Home » The Best Sweet and Smoky Whole30 Barbecue Sauce – Paleo, No Sugar Added

The Best Sweet and Smoky Whole30 Barbecue Sauce – Paleo, No Sugar Added

by Kari
A jar of barbecue sauce with a ribbon around the top on a gray wooden background.
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Sweet and Smoky Barbecue Sauce is the perfect, made from scratch, barbecue sauce. My homemade barbecue sauce is the perfect blend of sweet and smoky flavor with just a little bit of heat. Once you make your own barbecue sauce, you won’t buy another bottle.

A jar of barbecue sauce with a ribbon around the top on a gray wooden background.

At our house, we like to grill, smoke meats, and dip our chicken. I am no stranger to cooking and baking with sugar, but I love having the option to make a sauce that is both flavorful AND healthy.

Does anyone else’s dog go belly up for scratches when you are trying to get things done?

A black and white dog getting belly scratches on the floor.

Equipment Needed to Make Whole30 Barbecue Sauce

  • A saucepan or small pot: You want a pot that is around 3 or 4 quarts – any bigger and your barbecue sauce will spread out too much on the bottom of the pot and will be hard to blend when finished.
  • An immersion blender (or a regular blender): If using a regular blender, just be sure to let the sauce cool a little before blending.

What are the Ingredients in Whole30 Barbecue Sauce?

  • Smoked Paprika (You can use regular paprika but it won’t have the same smoky flavor.)
  • Dates and Water: You will cook the dates in water to soften and make the dates easier to work with.
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Black Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Coconut Aminos
  • Garlic
  • Kosher Salt

How Do You Make a Sweet Barbecue Sauce without Sugar?

The trick to adding sweetness to a sauce without any processed sugar is by using dates. You want a little sweetness in your sauce to balance out the smoke and heat, but sometimes, you just want to eat real food and avoid the extra sugar!

What is the Best Way to Use Dates in a Barbecue Sauce?

The best way to get the most sweetness out of your dates AND the easiest way to cook them is to heat your dates up in some water! Dice your dates up into pieces and remove the pit – about 4 or five slices per date. (You want each piece to be about the size of a marble.)

Next, cover your dates with some water (a few tablespoons is plenty) and microwave for a minute and a half to 2 minutes. Break the cooking time up into 30-second intervals and make sure that there is still water in the bowl for the dates to absorb. They should start getting really sticky and soft.

A small white bowl of chopped dates that have been heated in water to soften.

How Do You Make Paleo Barbecue Sauce?

Ingredients for Paleo barbecue sauce sitting on a black stove.

To make this paleo barbecue sauce, combine all of your ingredients, including your dates and the leftover water in the date mixture, to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Stir sauce a few times while it is coming to a boil to make sure that the bottom is not burning and then reduce your heat to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once your Whole30 barbecue sauce has simmered for 20 – 25 minutes, blend the sauce using an immersion blender or a regular blender. If using a regular blender, let the sauce cool so that you don’t end up with an explosion.

A white pot with reddish brown barbecue sauce simmering in it and an immersion blender pureeing it.

If your pot is too big, it will be too shallow to use the immersion blender. If you run into this, simply tilt your pot to the side. (If the openings on the sides of your immersion blender are NOT submerged, hot tomatoes will spray everywhere.) Remember, if you are using a regular blender, be sure to let the sauce cool before adding it to your blender and hold onto the lid – blending hot liquids is very dangerous!

I like to leave the sauce a little chunky, so I puree until the date and tomato chunks are well blended but there are still some visible tomato chunks. (The texture looks like a can of crushed tomatoes.)

You can stop here, but I like to simmer the blended sauce for another 5 – 10 minutes to help get richer and deeper flavors.

A white pot with reddish brown barbecue sauce simmering in it.

What Makes this Whole30 Barbecue Sauce Smoky?

You can achieve a great smoke flavor in your barbecue sauce by adding Smoked Paprika instead of regular Paprika. If you do not like a smoky flavor, you can use regular paprika.

Use immediately or store in the refrigerator once cooled.

What is the Shelf Life of Homemade Barbecue Sauce?

Your homemade barbecue sauce will last 10 -12 days in the refrigerator (you can keep it longer, but the quality of the sauce will not be as good) or it can be frozen in portions and defrosted as needed.

A jar of barbecue sauce with a ribbon around the top on a gray wooden background.

Consider Trying My Other Whole30 Sauces as Well:

A jar of barbecue sauce with a ribbon around the top on a gray wooden background.

Sweet and Smoky Whole30 Barbecue Sauce

Sweet and Smoky Barbecue Sauce: Ever wonder how to make barbecue sauce from scratch? My homemade barbecue sauce is the perfect blend of sweet and smoky flavor with a little bit of heat. Once you make your own barbecue sauce, you won't buy another bottle.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiments, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bbq, paleo, whole30
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 35kcal
Cost: $5

Equipment

  • Small Saucepan
  • Immersion Blender

Ingredients

Date Mixture

  • 5 small dates
  • 5 tbsp water

Barbecue Sauce

Instructions

Date Mixture

  • Chop your dates into bite-size pieces (around the size of a marble) and mix with water.
  • Heat for 30 seconds and check to make sure that there is still water. Repeat 3-4 times so that dates are soft and water is sweet. (1:30 – 2 minutes total.)

Barbecue Sauce

  • Combine all ingredients to your saucepan, including the date and water mixture.
  • Mix well and bring to a boil.
  • Once the sauce is boiling, decrease the heat to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  • Blend with an immersion blender* (making sure that the blender is fully submerged.) *If you do not have an immersion blender, let the sauce cool and add to a regular blender. Be sure that it is cooled before blending as it is dangerous to blend hot liquids.
    A white pot with reddish brown barbecue sauce simmering in it and an immersion blender pureeing it.
  • Return to heat and simmer for 5 – 10 more minutes if you would like a deeper flavor or use right away.
  • Serve with meats – ribs, chicken, pork – whatever your heart desires!

Notes

Store your homemade barbecue sauce in the refrigerator once it has cooled off. The shelf life of homemade barbecue sauce is about 10 – 12 days. If you think that you will not use all of your sauce, you can freeze half of it – it freezes and defrosts really well! (You can also do a double batch and freeze it in portions so that you have some ready to go when you need it 😉 )

Nutrition

Serving: 2tbsp | Calories: 35kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 697mg | Potassium: 165mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 555IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg
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3 comments

Beth July 19, 2019 - 6:16 pm

5 stars
I’m always looking for tasty sauces, especially paleo for my daughter-in-law. Coconut aminos are the best! We are really cutting down on sugars, though, and wonder how few dates you could use? They have a pretty distinctive flavor and I overdid it with them not long ago trying to make a GF date bar. Could I use two or three?

Reply
Angela Greven | Mean Green Chef July 18, 2019 - 5:31 am

5 stars
I love making my own sauces too, they’re SO much better than store-bought, great flavor combo here smoked paprika makes everything better! lol

Reply
Erika July 17, 2019 - 1:23 pm

5 stars
I love homemade sauces and this BBQ sauce looks delicious!

Reply

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