August 4, 2013

Homemade Tangy Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

My freezer is full of barbecue sauce and your Google search for BBQ sauce gets that much harder...

Homemade Tangy Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

I hesitated to post a BBQ sauce recipe...well, because there are plenty of them. And people can be very particular about their barbecue sauce. But here you go. I figured after posting these Double Bacon BBQ Burgers that I had to post a BBQ sauce (I actually made the burgers because I was testing this sauce and needed something to use it for). I couldn't just leave you in the grocery aisle alone, searching through the hundreds of bottles of barbecue sauce. High fructose corn syrup. Corn starch. Corn syrup. Caramel color. Modified food starch (what, the what?). You get the point. One bottle I read was a special family, contest-winning, recipe. And the first ingredient -- high fructose corn syrup. 

Moving on. This is based off a BBQ sauce I used to make years ago. I don't recall where the original came from. It used ketchup and brown sugar, so I've changed it up a bit. I went through a lot of tomato paste to get to this sauce. I'll probably adjust it again as I continue to make it, but I'm happy with this one. Please adjust the flavors as needed for your taste. This is slightly tangy with a just a hint of sweet, smoky, and spicy. I don't like sweet barbecue sauce, so if you do, please feel free to add more sweetener. (And I know this is a long list of ingredients, but just take a look. Maybe you have most. And you can likely leave out a few spices like the celery seed or switch them up and it will still be tasty.)

Tangy Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
makes approximately 1 cup 

What you need:

1 tbsp ghee (or butter or coconut oil)
1/4 of a med/large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic (1 tbsp minced)
1 1/4 cup chicken broth (or beef or vegetable)
7 oz jar tomato paste (about 2/3 cup)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar*
2 tbsp molasses (or honey but I prefer molasses)
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
1 tbsp coconut aminos or low-sodium gluten-free Tamari
1 tbsp mustard (or 1/2 tbsp ground mustard)
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (regular is fine, but will change flavor)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp celery salt (or pinch salt and pinch celery seed)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
scant 1/2 tsp chipotle powder* or to taste (or cayenne powder but will change flavor)
Optional for sweeter sauce: 2-6 tbsp honey or maple syrup

Homemade Tangy Chipotle Barbecue SauceHow to make:

Heat ghee in saucepan and add diced onions. Saute for about 5 minutes, then add garlic and continue sauteing for a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well (I mix these together while the onions and garlic are cooking). Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to a simmer (low to medium low). Simmer uncovered for 20-45 minutes (or longer) until sauce has thickened. (I prop a top on the side of the pan, still keeping it uncovered, to avoid too much splatter.) Taste and adjust if needed (add more salt, spices, vinegar, sweetener, etc). Continue to simmer for thicker sauce or to enhance flavor further. Let cool and puree the sauce in a food processor until smooth.


  • Use 1/3 cup vinegar for less tangy and 1/2 cup for more tangy sauce. I like mine with close to 1/2 cup.
  • Spice factor: scant 1/2 tsp give just a hint of spicy. If you don't like spicy, decrease to 1/8 - 1/4 tsp or increase sweetener. If you want a spicy sauce, increase to 1/2 up to 1 tsp (or more if you really like a spicy sauce). You can also replace the chipotle powder with chipotles in adobo sauce. I use less than a 1/4 of one chipotle, but you can add as much or little as you like. 
  • I use Bionaturae jarred tomato paste which I get from Vitacost (HERE) or Tropical Traditions (HERE). I used homemade broth but there are a few store-bought options without additives.
  • For a more smoky flavor, add 1/2 tsp or so liquid smoke.

Use this BBQ sauce in these Double Bacon BBQ Burgers with BBQ-Avocado Sauce. Or just make the BBQ-Avocado sauce and put it on everything.

Tangy Chipotle BBQ Sauce with Double Bacon BBQ Burgers

If you try it out, let me know what you think! 

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