Blueberry BBQ Sauce

published Jul 14, 2021
4th of july
Blueberry BBQ Sauce

This sauce's hickory taste paired with its healthy dose of nutrients makes it a summer stand-out.

Makesabout 2 1/4 cups

Prep10 minutes

Cook15 minutes

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Blueberry BBQ sauce in mason jar
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

The height of summer is all about barbecue and berries, and I’ve combined the two in this delicious sauce. It’s rich, savory, and smoky, and the blueberry notes come through without it skewing sweet or jammy.

I love this sauce spooned over grilled chicken, but it tastes great with anything from the grill: beef or pork kebabs, ribs, fish, or tofu. It lasts for almost a week in the fridge, which gives you plenty of time to try it out on all your favorite summer foods.

Add Smoky Flavor with Liquid Smoke

The key to this sauce is a balance of sweet, sour, and smoky. The berries, agave nectar, and molasses bring the sweet, and a combo of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice add the sour. A dash of sweet-sour balsamic vinegar adds a little bit of both flavors.

And then there’s the smoke. The secret to this sauce’s smoky, summery flavor is liquid smoke, which is hardwood smoke that has been captured in condensation and bottled. A few tablespoons of liquid smoke plus a healthy dose of smoked paprika give the sauce its fresh-from-the-grill flavor. Liquid smoke can be found in most grocery stores next to the oils and salad dressings, and can be used in a variety of sauces and marinades. Colgin’s hickory-flavored liquid smoke is my go-to.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

Blueberry BBQ Sauce

This sauce's hickory taste paired with its healthy dose of nutrients makes it a summer stand-out.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Makes about 2 1/4 cups

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium Vidalia or sweet onion

  • 3 cloves


  • 2 teaspoons

    olive oil

  • 3 cups

    fresh or frozen blueberries

  • 3 tablespoons

    liquid smoke

  • 2 tablespoons

    agave nectar

  • 2 tablespoons

    apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons

    balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons


  • 1 tablespoon

    smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon

    freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon

    chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Dice 1 medium Vidalia onion and mince 3 garlic cloves.

  2. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until softened, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.

  3. Add 3 cups blueberries, 3 tablespoons liquid smoke, 2 tablespoons agave nectar, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons molasses, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly reduced and bubbling, 6 to 9 minutes.

  4. Remove from the heat and let cool 15 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth, or blend directly in the saucepan with an immersion blender. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate the sauce in an airtight container for up to 5 days.