Hickory Smoke BBQ Sauce super yummy, full of complex and well balanced flavors, good for you, and super healthy with lots of veggies.
5 from 2 votes

Hickory Smoke BBQ Sauce

Homemade Hickory Smoke BBQ Sauce from a whole mess o’ veggies and spices, cooked down to thick shiny perfection.
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Keyword bbq, hickory
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 1 pint
Author Debi


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the basil leaves, blend the sauce in a blender.
  4. 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.