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This sweet and tangy homemade barbecue sauce will rock your world! Ideal for pork but easily tweaked to go well with chicken or beef, this homemade barbecue sauce is Paleo and low FODMAP. It’s great for weeknight dinners, game night parties, and summer barbecues.
Back before my Paleo, low FODMAP eating days, my absolute favourite 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 Barbecue 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 3/4 cup of maple syrup before it was sweet enough for my taste. I also added cinnamon as my pulled pork rub contains cinnamon as well, and it enhanced the pulled pork flavour really well. However, when testing the sauce on chicken wings, the cinnamon tasted a bit out of place, so I suggest leaving it out if making this sauce for chicken.
“Sweet Baby Ethan’s” Barbecue 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)
Measuring cups and spoons
Homemade Barbecue 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 barbecue 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 tbsp of tomato paste to thicken the sauce a bit more and add more acidity.
Sweet & Tangy Ingredients
To add the vital sweetness to this barbecue sauce, I add 3/4 cup of pure maple syrup (“Canada”) to the sauce. The 1/2 cup of pineapple juice also adds sweetness as well as the awesome tangyness. More tangyness comes from 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar.
Another sweet element I’ve included is cinnamon, which is a natural, low FODMAP sweetener. I’ve found the cinnamon tastes great with pork but kind of weird with chicken, so if you’re making this with chicken or beef, I suggest leaving it out.
Umami, Smokiness, and Seasonings
1/4 cup of coconut aminos, a gluten and soy free soy sauce substitute, and 2 tbsp 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.
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!
This sweet and tangy homemade barbecue sauce is easy to make and great for weeknight dinners, game night appetizers, and summer barbecues. It’s also Paleo and low FODMAP. Make it a day in advance to achieve even better flavour!
Hey! I'm Gail and changing my diet to Paleo and low FODMAP helped me overcome some chronic health issues I developed after the birth of my son. Good Noms, Honey! features my favourite Paleo, Whole30 and low FODMAP recipes. Did you make one of my recipes? Tag it #GoodNomsHoney - I'd love to see it!