will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.