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BBQ Sauce

bbq sauce

Spring is in full bloom here in Colorado and it’s gorgeous. Bright clear days in the high 70’s, perfect for hiking, taking the boys to the park and breaking out the grill! While the lucky folks in California probably start grilling a bit earlier, we usually wait until May to fire ours up.

Luckily, Katie had me on my toes with a request for gluten free barbecue sauce a couple of weeks ago. She was looking for something with no sugar or agave.

To be honest, I am not a natural when it comes to the open flame; in general, my husband does the grilling in our family (so manly!) and slathers up the fixins’ before he throws them on the grill. In order to get my BBQ bearings I went to bbqrecipesecrets.com. On that site, I learned that there are 3 types of barbecue sauce –tomato, mustard or vinegar. Unfortunately, for me, and perhaps some of you, each of the recipes contains a significant amount of sugar, so I used their Basic Tomato BBQ sauce recipe as a map, adding and subtracting from it to create the new one below. I hope you like it Katie!

BBQ Sauce


  1. Warm oil in a saucepan over medium low heat
  2. Add garlic and shallot; cook until soft
  3. Add tomato paste, orange juice, vinegar, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper
  4. Simmer over low heat 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often
  5. Baste over fish or chicken
  6. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for 1-3 hours
  7. Grill and serve

Serves 6 (makes enough sauce for one whole chicken or 4 breasts)

You may notice that grilling instructions are conspicuously absent –you do not want to get them from me. While my husband is not a chef, he is, as I mentioned the grill master in the family and I assure you, that when he starts his food blog, you will find grilling instructions there. For now, try these.

Feel free to use this gluten free barbecue sauce creatively. I imagine it would be delicious on pasta or a sandwich –I must have eaten half a batch by mopping it up with bread the night I first made it.

posted on May 6, 2008, 28 comments

  1. Katie

    Elana~ this recipe looks great! I’m going to the store right now to get these ingredients and i cannot wait to try this sauce! Thank you again for going through the troubles to find this for me, it is much appreciated:)

  2. Good thing it’s almost lunch time for me; that photo is making me hungry! :)

    I love your blog Elana. I recently made your cupcakes and posted about them: http://thegoodeatah.blogspot.com/2008/05/two-thumbs-up-elanas-cupcakes.html

    They were sooooo good. I can’t wait to make more of your recipes.

  3. Katie -You are so welcome! It was nice to have the inspiration of your request, in creating this recipe.

    LizzieI LOVE the pic of the cupcake with the dog on your site –GREAT! Thanks for reviewing my recipe and glad you liked it.

  4. Emilia

    What a great recipe, I love the fact that you didn’t use any unhealthy ingredients in it.

    I will definitely try this the next time we grill.

  5. Bucky

    I am excited by a barbecue sauce recipe that doesn’t call for preposterous ingredients like ketchup or liquid smoke.

    I do have one question, though:

    How much is your “jar” of tomato paste? I have a choice of 6 or 12 oz in my supermarket.

  6. This sounds great! Very inventive!

  7. Bucky -Thanks for stopping by and thanks for pointing out my oversight. It is great to have readers such as you that keep me on my toes and make this blog better! Per your tomato paste question, I updated the recipe above with an amount (7 ounces). You could try out the 6 ounce jar, I think it would probably work. Hope this helps.

    Emilia -Thanks for your kind words; please let us know how it turns out when you make it.

    Jerry -Thanks!

  8. That looks fantastic. I will try it with tofu. Super yummy recipe!

  9. Thanks Erik! Let us know how it works out with the tofu.

  10. It came out great, the Celtic sea salt was a little pricy so I used regular sea salt. I love the smokyness from the paprika. I’ll be making this BBQ recipe all summer long. Thanks!

  11. Chef Erik -Thanks for reporting back. So glad you liked it!

  12. I’m new to the world of g/f foods, and this recipe will join my growing catalog. Looks great!

  13. Paula -Welcome to the world of gluten-free foods and thanks for joining us here! Elana

  14. I love the bbq sauce and I got rave reviews on the bbq chicken at my dinner party tonight. It was a hit, Elana. Also served the vanilla cupcakes, spinach salad with pistachios, and lemonade. I was feeding a gluten-intolerant crowd and they loved the food. I am so happy to have found your site. Your creativity and excellent recipes are truly appreciated.

  15. Eden-

    Thanks so much for your kind words and for letting me know about your fabulous dinner party –so glad your crowd enjoyed the food.


  16. Monika

    I had reveiwed the FAQ page but I didn’t see anything about a substitution for apple cider vinegar. Both of my children are grain free, gluten free, dairy free but my youngest daughter is also corn free and apple free. Is there something that I can use other than the Apple cider vinegar as I would love to finally have a barbecue sauce that we all can enjoy. Thanks

  17. Monika,

    Not sure how it would turn out, you could try using lemon juice instead of apple cider vinegar. Also, you might want to post this query in my forums as others might face this same issue and have ideas for you.

    Hope this helps.


  18. Thanks for the gluten free BBQ sauce recipe. I have a friend that will be able to use it. And for the website bbqrecipesecrets*com, I have to add it to my favs.

  19. Chelsea

    What brand of dry mustard do you use ? Thank you

  20. Cari

    I found some Applegate Farms little smokies the other day and was wondering what kind of BBQ sauce I was going to use to simmer them in. Looks like I found it! Do you think this recipe will make enough to simmer about a pound of smokies, or should I double it?

  21. I have been wanting a sugar free BBQ sauce recipe for a very long time. This looks great! I can’t wait to try it. Still enough summer left to grill out and enjoy. Thank you, Elana!

  22. Lakisha Scott

    Hi Elana, I love your web-site(just wanted to let you know that.) I saw your beautiful barbeque sauce recipe, and I was wondering if you had a ketchup recipe that you could share? Thanks

  23. Pamela

    Hi Elana:

    just stubble across your website, love it! I am going to try that Barbeque Sauce. One question I cannot have orange juice could you let me know what I can use instead? Thanks much!

  24. Julie

    This recipe looks great, however, I’m allergic to paprika (and all peppers for that matter). Any ideas for things I could substitute? Or do you think the sauce would still taste ok without it?

  25. Carrie

    I’m wondering if I threw these ingredients in a crockpot with some chicken breast of it would come out like pulled chicken. That’s how I’ve made it with jarred BBQ sauce before but I have been searching everywhere for a recipe like this without all the sugar!

Leave a Reply

Comments are greatly appreciated! Unfortunately Elana is not able to answer substitution questions, as the only way to know if something works is to test it, and she does not provide this service. If you have a substitution question, please don't hesitate to leave a comment here, and another reader may jump in to answer. ↑ back to top