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Better than store-bought bottled – yes you can make your own BBQ sauce at home!

Karen’s All Natural Smokey Apricot-Tomato Barbecue Sauce

Better than store-bought bottled – yes you can make your own BBQ sauce at home! This is the best down-home All American Barbecue Sauce!

Tomato based with natural sweetness form the apricots and smokey heat from pasilla chiles.
Barbecued Chicken smothered with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Better than store-bought bottled – yes you can make your own BBQ sauce at home!


2 teaspoons safflower oil*, or neutral non GMO oil

1 ¼ cup sweet onions, peeled, chopped ¼” dice

⅔ cup fresh apricots, pitted, chopped (or can use ½ cup dried)

5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled, chopped (2 T.)

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

⅓ cup coconut palm sugar, ot light brown sugar

2 tablespoons dark molasses, organic if possible

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon dried Pasilla chile, soaked, seeded and chopped

¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

½ teaspoon italian seasoning, crumbled

¼ cup strong coffee

1 teaspoons liquid aminos (Bragg) or tamari sauce 

½ can tomato paste, 3 oz

14.5 ounces fire roasted chopped tomatoes, canned, organic 

½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste



In a heavy two quart non reactive pot, sauté onion until translucent in oil over low heat for 5 minutes.
Add garlic, raise heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes until lightly colored.
Add the next 13 ingredients (fresh apricots through fire roasted tomatoes) one by one and give a big stir.


Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, uncovered – stirring from time to time (to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pot.)


Add water when needed, when becomes too thick 1/4 cup at a time, up to 3/4 cup for the right consistency. Taste and season with sea salt.
Cool slightly – pulse in a food processor for a finer barbecue sauce (I do this.)


Add a tablespoon of good whisky if you like to the finished sauce.


Serve warm – it’s nice that way, or refrigerate in a glass air- tight container.
Will say fresh for up to one month – yes, you can freeze some – or “can” in ball jars for longer shelf stable storage.

When to apply sauce?

The best time to sauce a grilled (BBQ) chicken is when it’s nearly cooked – after it’s cooked, but wait until it is no more than a few minutes away from being done before you sauce it. You’re not trying to cook the sauce, and it takes no more than a few minutes to get the sauce to bind to the skin and form a sort of glaze and gather up some quick smoky flavor.

Use as a “mopping” sauce to baste the meat while it was cooking (in the late stage) and as a dipping sauce when it is served.


See BLOG for more photos, instructions and how-tos.

* with concerns about gmo’s and processing of oils, use a vegetable oil which has not been chemically treated, this is called “expeller pressed”.

This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer.

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