Homemade BBQ Sauce


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Back in March 2010, Eric decided to clean up his diet. We were on vacation in Florida when he realized that most of his favourite foods and drinks (such as Coke, Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, Ketchup, multigrain bread, etc) contained high fructose corn syrup. We found this odd because the labels in Canada do not list this ingredient on the very same products. After reading up on it, we realized that high fructose corn syrup is often called ‘glucose-fructose’ on Canadian labels. We were shocked.

When we got home from our vacation, we discovered that many of the same cereals, sauces, and dressings in our kitchen contained ‘glucose-fructose’ so we did a pantry overhaul. Since that vacation, not one pop has crossed Eric’s lips and he also gave up his go-to products that contain glucose-fructose. This meant switching to Nature’s Path cereal, organic ketchup, Silverhills Bread, and 100% natural fruit juices, to name a few.

One of the glucose-fructose containing condiments is our beloved BBQ sauce! We use BBQ sauce a lot in the summer to give a little kick to whatever we’re grilling. We recently purchased an ‘all-natural’ BBQ sauce from Whole Foods only to find out that it contained corn syrup and a few other questionable ingredients. That’s when I decided to take matters into my own hands and try to make some myself.

Before the BBQ on Saturday, I made my first batch of homemade BBQ sauce adapting a recipe from Veganomicon that I saw on Matt’s blog. Any you know what? It really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The sauce was thrown together in no time. I’ll be making a couple modifications to this recipe next time I make it (I’ll talk about them below), but I think it was a good starting point!

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The sauce was much easier to throw together than I thought it would be! You basically just chop the onion and garlic, sauté, and then stir everything in, simmer for 20-30 minutes, and adjust the sauce to taste.

The sauce smells wonderful when it’s cooking in the saucepan. The flavour is quite nice, however I found the molasses flavour to be more pronounced than I prefer, so next time I will reduce the molasses to 3-4 tbsp. Other than that I loved it. The original recipe also called for 2 tsp liquid smoke, which I didn’t have, so you can always add that in if you prefer!

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I’m not sure how long it keeps for in the fridge, so I decided to freeze half the batch. Hopefully it freezes ok.

Yesterday, we used some of the leftover sauce and made up some yummy BBQ lentil sandwiches for lunch!

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The sandwiches contained:

  • Silverhills sprouted grain bread
  • hummus
  • lentils + bbq sauce, heated up
  • grilled red onion and yellow peppers
  • tomato slices
  • spinach
  • Cucumber
  • S & P


They were glorious. And messy. ;)

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In other news…it’s June 6th which means…

Happy Birthday to my Sister, Kristi!

I’m looking forward to the 3rd week in July when Kristi, Pete, and my nephews come to stay with us for a week! Kerrie and fam are also staying here for a weekend during Kristi’s stay…it’s going to be a good time! I better start planning some kid-friendly meals. ;) Any ideas?

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Also, Happy Anniversary to my loving in-laws, Ken and Margaret! Red heart


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{ 135 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing June 6, 2011

I recently posted on my own BBQ sauce too, and it totally trumps any store-brought type I’ve bought. It’s nice to know all the ingredients — no glucose-fructose mysteries going on, right? :) Plus, it’s a lot easier than I assumed it would be! Yours look delicious, as always Angela.

We are in Nebraska celebrating my in-laws anniversary as well (40 years!) — congratulations to yours too! :)


Julie @ Shining From Within June 6, 2011

Now I really really want one of the sammiches! That bread is just the cutest. :)
Shocked Whole Foods sells things with such ingredients. >:O!


Lauren at Keep It Sweet June 6, 2011

Wow, you and your sister look so much alike!

This BBQ sauce looks great, I’ve never made my own but love the idea of making it with just a few basic ingredients.


Carrie (Moves 'N Munchies) June 6, 2011

ah amazing!!!! i have veganomicon!! i needa ake this!!


Amy June 6, 2011

Eric is a totally a mini-me of his Mom eh?


jenna June 6, 2011

this sauce looks thick and full of flavor! Even better than bottled since it doesn’t have all the nasty’s in there!

i’m always so impressed with how you and eric have such a clean diet! it’s really inspiring!


Andrea B. @ Vegvacious June 6, 2011

Yum! My dad makes homemade bbq sauce, but I don’t think it’s as healthy as your version. Those sandwiches look awesome!!


Kier June 6, 2011

Wow – I have an intense craving for a sandwich now! That looks really delicious.

Happy Birthday to your sister and happy anniversary to your in-laws!


Felicia (Natural + Balanced) June 6, 2011

love that cookbook :) and those sandwiches looks amazing! now i’m craving lentils…


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 6, 2011

Wow, I had no idea labels could change like that depending on the country. Kinda manipulative! That sandwich looks amazing. Now you’ve got me thinking how I can incorporate some BBQ sauce into my lunchtime sandwich :)


Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty June 6, 2011

I had NO idea about that!! Ewwww…

I make a yummy BBQ sauce with sundried tomatoes and dates! mmmm

I know this sounds strange, but at the Summer Camp I ran last summer, I served the kids spiralized raw zucchini noodles with sauce, and they LOVED it!! They kept asking for it, so we had a “noodle” day every week!! :)

Have a great Monday!


Nikita June 6, 2011

I’m surprised that HFCS is labeled so sneakily in Canada!
I bet a good “kid friendly” meal would be one of your vegan macaroni and cheese dishes. It kinda depends how picky the kid is- when I lived with my little sisters I had a little sister would eat stir fried tofu and veggies and a little sister who would only eat white rice (no brown).


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 6, 2011

Great idea! Thanks :)


Mel June 6, 2011

How funny today I was in the Health Food store and I saw gummy sweets..I almost did backflips when it said gelatine free I havent had gummy sweets in a looong time. Then it said all natural ingredients..I threw a street party..Until I read the ingredients..first one was corn syrup. I refuse to eat that ever since I saw Food Inc. So dissapointed, yes I was.

But also yesterday I was craving a proper BBQ sauce and today lentils.. ..thats it Im off to the kitchen.


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 6, 2011

I think I must have checked out those same gummies at Whole Foods the other week. I was so close to buying them but I try my best to avoid corn syrup too.


Claire @ Live and Love to Eat June 6, 2011

I’ve been thinking about making my own BBQ at home – this looks fab!


Shanna, Like Banana June 6, 2011

Oh my goodness — how easy. I have a mild, er serious, obsession with BBQ sauce and I’d love to make my own.


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat June 6, 2011

Ahhh so that’s what the brown jar was!! I have a similar BBQ sauce recipe that I make to replace unhealthy store-bought ones, but haven’t made it yet this season because I need to get some more molasses and I forget about it every time I’m out! Great call on the Silverhills bread… it’s pretty much the only type I buy now! Which one is your favourite? I’m not celiac or anything, but the gluten-free Chia bread is absolutely delicious – even more so than the regular breads of other brands!


Sam@I Tell Stories June 6, 2011

Wow~! Eye-opener on the Raisin Bran and multi-grain bread. I definitely thought Raisin Bran was a healthy choice. I’ll have to keep a closer eye on the labels.

Thanks for the info!


O.C. June 6, 2011

I love condiments and it is so hard to find ones without all those icky mysetery ingredients in them these days so usually I just end up making my own too! I make a great mango chutney and my own marinade sauces so I’ll have to give this BBQ sauce a try :)
HFC is an especailly nasty add in because it comes from genetically modified corn. Scarry stuff!


Holly @ The Runny Egg June 6, 2011

Congrats to your in laws and happy birthday to your sister!

I love BBQ sauce — I’m glad I’ve found a few brands that do not have HFCS or a ton of sugar, or any other questionable ingredients. But maybe I need to try making my own!


Amber K June 6, 2011

Birthdays, anniversaries, happy joy all around!

I can’t stand the smell of BBQ sauce whenever my husband eats it. He wants to make his own, but I guess I’ll have to move out for a week! lol


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 6, 2011

hehe that’s funny, when I was making it Eric came into the kitchen and said ‘whoa it smells so good in here!!!’


Charlie June 6, 2011

I had no idea glucose-fructose is the same as HFCS!!! Thanks for sharing!
This BBQ sauce looks delicious! I’ll have to make some :). And that sandwich too :P.


Chloe (Skinny on South Beach) June 6, 2011

Yumm! Looks delicious – can’t wait to try it at our next BBQ!


Ashley June 6, 2011

I recently cut potato chips out of my diet, along with soda (which I rarely have, with the exception of ginger ale once in a blue moon). I realized, only recently, that whenever I get stressed, I would pop open a bag and just start eating mindlessly. I would eat a fairly healthy diet, but eat these in secret, eating till I felt overly full, then feeling even more awful about the situations or stressors. So on Thursday, I went through the house and pulled out all these bags– I have two other roommates who agreed they needed them out– and I threw them all out. I had cravings very strongly for the past two days, but Sunday I had no desire to ever touch them again. I didn’t need them! Turns out, I just wanted the crunch:) It’s a little embarrassing to say I was addicted– but I’ve had so much energy and my mood has been so much better since knowing I am strong enough to overcome something that has a negative affect on me. And this blog is what has helped me change my diet and life for the better! I love all your recipes, and you’ve inspired me to think of healthy, creative ways to live a better life!
And I love this BBQ sauce idea– do you think brown sugar, instead of sugar, would have an effect on the taste at all?


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 6, 2011

thanks Ashley! Congrats on your changes…that is amazing! I think not having the food in the house is probably the best way to break a habit. When it’s in the house it always gets eaten, right? Eric doesn’t bring pop into the house anymore (well he did for my bday party for other people but no one wanted it- ha!!) but he says his cravings for it are 100% gone now. It’s been about 15 months or so.


Ashley June 6, 2011

It definitely is much easier knowing the temptation to eat them is gone! And I’ve been trying to replace those cravings with concentrating on other areas– like giving myself ways to think of creative and fun snack ideas, or just sitting down and writing. When I was a kid, my mom got diagnosed with diabetes, so we didn’t have much sugar in the house, because she had such a huge sweet tooth, so we were able to cut back on sugar.
I think it’s crazy how much added sugar is in many foods. Lately, I’ve been cutting way back on the amounts of sugar I put in baked goods, and looking on labels for that high fructose corn syrup. It’s crazy how it’s in things that we don’t even need sweetened really!


Moni'sMeals June 6, 2011

Who does not love homemeade BBQ Sauce?
This is great! Perfect for this summer season headed our way. I put that stuff on everything! I even like you easy lentil sandwhich you got going on. :)

Those sneaky lil food labels…”glucose-frutose” UNREAL!

Happy Bday to your Sis. So pretty too! and the in-laws, Congrats!

Have a great day.


Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen June 6, 2011

LOVE BBQ sauce – and I try to be careful about high fructose corn syrup – it’s just eveeeerywhere though.


kate June 6, 2011

I love bbq sauce but its so expensive at whole foods, ill have to try this… especially w lentils that sounds amazing!


Heather June 6, 2011

Thanks for posting this recipe! I can’t wait to try it!

BBQ saue is the one on the only things I allow myself to buy with glucose-fructise in it and I have been meaning to make my own for ages!


Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit June 6, 2011

Good for you for making the switch! Hopefully high fructose corn syrup will not be renamed to corn sugar (in the US) I don’t believe Canada is there yet, and hope it never ever will be!
I love adding apple butter to my bbq sauce. It that secret ingredients that wows people!


DG June 7, 2011

Could you please post your recipe for bbq sauce that includes the apple butter?


Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit June 7, 2011
kristi (sweet cheeks) June 6, 2011

wow that sounds great! i definitely need to make this…I hate how horrible the ingredient lists are for the ones at the grocery store!

happy birthday to your sister!!! We are name twins. :D I don’t see it spelled my way very often!


Amanda Jewell @ Science&Bananas June 6, 2011

I’ve been wanting a homemade BBQ recipe for ages! Perfect timing b/c I’m getting back on track with eating more veggies (I’ve been lacking lately) so this sauce will ensure my veggie consumption :-) Those sandwiches look delectable; like a healthier version of a sloppy joe! YUM
Congrats to Eric avoiding HFCS for so long!


Heather (heathers dish) June 6, 2011

Homemade BBQ is the best ever…I live how it makes the whole house smell amazing!


Samantha June 6, 2011

Yay! I have been looking for a recipe just like this for the summer! Thank you so much for sharing! Just wanted to let you know that I have been a huge fan and have made quite a few of your recipes over the last few months and have been posting some on my blog (with due credit and links extending to you of course)! Thanks so much for all your hard work!


Andrea June 6, 2011

Hi Angela!
While this recipe looks delicious (as your recipes always do!) I’m a little concerned about the focus in this post on overly “clean eating”. I know that high fructose corn syrup/glucose-fructose is not the most nutritionally sound thing to be having a lot of, but is it really something that should be demonized as something we should “never” have? If a favorite food has glucose-fructose, should it be feared, or eaten sparingly and with moderation? Personally, focusing too much on “clean eating” strikes me as dangerous and restrictive. I’m not saying that this is the case for you or that there is anything wrong with your eating philosophy- I know you have a wide variety of foods in your diet and aren’t afraid of indulging in baked goods etc., but more of a general statement on our societal need to “perfect” our diet that can proliferate into dangerous restrictions and habits. I love good, natural, “healthy” food as much (or more than) the next person, but if something I like or love has glucose-fructose on the ingredient list, I won’t avoid it like the plague- life is too short. Anyway, I really didn’t mean to rain on the positivity parade of the post/comments but I just had to point out that in my opinion there IS such a thing as “too” clean, when it comes to eating. Thanks.


Amanda (Eating Up) June 6, 2011

I have been frustrated with the bbq sauces out there too, but it is a sweeter sauce so I just kind of accepted that fructose will be an ingredient! Maybe I’ll try this someday, although it’s hard to get my family to give up their all time favorite bbq sauce, Sweet Baby Ray’s!


Roz June 6, 2011

Wow…what a resemblence between you and your sister! And lovely shot of your in-laws!
Thanks for the bbq sauce recipe!


Keelie June 6, 2011

Wow. That is one sexy sandwich. I CANNOT WAIT to try the BBQ sauce recipe!!!


JenATX June 6, 2011

breakfast for the kids should be easy. Cut up pb&j sandwiches into fun shapes with a fruit salad! Kids also like foods they can dip so maybe some little zucchini pancakes with fun sauces?


Catherine June 6, 2011

Sounds yummy! You could also switch up the types of mustard, oil and vinegar for variation.

Since you are feeling adventurous, I have a challenge for you o lover of hummus you. Hummus salad dressing… How to transform yummy hummus to a salad dressing? The typical consistantcy is too thick on a salad for my liking.


Sierra June 6, 2011

Those sandwiches kind of remind me of sloppy joes….I bet the kids would like them! :)


This link is for falafel pitas and she suggests serving them “deconstructed” for kids. Sounds fun to me! :)


Ellie@fitforthesoul June 6, 2011

ahhhh this is a really cool recipe! thanks for sharing Angela! I love bone suckin’ bbq sauce but I’d like to give homemade a try. After all, that’s always yummier. :D

happy birfffday Kristi! And happy happy anniversary Ken & Margaret! BTW, that’s a beautiful dress Margaret has on.


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