Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce

12 ounces apple butter
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup rye
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon hot mustard (I used Löwensenf extra)
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon mesquite liquid smoke
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Pulse all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and simmer on the lowest setting until heated through and it reduces slightly, about 15 minutes or so. Allow to cool. Keeps in the fridge about a week.

Yield: about 2 cups

My thoughts:

Recently I came across a article that poked fun at people who make their own barbecue sauces when there were so many available at the supermarket. Of course, I found this sort of silly. Barbecue sauce couldn’t be easier to make at home and you can customize it to your taste. I think most store bought bottles are way too sweet and one note. This sauce uses apple butter instead of the more traditional tomato based. Apple butter has a similar consistency to tomato paste so it is an easy substitution. The resulting sauce has the same thick, rich quality that a tomato based sauce would.

I also like using apple butter in BBQ sauces because it adds a natural, fruity sweetness without having to use a lot of sugar or honey. Now, I did add a tiny bit of sugar to the sauce because my homemade apple butter isn’t terribly sweet so you might want to eliminate the the sugar if your apple butter is more on the sweet side. The spices and other flavorings making this sauce simultaneously sweet, tart and savory. I thought this sauce was perfect on pork but I think it would work in pretty much any recipe or occasion that called for barbecue sauce.


  1. I love doing barbecue with my friends and I think that this souce is very original and so delicious! I would like to try it…i bet that it makes meat very good!

  2. Amy @ The Savvy Kitchen

    Yum! I love trying different variations of bbq sauce. This sounds great!

  3. This sounds great. I love apple butter and I love bbq sauce. Can't wait to try it!

  4. Articles like that make me cringe because I can't eat most store-bought barbeque sauce, thanks to my corn allergy. I will be trying your recipe (with a few subs b/c I don't know if liquid smoke is safe for me, etc.) and the peach butter leftovers in my fridge. 🙂

  5. I made a fantastic BBQ sauce out of rhubabry, onions, and rasins (and other spices and stuff) that I found on Tigress's can jam. I can't believe I didn't think about using the apple butter sitting in my cupboard that no on really likes!

  6. I made a fantastic BBQ sauce with a rhubarb base this spring and I didn't even think about an apple base. I have multiple jars at home that need something to happen with them! What a great idea.

  7. I've been using a similar recipe for years. Apple Butter, Root Beer, Horseradish. Combine, simmer to reduce and thicken, use…

  8. Do you know how well this cans? I am looking for an apple butter BBQ sauce recipe to can for gifts.

  9. I don't see why it wouldn't can well, it is fairly acidic and the apple butter that is in it was successfully canned. I haven't tried it though.