Sweet Heat: Spicy Plum BBQ Jam

Plum BBQ Jam

Cowboy Charcoal is en route to Eau Claire, Wisconsin for Country Jam 2015! While some of Country music’s biggest stars like Lady Antebellum, Eric Church, Hunter Hayes and Blake Shelton are serenading the audience, we’ll be continuing our mission to raise awareness and support of Operation BBQ Relief.

In celebration of the upcoming festival, we’ve got a BBQ jam recipe for you – BBQ sauce made with fruit! This is the perfect marinade, basting blend or dipping sauce for your delicious dishes hot off the grill. If you haven’t tried a fruit-based sauce in your grilling endeavors yet, here’s a great introduction.

Spicy Plum BBQ Jam
Yields 3 cups

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds plums, pitted and chopped
  • 1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper


  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat
  • Add in onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent
  • To the sauce pan, add in plums, diced tomato, balsamic vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, salt, cumin and crushed red pepper
  • Stir thoroughly to mix ingredients together
  • Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and let simmer uncovered for about an hour, stirring occasionally
  • Once cooked, let contents cool slightly before transferring to a blender or food processer to puree
  • Pour your pureed jam into a jar or container
  • This sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 months


Although this sauce is delicious on almost everything, we like pairing it with grilled pork tenderloin. Let us know what you try your BBQ Jam on! Email us at TheRoundup@CowboyCharcoal.com and you could be featured on our blog!

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    Mastering the Art of Grilling Vegetables

    Grilled Vegetables

    Zucchini, eggplant, onions, peppers, corn, asparagus…the list of tasty summer vegetables goes on and on. Grilling these veggies creates tender, sweet and smoky flavors – perfect for any summer meal. But at one time or another, we’ve all been guilty of overcooking the veggies and ended up with dry, charred and lifeless produce.

    Here are our four tips for delicious, perfectly grilled vegetables.

    Vegetables dry out easily in the extreme heat of the grill. Before you grill your veggies, toss them with a light coating of oil. Oil also helps seasonings like salt and pepper stick to the produce. Make sure not to use an excessive amount, too much coating could cause the oil to drop onto your hot coals and cause flare-ups.

    Grilling Baskets
    Depending on the type of vegetable, it might be easier to cook in a basket instead of skewer. With a basket, you can shake and toss your veggies over the flames – ensuring an even grilling. This one from Weber has great high sides to keep your veggies inside, and because it doesn’t have a handle, you’ll still be able to close the grill lid!

    Aluminum Foil
    Sometimes the best way to grill vegetables is to wrap them up in a foil packet. Because of their short cook time, veggies need to be carefully minded when on the grill. If you don’t want to babysit your food, aluminum foil packets will keep your veggies flavorful and moist even if you have to walk away from the grill. Try doubling your foil layers for extra protection from burning and to ensure they won’t dry out.

    Marinade isn’t just for meat. Vegetables can also benefit from a soak. Even marinating for as little as 30 minutes can add a punch of flavor to your produce. Combine your veggies in a bowl with a simple marinade of olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice and garlic before grilling. Trust us; your taste buds will thank you!

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      Hot Ribs and Cool Jazz: 36th Annual Jazz and Rib Fest


      Celebrate summer at the Columbus Jazz and Rib Fest July 17th – 19th. Set against the Scioto River in the city’s bustling Arena District, this three day festival boasts live entertainment and finger lickin’ good bbq. The best part? No admission fees!

      Cowboy Charcoal and Operation BBQ Relief will be there cheering on 22 Rib Burners from across the country as they compete for “best rib” bragging rights. Awards will be presented across 6 different categories: The Critics’ Choice, All-Ohio Champion, Best Sauce, Big Whigs’, People’s Choice and The Silver Axe (presented by the Columbus Division of Fire). In addition, three stages will host three days worth of the finest local, regional and international jazz artists.

      If you find some free time between listening to smooth jazz and chowin’ down on delicious ribs – here are four free activities you can check out around Columbus.

      • Grab your phone and head to the Ohio State House – There is a self-guided cell phone tour featuring seven monuments on Capitol Square. Signage at the base of each monument highlights a tease question about each sculpture and a local phone number which visitors may call to reveal a 30 to 90 second audio description of each monument. The State House is also completely open to the public – make sure to check out the ground floors for educational displays.
      • Sample local food and people watch at North Market – The North Market was established in 1876 and has over 30 merchants. Spend a few hours walking around, sampling the fare and absorbing the local culture. The market opens at 9 a.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. on Sundays.
      • Be one with nature at Columbus’s downtown Topiary Park – This extensive topiary garden plays on the intersection of art, nature and life. The park is most known for its living sculptural interpretation of Georges Seurat’s Post-Impressionist Painting, a Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte. That’s right – 54 human figures, eight boats, three dogs, a monkey and a cat – all shaped out of living trees and shrubs.
      • Take a break from the city at Hayden Falls – The falls are located on the West Side of the Scioto River. A boardwalk, steps and an overlook make this 25-foot waterfall extremely accessible to viewers, and aid in protecting the natural ecosystem.
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        9 Creative Ways to Top Your Dog

        Hot Dog

        Cowboy Charcoal is on the way to the South Carolina Festival of Discovery for a weekend of BBQ and Blues!

        Festival of Discovery Logo

        In addition to a BBQ competition and Blues Cruise, the SC Festival of Discovery hosts an annual hot dog eating competition. Last year, the winner ate 18 hot dogs in 12 minutes! While not everyone can be a hot dog eating champion, we agree that nothing says summer quite like a juicy hot dog fresh off the grill.

        To honor the festival’s tradition, we’re giving you some ideas to dress up your dog. Next time you fire up the grill, try shaking up your traditional ketchup and mustard routine with these fun and delicious flavor combos! What do you like to top your dog with? Email us at theroundup@cowboycharcoal.com to share your favorite flavor combinations.

        Seattle Dog: Spread with cream cheese then top with grilled onions and sliced jalapeños.

        Peach Salsa Dog: Feeling fresh and spicy? Top with chopped peaches, chopped jalapeños, cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.

        BLT Dog: Wrap your hot dog in bacon, grill and then top with mayo, lettuce and tomato.

        Vietnamese Dog: If you’re feeling adventurous, top with spicy mayo, sliced cucumber, shredded carrot and fresh mint leaves.

        Jalapeño Popper Dog: Spread with cream cheese, jalapeño pepper and toasted bread crumbs.

        Mac Daddy Dog: Simple but delicious – top with your favorite boxed or homemade mac & cheese.

        Reuben Dog: Top with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing.

        Frank and Beans Dog: Top with beans, mustard, bacon and chopped onion.

        Steak House Dog: Feeling fancy? Top your dog with tomatoes, onions and steak sauce.

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          A Twist for Your 4th of July

          Fourth of July, a grillers paradise. Though most pitmasters tend to stick to meat, try adding a grilled drink to your celebrations this year. While adding grilled elements such as fruit and herbs to your beverages may sound strange, it will actually add a tremendous amount of robust flavor. How? The heat from the grill caramelizes the fruit, creating a delicious combination of smoky and sweet – all in one drink!

          Plus, what would a Fourth of July BBQ be without a little lemonade? Try serving up this grilled twist on a classic drink, it’s sure to be a hit.

          Grilled Basil Lemonade


          • 16 lemons, halved
          • 5 cups water, dived
          • 11/2 cup of Basil, chopped
          • 1/2 cup of Honey
          • 1 cup Sugar


          • Fill grill with Cowboy Lump Charcoal and light.
          • Cut lemons in half — reserve a few slices to use as garnish
          • Place sugar in medium-sized disposable aluminum pan.
          • Dip the lemon halves, cut side down, into the sugar until lightly coated. Set aside.
          • In the same pan, prepare to make simple syrup – mix 2 cups of water, honey and chopped basil with the remaining sugar.
          • Once the coals are ashed over, place aluminum pan onto the grill.
          • Add lemons directly to the grill grates, cut side down.
          • Let the simple syrup mixture simmer on the grill, stirring occasionally to make sure the sugar is dissolved (should take approximately 10 minutes)
          • Grill the lemons until the sugar has caramelized – turning the cut side of the lemon to a golden brown.
          • Take lemons off the grill and let cool.
          • While the lemons are cooling, place a wire mesh strainer over a large pitcher. Strain the basil syrup mixture into a pitcher.
          • Next juice the lemons through the mesh strainer and into the pitcher.
          • Add 3 additional cups of cold water and stir to combine
          • Serve over ice, garnish with remaining basil.
          • For the adults, this lemonade is also fantastic with a splash of bourbon!
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