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.
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?
How Do You Make a Sweet Sauce without Sugar?
The trick to adding sweetness to a sauce without 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 Add Dates to a Barbecue Sauce?
The best way to get the most sweetness out of your dates AND the best way to make them easier to cook with is to heat them up in water! Dice them up into pieces – about 4 or five slices per date. (You want each piece to be about the size of a marble.)
Cover your dates with some water (a few tablespoons is plenty) and microwave for 1:30 seconds to 2 minutes. Break it 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 sticky and soft.
How Do You Make Paleo Barbecue Sauce?
To make the sauce, you now just add all of your ingredients, including the leftover water in your date mixture, to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir a few times 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.
Why is the Sauce Smoky?
The smoke flavor is achieved by adding Smoked Paprika instead of regular Paprika. If you do not like a smoky flavor, you can use regular paprika.
How to Blend Your Homemade Barbecue Sauce
Once your 20-25 minutes are up, remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender, let your sauce cool and add to a regular blender to puree. If you are using a regular blender, be sure to let the sauce cool before adding to your blender and hold onto the lid – blending hot liquids is very dangerous!
If using an immersion blender, tilt your pot to the side and make sure that the openings in the sides of your immersion blender are fully under the sauce. If your sauce is shallow when you try to blend it, the sauce will spray everywhere!
I like to leave the sauce a little chunky, but ideally, puree until the date and tomato chunks are well blended.
Your sauce is now ready, but should you want to intensify the flavors – you can simmer over low heat for a little while longer.
Use immediately or store in the refridgerator once cooled.
What is the Shelf Life of Homemade Barbecue Sauce?
Your homemade barbecue sauce will last a week in the refridgerator or it can be frozen and defrosted as needed.
Sweet and Smoky Whole30 Barbecue Sauce
- Small Saucepan
- Immersion Blender
- 5 small dates
- 5 tbsp water
- 1 can diced tomatoes, 14.5oz Fire Roasted Tomatoes are awesome as well. They add a little more of that smoky barbecue flavor!
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp coconut aminos Coconut aminos are a substitute for soy sauce. If you do not want to make a Paleo sauce, you can use soy sauce and decrease the amount of salt that you add.
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp paprika, smoked Smoked paprika helps to provide the smoky flavor in this sauce - if you do not want the smoky taste, regular paprika is a good substitute.
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp salt, kosher
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper Increase to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper if you want a little more heat.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Return to heat and simmer for 10-15 more minutes if you would like a deeper flavor or use right away.
- Serve with meats - ribs, chicken, pork - whatever your heart desires!