The perfect BBQ sauce is tangy, spicy, and sweet. Sometimes, it’s hard to find a store-bought BBQ sauce that hits all the flavor marks while also being healthy. Reading through the bottle’s ingredient list doesn’t help either, because a lot of those chemicals are hard to pronounce.
This is why homemade condiments are so loved by health-minded people. You know exactly what ingredients go into your sauces and dips, controlling the salt and sugar contents along the way. This can be done with BBQ sauce, but also ketchup, mustard, salsas, mayonnaise, pickles, salad dressing, and any other saucy toppings that have bottled counterparts. You won’t believe how easy it is to create your own healthier sauces that most of us buy at the supermarket.
Using healthy ingredients in your BBQ sauce makes for a healthy end product. In this sauce, blackberries are used to add a fruity element and to cut down on some of the sugar content inside. Low-sodium and low-sugar ketchup are also used, but you can use keto ketchup if that’s what aligns with your diet.
Spices such as chili powder, mustard, garlic, and onion powder add depth to the BBQ sauce. A good sauce for barbecue has acidity, so both apple cider vinegar and lemon juice are used to cut through the richness and sweetness. Adding a spicy element by way of cayenne adds another flavor note on the tongue. The sweet/sour/savory/spicy combination is out of this world and is a nod to Thai cooking.
Making your homemade BBQ sauce (and other condiments) is super simple, too! All you need to do is add all ingredients into a saucepot and cook them until reduced and concentrated. Taste along the way to ensure proper seasoning. I like to strain my BBQ sauce so that the seeds are removed since we are using whole blackberries. This also improves the texture while leaving that sweet blackberry flavor.
This recipe takes barely any time or effort to make. Once all ingredients are assembled and added to the pot, you can do other things while the sauce reduces. It’s not a “set it and forget it” sauce because there will be some stirring involved, but that is the extent of the effort required. Even novice home cooks can make this sauce with ease.
When your BBQ sauce is reduced and thickened, allow it to cool completely. Add the contents to a lidded mason jar and keep in the fridge until you are ready to use. This sauce will last about 2 weeks in the fridge, but you can also can and seal your BBQ sauce in mason jars if you plan on making a double or triple batch. It’s great as a gift for the holidays!
Use this BBQ sauce recipe on chicken, steaks, pork, eggplant, tofu, shrimp, salmon, or ribs. The sugars will caramelize right on the grill, leading to a charred, yet sweet flavor. Due to the blackberries, this sauce has a beautiful purple hue that will impress your family and friends.
The best way to eat this sauce is to toss it with shredded chicken and serve it in a lettuce wrap or on a sandwich. Top with red onion and some slaw for a genuine BBQ meal. Make this in the middle of the summer heat, or during the cold season to fight off winter blues.
Combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to medium. Whisk together to combine completely and bring to a low boil.
Once boiling, turn down to medium-low heat and allow to simmer. Using a potato masher or fork, mash the berries into the sauce until it is smoother and no whole berries remain.
Allow the sauce to simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently to prevent sticking and burning. There are lots of sugars in this sauce, so it can burn easily. Taste and season accordingly to your taste. Avoid adding salt to keep the sodium low!
Once the sauce has simmered and reduced by about half, remove it from the heat. Allow it to cool slightly.
Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the sauce, pushing through with a spoon to guide the sauce along. This will remove any seeds from the sauce and enhance the texture.
Pour into a clean mason jar and secure the lid.
Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Use for topping any meats, fish, veggies, or use as a dip for chicken tenders or potato wedges.