Better, indeed.

I think it’s been at least three years since we had bottled barbecue sauce in our home. Not because we don’t love barbecue sauce, but because of the HFCS and huge amounts of sugar in the “natural” brands. So when I saw this recipe in The Garden of Eating I knew it would be the first one that I would make.

I didn’t think that it would taste like the bottled barbecue sauce, and at first it didn’t. I wondered what my husband would think of it when we ate it with leftover chicken. I wouldn’t exactly call him a picky barbecue sauce conossieur, on the contrary, he has simply eaten a lot of commercial barbecue sauce in his day.

To my delight, and his, he loved it. I can tell he loves something I make when he takes a bite and instead of saying something about it he is silence. So I look at him in anticipation and he says “mmmhmm” without ever stopping to speak. Now it tastes like barbecue sauce should taste like: nuanced, smoky, barely sweet, tangy, a tad spicy and absolutely delicious.

So perhaps you could call this man-pleasing barbecue sauce, but us ladies will love it too.

Best of all, it’s base includes nourishing chicken stock and it is sweetened with stevia. I found that it didn’t even need the optional addition of honey.

Next time I will make at least a double batch and freeze some for later. It comes together rather quickly, but I have a feeling that with summer nearly here we will want to use this sauce often on fresh vegetables, meats and as a dipping sauce for anything and everything.

Better Barbecue Sauce

from the Garden of Eating by Rachel Albert-Matesz and Don Matesz


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 cup minced fresh onion or 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt or 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
  • 3 cloves minced garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (preferably ground fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground chipotle (smoked dried jalapeno pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon dried crumbed basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled oregano, optional
  • 1 (6-ounce) can salt-free, sugar-free tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cups water, preservative-free chicken broth or diluted or full-strength chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar or 3 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon stevia extract powder ***(since making this recipe again I have found 1/4 teaspoon to be too much and usually start with 1/8 teaspoon)***
  • 1 tablespoon honey, optional
  1. Heat oil in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Bring to low boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer with lid ajar to reduce splattering, stirring periodically until mixture thickens, 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Pour into wide-mouth glass jar, allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate. Use within 2 weeks or freeze.

this post is a contribution to Real Food Wednesday


20 Responses to Better Barbecue Sauce (stevia sweetened)

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I haven’t found any “healthy” barbecue sauce that we like yet…I’m excited to try this one.


  2. Alyss says:

    This looks great – I think I’m going to copy out the recipe and try it later. I made homemade ketchup a while back and don’t like the flavor very much – it ended up too cinnamony – but think it will make great bbq sauce. So first a ketchup based sauce, then I’ll try this one :)
    Thanks for sharing!


  3. Diann says:

    Hi! thanks for the recipe! I am gathering recipes using Stevia. I just planted some for the first time in my herb garden this year. I am looking forward to “playing” with it. :)


  4. SarahMichelle says:

    Wow, thanks for sharing this recipe. My family in on an anti-candida diet right now so the combination of no sugar + lots of onion and garlic is perfect.
    I actually have a batch simmering on the stove right now, and it is delicious! I omitted the honey and only used 1/8 tsp of stevia and it is perfect. My husband is going to be thrilled, especially since most of the new recipes I have tried since going on the diet haven’t exactly been huge favorites.


  5. [...] a recipe for chipotle mayo that included all ingredients I had at home.  At the same time, I made homemade bbq sauce as I knew I was also going to cooking pulled pork on [...]

  6. RebeccaS says:

    Wow, this is GOOD! We recently started the GAPS diet and I was sad that we were not able to have BBQ sauce anymore as the kids love it. This fits our needs perfectly! I used honey only as I didn’t have any stevia, used onion powder instead of flakes and it turned out awesome. Thank you so much for your site!


  7. brite says:

    Thanks- I have quit buying all kinds of condiments like these, but I haven’t come up with a good replacement…my family will thank you! :)


  8. Leah says:

    Whoa, this looks great! I’ve really been craving BBQ since the weather turned warmer this spring. I wasn’t sure how stevia would work in a barbecue sauce, but I’ll be sure to try this one.


  9. [...] a sub on the blog–another sub I love is the Garden of Eating's "better bbq sauce": Better Barbecue Sauce (stevia sweetened) (I don't ever use honey–just stevia) Coconut Secret's coconut aminos are a great sub for soy sauce [...]

  10. Kathy says:

    HI! I know, I’m seriously late to the party. I was wondering, can this be lacto-fermented? If yes, is it better to use honey than stevia? I’m guessing just add whey?


  11. [...] Better BBQ Sauce (my family didn’t even realize there was stevia in the sauce) [...]

  12. kara cramer says:

    What is the carb/calorie count for this bbq sauce?


  13. Cerissa says:

    Whoa. This sauce is amazing!!!! I just came across your recipe doing a quick search and had all the (powdered) ingredients. Except, tomato paste–used a can of t sauce and ditched the water. I LOVE it. Thank you, thank you!


  14. Kimberly says:

    Thank you for the recipe! It was amazing. I omitted the honey, was out of mustard powder, used organic diced tomatoes and some pasta sauce since I didn’t have paste, AND used cayenne instead of chipotle and it was still so good! I just had to cook it down longer.


  15. Jessica says:

    Thanks for posting! Super good and my husband loved it! I couldn’t find smoked jalapeno pepper though. Where did you buy it at?


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