This sweet and tangy, low FODMAP Homemade BBQ Sauce will rock your world! Ideal for pork, chicken, or beef, this homemade barbecue sauce is Paleo, refined sugar-free and vegan in addition to being low FODMAP. It's great for weeknight dinners, game night parties, and summer barbecues.
Why make your own barbecue sauce?
I love the taste of many commercially-produced barbecue sauces; however, commercially-produced sauces that are both Paleo and low FODMAP are few and far between. I actually don't know of any that are both Paleo and low FODMAP; only one or the other. Fody Foods makes a low FODMAP barbecue sauce I have yet to try that contains sugar; Primal Kitchen makes a Paleo and Whole30 complaint barbecue sauce that's okay but contains garlic and onion powder.
Back before my clean-eating, low FODMAP eating days, my absolute favorite barbecue sauce was Sweet Baby Ray's. Unfortunately, Sweet Baby Ray's contains ingredients that don't sit well with my stomach anymore. This inspired me to create a homemade barbecue sauce that was equally as yummy as Sweet Baby Ray's but made with unprocessed, low FODMAP ingredients. Barbecue sauce made with real, low FODMAP food!
Creating this Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe
The creation process started a long time ago and required more tests than usual. I even walked away from it at one point and took a break as I was getting very frustrated. Making a sauce that went well with pulled pork was my number one priority, yet every time I tested the sauce recipe on pulled pork, it just wasn't getting anywhere. Long ago, I fell in love with pulled pork while living in Cincinnati, OH. Cincinnati has a long history with pork that I discuss a bit with my Instant Pot Pulled Pork (Paleo, Low FODMAP) recipe.
When developing the recipe, I studied the ingredients in Sweet Baby Ray's, wondering what makes it so yummy. Pineapple juice was listed as an ingredient, and this intrigued me. I had a base recipe going, and adding the pineapple juice made it about 1,000 times better. The pineapple juice added sweetness as well as tangyness and helped in creating more depth of flavour.
The next ingredient in Sweet Baby Ray's I paid attention to was high-fructose corn syrup, which is definitely not a Paleo ingredient. How I could create sweetness that would stand up to corn syrup using Paleo compliant, low FODMAP sweeteners? My first go-to Paleo, low FODMAP sweetener is pure maple syrup (also known in our house as "Canada;" read more about this in my Instant Pot Chili con Canada (Low FODMAP, Paleo Option) recipe). I added a few tablespoons of that, and it did improve the flavour, but not quite enough.
Long story short, sweet, homemade barbecue sauces typically contain a lot (a LOT) of sweetener, usually brown refined sugar. I ended up having to add ¾ cup of maple syrup before it was sweet enough for my taste.
"Sweet Baby Ethan's" BBQ Sauce
This homemade barbecue sauce doesn't really taste like Sweet Baby Ray's. Yet, as it was largely inspired by it, I told my husband, Jeff, I wanted to name it "Sweet Baby Ethan's Barbecue Sauce" after our 3-year-old son.
Upon hearing this, Ethan seemed rather pleased; however, Jeff thought I might get sued by Sweet Baby Ray's, so I am unofficially naming it "Sweet Baby Ethan's" and officially naming it "Homemade Barbecue Sauce (Paleo, Low FODMAP)," which is no where near as cool as "Sweet Baby Ethan's" but more legally sound and SEO friendly, I suppose.
Nothing fancy required! The equipment I use to make this homemade barbecue sauce recipe include:
- A medium-sized sauce pan (mine is 2 quarts)
- A whisk
- Measuring cups and spoons
Homemade BBQ Sauce: Ingredients & Tips for Success
I've already mentioned a few key ingredients, but here's a rundown of the ingredients I use in this recipe:
A lot of homemade BBQ sauce recipes call for tomato sauce, but many commercially-produced tomato sauces contain garlic and/or onion of some sort. Strained tomatoes are similar to tomato sauce but a little thicker and contain only two ingredients: tomatoes and salt. In the Okanagan Valley of BC, they are available at almost every grocery store, typically located in the same area as tomato sauce. They come in a glass bottle and are the perfect texture for barbecue sauce.
I also add 2 tablespoon of tomato paste to thicken the sauce a bit more and add more acidity.
Sweet & Tangy Ingredients
To add the vital sweetness to this BBQ sauce, I add ¾ cup of pure maple syrup ("Canada") to the sauce. The ½ cup of pineapple juice also adds sweetness as well as the awesome tangyness. More tangyness comes from ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar.
Umami, Smokiness, and Seasonings
¼ cup of coconut aminos, a gluten and soy free soy sauce substitute, and 2 tablespoon of garlic-infused olive oil, add some umami flavour to the sauce. I add some smokiness with some smoked paprika, but don't add too much as the more you add, the more savoury the sauce becomes.
I round out the seasonings with dry mustard (sometimes referred to as ground mustard or mustard powder), an ingredient that can typically be found in the spices section of your grocery store; salt, pepper and cayenne.
Update: Liquid Smoke
My original barbecue sauce recipe, while good, didn't taste as smoky as I would have liked. I've since been researching and experimenting with including liquid smoke as an optional ingredient. Liquid smoke hasn't yet been tested by Monash University for FODMAPs, but the brand I use only contains water and hickory smoke concentrate, which is a natural byproduct of burning wood. Some other brands contain ingredients like molasses that can up the FODMAP content, although to what extent, I'm not sure - it may still be considered a tolerable amount.
Liquid smoke can be found at some major grocery stores in the same isle as the barbecue sauce, although here in BC, I had a hard time finding a brand with just smoke and water and ended up ordering one on Amazon. I ordered Try Me Sauce Hickory Liquid Smoke, which seems to work well. Wright's Liquid Smoke, which I have not tried, also only contains water and natural hickory smoke concentrate and seems to be a common and economical brand in the US.
Cooling, Storage and other Items
To make the recipe, just whisk everything in a medium saucepan and set over medium high heat until the sauce achieves a slow boil. Then, reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer for 20 minutes, whisking occasionally, until the sauce thickens.
Once it's thick enough, remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before adding it to meat. Allow to come to room temperature before refrigerating. Store in an air-tight container (such as a glass jar) in the fridge for 7-10 days. Make it a day in advance of whatever meat you're cooking to achieve even better flavour!
Apply to your favourite meats, like my Instant Pot Pulled Pork (Paleo, Low FODMAP).Print
This sweet and tangy low FODMAP homemade BBQ sauce is easy to make and great for weeknight dinners, game night appetizers, and summer barbecues. It's also Paleo compliant. Make it a day in advance to achieve even better flavor!
- 2 cups strained tomatoes
- ¾ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne (optional, lessen or omit for less heat)
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)*
- In a medium sauce pan (mine is 2 quarts), whisk together all of the ingredients.
- Set sauce pan over medium-high heat and bring to a low boil; reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, whisking occasionally, or until your desired thickness.
- Remove from heat, and once it's cool enough, taste the sauce and adjust seasonings to your taste.
- Let cool for about 10-15 minutes before applying to meat; cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
- Apply to your favorite meats, like my Instant Pot Pulled Pork (Paleo, Low FODMAP). Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.
- *While it has not yet been tested by Monash University for FODMAP content, certain brands of liquid smoke only contain water and hickory smoke concentrate, which is a natural byproduct of burning wood. See the post above for additional information.
- This barbecue sauce recipe makes about 4 cups or 32 ounces of barbecue sauce. This makes about 16 - ¼ cup sized servings.
- Update: 6/22/21 - tweaked ingredients and instructions to improve the flavor and viscosity of the sauce.
- Category: Condiment & Seasoning Mix
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: American
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