BBQ Sauce with Palestinian Flavors: Pomegranate Molasses, Thyme and Sumac
Updated: Jun 19
I am not usually a fan of bbq sauces, they are either too sweet or too vinegary you know the kind that opens up your nostrils as you open the bottle. I usually much prefer a dry rub of spices on my meats. Ok that’s probably not the greatest way to start a post when the the title of the recipe is literally BBQ sauce but hear me out here. This sauce is incredible. I mean look at the list of ingredients, its defiantly some of my favorite pantry staples.The sauce is thick and sticky, kind of sweet but more tangy, savory and slightly complex in flavor. As I was traveling in Palestine I dreamt of this recipe and looked for inspiration. I often use Pomegranate molasses as a glaze so I knew I had to use it in the making of this sauce. And I thought tomato paste has a richer more dense tomatoes flavor than ketchup. So it was born, finally a BBQ sauce that I would love to eat. I loved it so much I used it as a dip and even slathered it on my grilled cheese sandwich.
This sauce is great on wings, ribs, chicken, toss it With pulled meats as well and you can even slather it on grilled veggies.
One small can tomato paste (not ketchup)
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
3 tbls blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup honey or brown sugar (less or more to your liking)
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbls sumac
Few dashes of wistchire sauce
1 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tbls of Aleppo pepper or use a chili u like (optional)
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves about few sprigs
1 tablespoon allspice berries
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
½ cup unsweetened pomegranate juice or water to thin out the sauce (more or less depending on the thickness you like)
1. In a medium saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add garlic and sauté until softened don’t let it burn. This step is just to flavor the olive oil.
2. Add the tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, blackstrap molassses, thyme, allspice, bay leaf, onion and garlic powder, smoked paprika, Aleppo peppers, S&P, and cinnamon stick. Stir to coat, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Taste the sauce before you add the honey or brown sugar. Adjust this step to your liking. Once it gets combined add a few dashes of wostchire sauce.
3. Cook for 30 minutes on low gentle heat until all the flavors come together.
4. Discard bay leaf, all spice, and cinnamon stick. we are going to use the sauce in the oven baked BBQ drumsticks for tonight's dinner (recipe below), or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, drizzle a bit of olive oil on top.
Oven Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks:
*To finish it off add a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves and a sumac.
Although you could do this on the grill but it was raining so I roasted mine in the oven and the result was incredible. Crispy, tender and juicy chicken. And the best part the drippings of the chicken and the BBQ sauce mingle and create an amazing sauce of their own that you can drizzle all over at the end. Which makes this a recipe a can make anytime of the year rain or shine.
◦ Layering bbq sauce slowly over time will allow the chicken drumsticks to develop a nice crust and become crunchy and delicious.
◦ Start by using a dry rub on the chicken you will guarantee many layers of flavor
The chicken dry rub:
• 4 lbs chicken drumsticks .Cut two slits on each drumstick with a sharp knife
• 1 tbsp garlic powder
• 1 tbsp onion powder
• 1 tbsp Aleppo pepper or chili powder
• 1 tbsp smoked paprika
• 1 tsp all spice
• A pinch of cinnamon
• 2 tsp salt
• 1 tsp pepper
• 2 cups bbq sauce (recipe above)
*The chicken here has baked for 40 minutes in the oven with the dry rub.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Pat chicken dry with a paper towel.
Toss the chicken with the dry spices to coat. You can prepare up to this step up to 24 hours in advance. and store the chicken in the fridge.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
If the chicken was in the fridge allow it to come to room temperature first. Then bake the chicken for about 40 minutes before adding the BBQ sauce, until the skin gets a bit crispy and fat has started to render. Flip chicken drumsticks every 10 minutes to ensure it crisps evenly on all sides.
With a food safe brush, lightly brush chicken with BBQ sauce, flipping its side each time you add another coat of sauce, about every 10 minutes until its gets to the crispiness you like. This process will take about 30 minutes.
When the chicken is done, turn on your oven setting on broil. Watching carefully so its doesn't burn broil the chicken for two minutes on each side to give it a little extra crispiness and char.
I served this meal with roasted cauliflower, you can serve it with summer corn, baked beans, cilantro rice, baked potatoes or a simple salad. Happy BBQing