Homemade Hickory Smoke BBQ Sauce from a whole mess o’ veggies and spices, cooked down to thick shiny perfection. Perfect on everything for outdoor (or indoor) grillin’!
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Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe. I read all the comments myself and I try to help as soon as I can. I have readers from all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen on my site, and I’ve tried to answer some of your questions already in the post. But if I’ve missed anything, please feel free to leave a comment and ask.
Serve this vegan BBQ sauce on any grilled foods, tofu steaks, veggies, chicken, steak, brisket, pork. Serve it on pulled pork or chicken sandwiches. Dip French Fries or Onions Rings into it.
I love a little BBQ sauce on my corn on the cob. And, there’s nothing like a freshly grilled burger (try it on one of those super popular vegan patties) with Homemade Hickory Smoke BBQ Sauce!
Turning ketchup into BBQ sauce
A few years ago I had a ketchup tasting party where I made 5 different ketchups, and we tasted them and made notes about their flavors. One of the ones that we tasted was reviewed as being more BBQ sauce than ketchup. So, I finally decided, after all these years, to go back and rework the recipe into a really good Hickory Smoke BBQ Sauce.
This isn’t the fastest recipe in the world, but it is super yummy, full of complex and well-balanced flavors, good for you, and super healthy with lots of veggies. And, oh my gosh does this sauce smell terrific! Smokey and good! Yum!
The other thing I like about making my own BBQ sauce is that I know what went into it. There are no fillers in my BBQ sauce. There’s no thickeners. No HFCS. This sauce isn’t overly sweet or too vinegary.
The photo above: That’s pulled pork that I cooked in the crock pot (slow cooker) for my husband. I don’t have a recipe up on the blog yet, but it’s similar to this recipe for Smokehouse style slow cooker beef recipe. Oh, and you see that great serving bottle that I put the BBQ sauce in? That came from the fine folks at SKS Bottle & Packaging. Where they have almost every bottle you could ever want! Take a look at their fun stuff here.
This is the brand and flavor of liquid smoke that we use. It’s what my grocery store carries. It tastes great. I’m sure that just about any brand will be good.
Have you ever seen how they make liquid smoke? It’s pretty interesting. It really is made from smoke. Wood chips or sawdust from hardwoods such as hickory or mesquite are burned, and the smoke is collected in condensers. The resulting liquid is concentrated down for a stronger flavor. So the flavor really is the same as what you get from a smoker. Want to watch a video and learn more, check it out here.
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I grow onions in my garden, so I’m gifted with onion seeds all the time. All I have to do is harvest them. I’ve shared how I Grow Green Onions, here.
If you don’t have this same luxury, you can buy them on Amazon.
If you don’t want to buy any, there are some substitutes available. Keep in mind, the flavors will change as you change ingredients, but these will get you close.
If you want to can this Hickory Smoke BBQ Sauce, spoon the ketchup through a sterilized funnel into sterilized bottles, then seal tightly in a water bath, and place in a cool dark place or the refrigerator until needed – it should keep for 6 months.
I don’t actually go through the canning process, but if you would like to do so, please follow the instructions from the USDA’s National Center for Home Food Preservation, the official site from the makers of Ball jars, or National Center for Home Food Preservation website.
Other Condiments & Sauces you’ll love
If you love making your own sauces and condiments, you’ll definitely want to follow my Condiments and Sauces board on Pinterest. With tons of great ideas from fabulous bloggers, this is the place to find yummy recipes!
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Hickory Smoke BBQ Sauce Recipe
Hickory Smoke BBQ Sauce
- 1 ½ red onions peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and sliced
- ½ fresh red chili deseeded and finely chopped (I used a Fresno chili)
- 1 bunch fresh basil leaves picked (about 1 tablespoon leaves), stalks chopped, divided use
- 1 teaspoon onion seeds
- Sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound Roma tomatoes halved
- 1 pound canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons hickory smoke flavor liquid smoke divided use
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 ½ cups of cold water
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- Place chopped onion in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with olive oil, garlic, chili, basil stalks, and onion seeds. Season with salt and pepper. Cook gently over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.
- Add fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the liquid smoke, bay leaf, maple syrup, smoked paprika, and cold water. Bring to a boil, and simmer gently until the sauce reduces by half, about 30 minutes.
- Add the basil leaves, blend the sauce in a blender.
- Pour the blended sauce through a fine mesh sieve pushing on the sauce to force it through , into a clean pan. Add the vinegar and the sugar. Place the sauce over medium-heat and simmer until it reduces and thickens to the consistency of ketchup about 60 minutes. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon hickory smoke liquid smoke, and taste for salt and pepper, adding more if desired.