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19th Century Onion BBQ Chutney

This historic recipe packs a punch!

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Spicy, tangy, and packed with fragrant herbal notes, this 19th Century Onion BBQ Chutney is a recipe ready to be revived! This set-it-and-forget sauce is easy to make and brightens up anything it touches with a unique punch of heat.

Via: Housekeeping in Old Virginia edited by Marion Cabell Tyree, 1879/Gutenberg

We think of BBQ, and we think more of the 20th century, but roasting meats has been something that’s gone way, way back. While many think of a thick amber-hued sauce slathering meat, relishes and chutneys have an equally deep connection with barbecue, as they were great ways to cut through the heaviness and smoked flavor of food (smoked flavor was in practically everything due to the cooking methods of the time). Vinegar-based sauces also hid potential off-putting tastes and smells of meat that may have made it unpleasant to eat.

This recipe comes from a cookbook titled Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree in 1879. While the recipe itself doesn’t have a title, this chutney is described as a great sauce for all types of cooked meats.

After prepping all of your ingredients, pour them into one jar or divide them among several smaller jars. If you’re dividing the chutney among a few jars, make sure that the hot peppers are evenly distributed and the peppers aren’t all in one jar.

Next, pour vinegar into the jar (or jars) and stir to combine.

It doesn’t mention refrigeration, but it’s best to let this rest in the refrigerator to play it on the safe side. This needs to rest for a minimum of one day.

Once done it’s ready to go on anything — burgers, hot dogs, sausages, steaks, or chicken — it’s that versatile!

This 19th Century Onion BBQ Chutney packs a punch and there’s no getting around it. The vinegar and onions amplify the spice but don’t overwhelm you with heat.

The spicy and vinegary properties of the chutney are perfect for fatty, greasy cuts of meat.

It’s great to have at a backyard BBQ, as it won’t spoil or get funky in the heat. This chutney would also be a great marinade for meat or wings.

19th Century Onion BBQ Chutney will become a workhorse and mainstay in your kitchen, it’s just that simple and that versatile!

Yield(s): Makes about 1 to 1 1/2 cups

10m prep time

24h inactive

4.6
Rated 4.6 out of 5
Rated by 11 reviewers
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Ingredients
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 hot peppers (you can use a jalapeño or any pepper you like), roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup white or apple cider vinegar
Preparation
  1. In a large jar combine the onions, peppers, sugar, celery seed, mustard, turmeric, black pepper, and salt, stirring to combine.
  2. Pour in the vinegar and refrigerate for at least 1 day.

Recipe adapted from Housekeeping in Old Virginia edited by Marion Cabell Tyree, 1879.