Date, Bourbon and Black Cardamom Barbecue Sauce
2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as avocado
1 black cardamom pod, crushed
1/4 teaspoon (heaped) whole cumin seeds
8 whole black peppercorns
Half large red onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 California dates, pitted and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 cup water
1/4 cup black vinegar (see Cook’s note)
1/4 cup bourbon
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon (dark) soy sauce (see Cook’s note)
1 tablespoon honey
1) In a small saucepan, warm oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add black cardamom, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, onion and garlic. Season with smoked salt. Cook, stirring often, until onions are soft and translucent.
2) Add chopped dates and cook, stirring often, until onions and dates smell sweet and brown slightly.
3) Now add water, vinegar, bourbon, molasses, soy sauce and honey. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
4) Pour into a blender, and process until smooth.
5) Pour back into the saucepan. Add a little water to the blender jar, secure lid and shake, in order to get the last bits of sauce out. Bring sauce to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer, and cook, uncovered 10-15 minutes.
6) Taste, season with smoked salt and pepper. Pour into a jar and serve or refrigerate.