Skip to main content

Homemade Barbecue Sauce Makes All the Difference

Is barbecue sauce on your Summer Menu? Whether you’re grilling chicken, steaks or ribs, the right sauce can complement any dish. In summer, I like to experiment with sweet and fruity notes, like apricots and cherries, as well as smoky and spicy flavors from chipotle peppers, fresh ginger and hot sauce. But before you run to the grocery store to stock up, consider opting for homemade barbecue sauce this season.

lit charcoal grill with fire

You probably know by now that I’m not a fan of store-bought, pre-packaged foods unless they are fully vetted first. My rule of thumb includes a strict label read, where I expect to only see whole foods I can pronounce. Once I spot items like soybean oil, corn syrup and caramel color, I place the bottle back on the shelf. It’s not easy to find very simple (and still tasty) brands, so I make my own.  I went looking for other recipes for inspiration and to find ideas for how to make them appropriate for Whole 30, and AIP diets.

These sauce recipes below are easy to prepare, and it’s the best option if you’re following an Autoimmune, Paleo, Candida or Nightshade-free diet. Plus, your guests will be impressed by your DIY skills!

4 Sensational Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipes

Here are some recipes I have found to give great results and they all start with real food ingredients.

  • Tomato Free BBQ Sauce: If you’re avoiding nightshades this recipe is for you. Free from tomatoes and peppers, cranberries take center stage to create a sweet and tart sauce. This one might be hard to make during the summer as fresh cranberries usually appear towards Thanksgiving. Ask your produce department if they can get them for you. Leave out the liquid smoke if you are going to be using this sauce on grilled or smoked meats.


  • Paleo BBQ Sauce from Against All Grain: This is a more traditional recipe with one exception: no refined sweeteners! While many bottled brands and recipes incorporate sugar or honey, this version is only sweetened with dates.



  • Bourbon BBQ Sauce from Happy Healthy Mama: A combination of bourbon and honey creates a masterful homemade barbecue sauce in under 30 minutes. Just be sure to use good bourbon (one that you would also drink) to impart the best flavor.


Save Time on BBQ Day

BBQ sauce is one of those things you can make well ahead of time and have it ready to go anytime you grill. Prep it in advance and have a jar in the fridge. Since these sauces don’t contain preservatives, they won’t last as long as the store-bought ones. Although, I have had a jar of my sauce in my fridge for over a month and it still tastes and looks fine. Use your best judgment.

I would love to hear what you do with your own BBQ sauce, what tweaks do you make or special ingredients you love to throw in?

Leave a Reply