Featured, Kitchen

Mangoes on the BBQ

May 26, 2017

A sweet & tropical blaze for your Memorial Day Cookout

Every year in late spring, on the very last Monday in May, Americans celebrate Memorial Day. It’s a day where we honor serviceman who sacrificed their lives in American military operations. It’s a holiday that falls on the cusp of summer, and, for most, a BBQ weekend that signals that the long-awaited summer season has finally arrived.

The holiday has morphed over the years and turned into a long, three-day weekend, where, in addition to remembering our fallen soldiers, Americans celebrate, with fervent enthusiasm, the great American tradition of the BBQ or cookout.

This weekend, as you hang your flag at half-staff until noon, fire up the BBQ, grab your favorite people, and take advantage of the copious amounts of mangoes available at this time of year to add a tropical twist to your celebration.

A glimpse into my kitchen, during recipe testing time!

Below you’ll find my favorite Mango BBQ Sauce recipe, sure to impress even the most classic BBQ-saucers out there! I’m throwing in a few more delicious BBQ recipes for your Memorial Day cookouts, taking advantage of the remainder of spring’s offerings.

Mango Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Mango’s naturally sweet, buttery flesh makes an excellent addition to any BBQ sauce. It adds an unexpected balance that holds up to spicy, bold flavors. Its texture, especially in puree form, contributes to an even more velvety, luscious body to your BBQ sauce. Its natural sugars create an ideal opportunity for caramelization on the grill, whether you’re using a gas flame, wood flames or charcoal heat.

Makes about 3 cups

1 large ripe mango, peeled and chopped
(About 1½ cups of chopped mango)
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
½ cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup brown sugar or raw sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cumin powder
½ tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried chipotle pepper flakes
2 teaspoons smoked alder salt
½ can chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce
(1 whole can for spicier sauce)
2 8-ounce cans plain tomato sauce
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
Juice and zest of 1 lime


Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.


Mango BBQ Chicken

The most important thing to remember when making a BBQ chicken is that BBQ sauce is not a marinade. Most BBQ sauces have a lot of sugar and burn very quickly on a grill. To avoid scorched black chicken, you’ll need to follow a couple of rules. First, cook the chicken (covered) over indirect heat almost all the way through before applying the BBQ sauce. Once the skin starts to brown and turn a little crisp, move chicken a little closer to the flames or heat (if you are using charcoal) and begin to coat the chicken with sauce (mopping it). Flip the chicken every few minutes, allowing the sauce to absorb into the cooked chicken slowly. During the last 8 minutes of cooking, place the chicken directly over the flames/heat and continue to mop with sauce. Flip every few minutes until the chicken has the perfectly charred and caramelized coat. The entire process should take around 45-50 minutes for boned chicken. Smaller pieces, like wings, take less time than breasts. Note: BBQ chicken begs for constant attention.

If you are using a meat thermometer it should registers as follows:
Dark Meat (thighs and leg) 170°F – 175°F
White Meat (breast and wings) 160°F – 165°F

Mango BBQ Chicken
Serves 4


2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 whole chicken cut into: 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings, 2 breasts

2-3 tablespoons mango puree
(Ask your butcher to cut up a whole chicken; keep the backbone for your dog)
1 cup Mango-Chipotle BBQ Sauce


Pour the salt, pepper, lime zest, mango puree and juice all over the raw chicken. Place the chicken in a deep container, and mix well. Cover the chicken, and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, or prepare your coals/wood for grilling. (I like to cook the chicken cold and not let it come to room temperature first.) Place the chicken on the grill over indirect medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for about 20 to 30 minutes (depending on size of piece) until just about cooked through. Move it closer to the direct heat/flame, and begin to baste the chicken, mopping it generously with the sauce, and flipping every 3-5 minutes. After about 10-15 minutes of cooking it closer to the heat, move the chicken directly over the flames/heat. Baste the chicken just a little, flipping it every 2-4 minutes until caramelized and charred to desired liking. Allow to rest about 5 minutes before serving.

Early Summer Garden Slaw with Sinaloa-Mayo Dressing

Coleslaw is as important to any BBQ as the BBQ itself. I personally have never been a fan of mayonnaise-laden cabbage, so this was created in my quest for the perfect coleslaw, which started long ago. A good coleslaw requires the perfect ratio of crunch to dressing. I prefer seasonal coleslaws and find that a flavorful dressing is simple to create with little exuded effort!

Serves 4-6


For the dressing

1 clove garlic, chopped fine
Juice and zest of 1 lime
¼ cup champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons raw sugar
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Sinaloa Sauce*

For the salad

3 cups (approximate) shredded red cabbage
2 cups shredded Lacinato or Tuscan kale
2 medium shredded carrots
1 medium fennel bulb, halved and sliced thin or shaved
1 cup sugar snap peas, whole or julienned
½ medium onion, halved and sliced or shaved
¼ cup cilantro leaves


In a blender or mixing bowl, mix together the ingredients for the dressing until smooth and set aside. Toss together salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss the dressing over the salad, and mix well. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. Can be served cold or at room temperature.

Grilled Corn with Mango-Chili Butter

What BBQ is complete without a side of corn on the cob? This rendition with the mango-chili butter adds an element of decadence to a classic side.

Serves 4


4-6 ears of corn, shucked and soaked in water for 1 hour prior to grilling
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons mango puree
1 fresh, green or red chili pepper, destemmed, deseeded and chopped fine
2 “butts” (end pieces) of sliced bread


Mix together butter, salt, mango puree and chili peppers until well mixed. Set aside at room temperature.

Heat your grill on medium-high heat. Place the corn on the grill over indirect heat. Cover and grill for about 15 minutes, flipping a few times. The corn should be tender when pierced with a fork.

Place 1 tablespoon of the butter mixture on the butt of a piece of sliced bread. Place the hot corn on the butter side of the bread, and rotate the corn so that all the butter gets mixed into the corn and all over the cobb. Slide the corn back and forth all over the bread, ensuring total butter coverage. You’re basically using the bread to wipe the butter all over the corn on the cobb! (The bread is now also a delicacy in addition to the corn.)

*Method is brought to you from my childhood and my dad, Jack Pierson.


Rhubarb & Mango Pink Peppercorn Coolers

Makes 1 drink

2 ounces tequila reposado (Gran Centenario Rosangel)
½-ounce Rhubarb Pink Peppercorn Mango Syrup*
1-ounce lime juice
Lime wheel
Pink Peppercorn Cilantro Sugar*
Rhubarb Bitters

In a shaker filled with ice, combine tequila, rhubarb syrup and lime juice, and shake vigorously. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Fill with seltzer, leaving about ¼ inch of room at the top. Sprinkle a little Pink Peppercorn Sugar on top of the lime and add a few drops of rhubarb bitters on top.
*Rhubarb Pink Peppercorn Mango Syrup- Combine 2 cups chopped rhubarb, with ½ cup of fresh mango or 2 mango pits in a sauce pan with 1 cup sugar and 1½ cup water. Add 2 tablespoons crushed pink peppercorns. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Take off heat, and cool completely. Strain the liquid, and discard the solids.
*Pink Peppercorn Cilantro Sugar-In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon crushed pink peppercorns, 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, and 2 teaspoons lime zest with ¼ cup turbinado sugar, and mix well. Incorporate a little rhubarb bitters or lime juice to slightly moisten the mixture.

Sparking (Wine) Mango Popsicles

When it’s hot out, and the party starts early, these popsicles are the perfect choice—sweet and tropical, with a hint of boozy effervescence.

Makes 6 popsicles


1½ cups of mango puree*
Juice of 1 lemon
1½ cups of sparking wine
¾ cup water


Mix all the ingredients in a blender for a few seconds. Pour the mixture into 3-10 ounce popsicle molds and insert popsicle sticks. Freeze the popsicles for at least 6 hours before eating!

**In order to mix champagne or sparkling wine into a popsicle successfully, you need a ratio of 2:1 (2 parts easy to freeze liquid and 1 part sparkling wine).

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