When you need a quick sauce for your next cookout, this recipe for blueberry BBQ sauce is your answer. Tangy, slightly sweet and fruity with the flavor of blueberries, this sauce can be ready in less than 10 minutes using blueberry jam and ketchup. Perfect for chicken, pork and seafood and equally good grilled or baked.
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During grilling season it's nice to have a variety of barbecue sauces to flavor the chicken, pork, and shrimp we often grill. And making bbq sauces with the produce of the season is an extra special touch and way to highlight the season's flavors.
But I was missing a mid-summer sauce - one that took advantage of the fruits of summer before the tomatoes are fully producing.
Which is where this recipe for blueberry bbq sauce slides in perfectly, ready for the grill July through August as the blueberries produce. (TIP: This bbq sauce also works with summer's blackberries - see the substitutions & variations section below.)
Not only is this blueberry bbq sauce delicious - tangy and just slightly sweet with an option to add a bit of spice - it can be whipped up in just a few minutes using pantry ingredients you may already have.
No complicated, long cooking barbecue sauce here!
Here's what you'll need to make this recipe:
- Blueberry jam - use one that has as little sugar as you can find like this one sweetened only with fruit (you can even use a jar of blueberry chutney if you've made it!).
- Ketchup - bonus points if it's quick and easy homemade ketchup.
- Balsamic vinegar or apple cider
- Worcestershire sauce - I like this classic brand with no corn syrup, read labels to avoid brands with soy sauce and other ingredients not in the original added.
- Dijon mustard
- Garlic cloves
- Onion powder
- Salt and black pepper
- Cayenne powder, optional
- Liquid smoke - optional because not everyone has it, but it really does add a wonderful smokey smell and flavor to the sauce (and yes, it is natural).
Notice what's missing that's typically in bbq sauces?
Additional sugar! We're using the sugar in the jam and ketchup and not adding any more to let all these flavors shine.
Add all ingredients into a small saucepan and whisk to combine.
Bring to a boil over high heat stirring often, reduce heat and cook for another 3 minutes.
That's all there is to this quick recipe - you'll probably have it ready in less than 10 minutes!
(Scroll to recipe card below for quantities and the full steps to make this recipe.)
Ingredient Swaps & Variations
Here are some other delicious swaps and variations you can to try with this barbecue sauce recipe:
- Other jam flavors - you can make this recipe with ANY flavor of jam! Try blackberry, raspberry, peach or grape.
- Use chutney instead of jam - if you're like me, you have jars of rhubarb chutney, cherry chutney, apple chutney and even blueberry chutney on the shelf and these all will make a great bbq sauce when substituted for the jam.
- Try different vinegars - a simple apple cider vinegar would give more tang, rice vinegar will be slightly more mild, and a white or red wine vinegar would add their distinct flavors.
- Experiment with different mustards - spicy brown, German, hot.
Storage & Tips
- This sauce will last 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator or 3-4 months in the freezer.
- If freezing, use freezer-safe containers and fill only 3/4 full to allow for expansion. Label well so you remember what's in the container.
- This recipe makes exactly a pint (2 cups), which will fill two half-pint Weck jelly jars pictured, two half-pint mason jars, or one pint mason jar almost to the top. If freezing, spread the sauce between three half-pint jars to allow for expansion.
- If your jam (or chutney variation) is chunky and you prefer a smoother bbq sauce, use a hand-held immersion blender in the saucepan while cooking.
- Spreading this sauce on grilled foods is much easier with a silicone basting brush that doesn't leave any bristles like regular brushes (they clean better, too!).
How to Use BBQ Sauces
Since most barbecue sauces contain sugar, brush on the sauce towards the end of cooking to avoid burning.
Brush one coat on about 5 minutes before the chicken, pork, or ribs are done and then slather more on as you add them to a platter.
For seafood like shrimp that only takes a few minutes to cook, brush the sauce on before cooking and then add more as you're plating it up.
More Blueberry Recipes
Looking for more blueberry recipes to try? Here are a few favorites:
- Easy Blueberry Syrup Recipe - Maple Sweetened to Can or Freeze
- Healthy Blueberry Bars Recipe
- Easy Blueberry Cobbler with Lemon Honey Sauce
- Blueberry Pie Recipe - No Bake & Low Sugar
Also be sure to check out The Ultimate Blueberry Guide for growing and harvesting tips plus lots of recipe ideas to preserve and cook with delicious blueberries!
Blueberry BBQ Sauce
- small saucepan
- medium whisk
- 1 cup blueberry jam (see notes for variations)
- 3/4 cup ketchup (try this easy homemade honey sweetened version)
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (see notes for variations)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (see notes for variations)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder, optional
- Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and whisk to combine.
- Bring to a boil over high heat stirring often. Reduce heat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring as needed. (Tip: add a lid partially on the saucepan to avoid any spitting of the sauce that may happen as it cooks.) Option: use an immersion blender if desired to make a smoother sauce.
- Remove from heat and use the sauce immediately or let cool and transfer to glass containers.
- Store in the refrigerator 1-2 weeks or freeze for 3-4 months.
- Use any type of jam - blackberry, raspberry, cherry, peach, etc.
- Use a fruit chutney like blueberry, rhubarb, or cherry.
- Use different vinegars - apple cider, white wine, red wine, rice, etc.
- Try different mustards - spicy brown, whole grain, hot, etc.