[Paleo] Sweet & Sour BBQ Sauce

Remember in January when I talked about how much I love sauces (ketchup, soy sauce, steak sauce, etc) but that most store-bought sauces aren’t Paleo-friendly?  Well let me tell you – I love BBQ sauce and I’m not very picky about the varietal.  I will gladly eat a traditional hickory smoked BBQ sauce, a honey BBQ sauce, and I really love fruit BBQ sauces like cherry or peach!

I’m going to chalk my love of BBQ up to the fact that BBQ seems to be pretty popular where I’m from even though I’m from Upstate NY.  I bet you would’ve never guessed, huh?  If you ever happen to venture to the Rochester area, I highly recommend paying a visit to Sticky Lips and/or Dinosaur BBQ (If you want to sound like a local, just call it “Dino”).  I promise you’ll leave with sticky fingers, a full belly, and a satisfied smile.


So when Jon and I bought a 2.5lb pork shoulder and decided to slow cook a huge batch of pulled pork, I knew I needed to make some kind of Paleo-friendly BBQ sauce for all that meat.  Luckily, I had recently come across Megan’s homemade Paleo-friendly recipe for BBQ sauce and it sounded awesome!  The process seemed simple enough so I just decided to give it a go and add it whatever sounded good/what I had on hand.  That’s what everyone does in the kitchen, right? 🙂

After simmering on the stove for about 20 minutes, I had a deliciously sweet and sour BBQ sauce.  Even better, the longer the sauce sat the more the flavors intensified and melded together.  I could easily taste the sweetness from the honey and maple syrup as well as the tang of the balsamic and apple cider vinegar.  This paired great with the pulled pork but I also bet it’d be great as a pizza sauce or a panini sauce!


[Paleo] Sweet & Sour BBQ Sauce

Inspired by A Better Year to a Better Life

Makes roughly 3 cups


  • 12oz can tomato paste
  • 1.5 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or substitute all honey)
  • 3 tablespoons brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • optional: pinch of cloves, pinch of cinnamon, pinch of allspice, pinch of red pepper flakes

What to Do

  1. Combine all ingredients together in a small pot/sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil and continue stirring for 2 minutes.
  3. Lower heat until the sauce is barely simmering.
  4. Place a lid on top of your pot and let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes.  Make sure to stir every once in a while so the sauce doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom/sides.  Don’t forget the lid because the sauce will bubble and splatter occasionally!
  5. Turn off the heat and use the sauce while warm or can it and let the flavors intensify overnight!

32 thoughts on “[Paleo] Sweet & Sour BBQ Sauce

  1. Ooh god. I’m not really a sauce person myself, but this has me totally craving BBQ sauce!! And I never even eat BBQ since I don’t eat meat! But actually, I do like the flavor. And I’ve been absolutely CRAVING this mongolian cauliflower dish that this Indian restaurant near me makes–deep fried sweet and sour cauliflower that tastes exactly like [my recollection of] sweet and sour chicken. So…I might be baking up some cauliflower tonight and smothering this on top! If I used dijon mustard instead of brown mustard, do you think that would work?

    • How can you not be a sauce person?! I pretty much want to smother EVERYTHING in some kind of sauce haha. That deep fried sweet and sour cauliflower sounds amazing – I would’ve never thought of tossing any vegetables in this BBQ sauce but that’s a great idea! I bet cubed roasted sweet potato would be delish too.

      Yes, I think dijon mustard would be just fine. I’m thinking as long as you don’t use yellow mustard, none of the flavors should be too out of whack. Let me know how it goes!

    • Thanks, Evani. Honestly, my blog probably makes me seem more Paleo than I actually am. I’m trying to be mostly Paleo but it’s definitely a challenge. You don’t see/I don’t share all of my non-Paleo meals. 😉

      Feel free to let your friend know he/she can reach out to me with any questions – I’m happy to answer what I can!

  2. Great recipe!! BTW – most recipe I saw for bbq sauce all had brown sugar and lets be serious a nice brown sugar bbq is AWESOME well I bought coconut sugar recently (random Costco find) and finally cooked with it yesterday and tasted it and holy heaven it tastes like the real thing! When I make another batch / some ketchup I will totally be using it!

    • I’ve been wondering about coconut sugar – I’m glad to hear your take on it. I’ll have to look for it next time I’m at the grocery store. Do you just use it in the place of honey/maple syrup?

    • I know – It’s insane how much sugar goes into condiments! You honestly don’t even miss the refined sugar in this recipe because the honey/maple syrup make up for it and they’re natural! I really want to try to make homemade sriracha next!

  3. This sounds absolutely delicious! My dad used to make his own BBQ sauce and it was waaay better than what you get in the store! Matt is on a pulled pork kick lately so I might have to give this a try!!

    • Thanks, Heather! What kind of sauce did your dad make – sweet, spicy, smokey? I definitely can’t wait to experiment with more BBQ sauces. I think I want to try a fruity one next. Let me know if you give this a try and/or if you try your own twist. 🙂

    • This was my first time making my own BBQ sauce too and I have to say, it was SO easy! I will definitely be doing this again in the future. Although if I make a 2.5lb pork shoulder again, I would double the BBQ sauce recipe.

      • I know! This week I have made most of my meals daily and I feel great because I know there isn’t any added sugar and salt and it still tastes great! One of the reasons why I love your posts because you talk about recipes that are so versatile and you can use for lots of different things 🙂

  4. You are doing wonderful with the Paleo! Congratulations 🙂

    You are amazing Leah! I love a good barbecue sauce on meat. I love all the ingredients within this recipe!! Especially the optional pinches.., yummy!! I have been to the Dinosaur BBQ a few times and absolutely love that place!!

    • Thanks, Judy. I honestly think I could put this BBQ sauce on just about any meat and be satisfied. How fun that you’ve been to Dino!! It’s definitely delicious. Next time you’re in town, you should check out Sticky Lips. They’re kind of local rivals and I’d love to hear which one you like better. 🙂

    • Thanks, Regina. I definitely agree. Now that I’ve seen how easy it is to make homemade BBQ sauce, I’m going to look into other homemade condiments. 🙂

    • Haha, I like the phrase “green on grass” – The new take on “white on rice!” Thanks for commenting on the pics – I really appreciate that as it’s something I’m definitely working on improving!

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