A take-off on New Orleans “barbecued” shrimp (also made on the stovetop), this combines shellfish with a piquant barbecue sauce that will have you licking your fingers. A 2-pound bag of mussels is just the right amount for serving a pair.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
Stir in paprika, dry mustard, chili powder and pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Pour in tomato sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire, liquid smoke (if using), honey and hot sauce, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer.
Add mussels and stir to combine. Return to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the mussels open, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir; discard any unopened mussels before serving.
Note: To debeard a mussel: Hold the mussel in one hand. Firmly pull out the black fibrous “beard” from the shell.
1 1/2 vegetable, 1 other carbohydrate, 3 lean meat