We’ve always tried to make our own BBQ sauce, possibly because we usually forget it at the store and/or haven’t found one we really like. It’s also straightforward to do with just a few ingredients we always have on hand.
The ones we used to make had molasses, brown sugar, or both, which we try to avoid now. David and I have been working on this recipe for a while now, and the dates give it the perfect amount of sweetness. This sauce is Paleo, Whole30, and Keto, but you can keep that your little secret if you want if you’re serving anyone who may be skeptical 😉
Smoked BBQ Sauce:
Prep Time: 20-30 min Cook time: 2 hrs
14 oz Flavor bomb tomatoes or cherry tomatoes*
6 dates, pitted
1 medium yellow onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, diced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
**We like to use this specific variety of cherry tomatoes from HEB called Flavor Bombs. They have higher sugar content, making this sauce a little sweeter since there is no added sugar in the sauce. You can substitute any cherry tomato for this recipe if you can’t find them!
Preheat Smoker to 250º. Place the dates and cherry tomatoes on the smoker and smoke for 45 minutes- 1 hour. Remove tomatoes and dates from the smoker into a bowl and bring them back inside. Once inside, roughly chop dates and reserve separately. In a saucepan, heat oil over medium-low. Saute onion with the salt until caramelizing (the onions will turn golden brown around the edges). Add garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add chili powder and chopped dates to the pan.
Deglaze with the apple cider vinegar, then add the water and tomatoes. bring to a simmer over medium-high and then remove from heat Transfer to a blender and blend till smooth. **Be careful blending hot liquid! Make sure your lid is on but vented, and start your blender on low, and work your way up to a higher power! ** Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a shallow pyrex dish you can put onto the smoker.
Smoke at the 250º for 2 hours (you could also reduce the sauce on low in a saucepot on the stove, it just won’t be as smoky). After 2 hours, remove from smoker/stove. Taste for seasoning, and stir in salt if needed. If you want to serve the sauce warm, you can place the sauce in mason jars (let it cool for a few minutes if you’re doing this!), another serving vessel of choice, or serve out of the dish you used to smoke the sauce! If you prefer a chilled BBQ sauce, you can pour the sauce into a metal bowl and place that bowl over another bowl of ice. Then place in serving dish of your choice, or store in mason jars. You can also freeze this smoked bbq sauce!