Sweet Baby Ray’s: Unexpected sweet and spicy flavors make a mean pizza pie | Erin’s Local DishBanner, Erin's Local Dish, Opinion — By Erin Robertson on November 24, 2009 at 12:50 pm
FAYETTEVILLE — Not all sauces are created equal.
Ask any barbecue aficionado, and they’ll easily list off the differences between Kansas City and Carolina-style sauces, each more spicy and vinegary than the next. Store-bought varieties provide the same sort of complexity as the tried-and-true homemade sauces, and can even pack more of a punch with their gourmet flavor combinations.
This is the case with Sweet Baby Ray’s Raspberry-Chipotle BBQ Sauce. What at first sounds like a strange pairing between spicy and sweet actually proves to be a crowd-pleaser.
I’m not much a fan of sauces in general, as meats and vegetables are too often drowned by gallons of cheese or dressings. But just a dab of Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce kept me coming back for more.
The raspberry flavor is definitely apparent, but isn’t so saccharine that it overshadows the subtle chipotle pepper. The spice comes in after the fruit, providing ample heat and a hint of smoke.
My first adventure with Sweet Baby Ray’s was with a tender beef brisket. The sauce highlighted the dark flavors of the meat and balanced them with the delicate hints of raspberry. The sauce appeared a second time coating roast pork tenderloin. It was made succulent by the penetrating heat of the chipotle and with a lingering sweet taste — it is an easy way to change the direction of a typical meat meal.
The mingling of flavors inspired me to create a recipe that highlighted the marriage of flavors.
My Raspberry-Chipotle BBQ Chicken Pizza makes a great pre-game appetizer or a satisfying and fun dinner.
- 5-6 boneless chicken breasts (amount depends on the size of the breasts and the amount desired on the pizza)
- ½ cup red onion
- 1 c. fresh baby spinach
- 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
- Olive Oil
- Sweet Baby Ray’s Raspberry-Chipotle BBQ Sauce
- Pizza crust (I recommended Mama Mary’s brand.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thinly coat a pan with olive oil, place chicken breasts on pan, and place in preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until evenly cooked, flipping the breasts halfway through the time.
While the chicken is cooking, finely slice and sauté onions in a pan with a tsp. of olive oil. Remove from heat once caramelized.
Once chicken is finished, remove from pan and let cool on a plate. With a knife and a fork, shred and/or cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Drizzle with desired amount of BBQ sauce and toss so that the chicken is coated liberally.
Drizzle the pizza crust with olive oil and spread BBQ sauce-covered chicken evenly over the crust. Top with onions, baby spinach and mozzarella cheese.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and then lower to 425. Bake at 425 degrees for 7.5-10 min., or until cheese bubbles and the crust is golden brown.
The sweetness of the caramelized onions picks up on the raspberry flavors in the BBQ sauce, and the spinach adds a verdant bite while the chewy mozzarella binds it all together. This is also a great way to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey – just toss the meat in the sauce, throw the ingredients on a pizza crust and dinner is ready in about 15 minutes.
Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce can be found in local grocery stores like Harp’s and Wal-Mart in the condiments and salad dressing aisles. The brand features many other gourmet-flavored sauces, and more recipes can be found at www.sweetbabyrays.com.
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