Sauces and Condiments

The Best Black Cherry BBQ Sauce Recipe

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Last updated on October 12th, 2021 at 03:20 pm

Who doesn’t enjoy a good barbecue? I always associate it with good food, great weather, and spending time with family and friends. To enjoy that time to the fullest, I set out to make the best bbq sauce recipe possible. And after starting with a basic recipe, I’ve turned it up to make this black cherry bbq sauce.

There are a ton of store-bought bottled options for bbq sauce. And some of them are quite tasty. My preferred brand is Stubb’s sauces in any flavor – though Stubb’s Sweet Heat is my go-to. But to get the best you sometimes have to buckle down and make it homemade. If I am aiming for a full-on homemade barbecue, then only this sauce will do.

Butter, garlic, onion, and tomatoes form the base of the best bbq sauce recipe
Crushed tomatoes with garlic and onion start the recipe vibrant and bright

The first few times I tried making my own barbecue sauce did not go well. I acheived some vaguely sweet and overly seasoned sauce that just didn’t quite hit the mark. But I was determined. I love sauces in all shapes and forms, so I kept trying and trying. For my first attempts, I think I was trying too hard to add too much into the sauce.

So I backed up and went to basics and started from there.

Making the Best BBQ Sauce

Do not be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. Most of it just gets dumped into the pot, stirred together, and simmered until it is cooked. It is easy.

To start off a bbq sauce, many recipes call for ketchup. But I don’t like ketchup. Plus the tomatoes are really the base of this dish, so I didn’t want to start off the recipe with an ingredient that is already processed and altered. Straight crushed tomatoes for me.

But very first is sauteing the onion and garlic in butter. Both because it smells divine and because it adds flavor to the sauce. Once those have cooked, pour in the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to let it simmer with the butter a bit. After simmering, thoroughly stir in all other ingredients.

After blending and cooking down, the sauce will thicken and darken
The sauce transforms from the initial bright red to a darker mahogany color after it has simmered and thickened

Now comes the trickiest part – blending it together. You can try to use a stick blender if you want, but I recommend a full-size blender for the smoothest sauce possible. I used my Oster blender to get the job done. Note – I had to blend it in two batches to fit everything into the blender.

Pour the sauce back into the pot once it is blended up. Then just let it cook on low heat for about 30 minutes. This will help let all the flavors mesh together. It also gets the sauce to thicken up a bit for a the perfect consistency.

Even though I think that this is the best bbq sauce recipe, it can be modified. Make it hotter with more of each ground pepper. Try sweetening it with a bit of honey instead of some of the brown sugar. Or even test out switching the red wine vinegar for apple cider or white wine vinegar.

Using Homemade Sauce

This recipe makes a whole lot of bbq sauce. So you’ll probably need more than just one meal to use it up. Or decide on your favorite way to store it for later. In the fridge it keeps for about a week while in the freezer it keeps for around 2 months. Try canning it for extra long storage.

The best way to use this barbecue sauce is to glaze or mop it over something you are cooking on the smoker or grill. Make sure to use a long mop to reach all parts of the meat without burning yourself. I use it on pork ribs during the last hour of the smoke to let it sit on the surface, dry out a little, and become a little like a glaze. Or I will just throw some chicken breast on the grill and start basting it with sauce about halfway through cooking.

The best bbq sauce glazed over smoked pork ribs at the end of cooking
Slather the bbq sauce on ribs during the last 30 to 60 minutes of cooking to get great color and flavor

When you’ve eaten ribs with this sauce you realize that it is finger-licking good. So you know that it is also good for dipping. Chicken nuggets, fries, chicken strips, burgers, pizza crust. You name it, you can dip it.

There are even bbq chicken salads that would be amazing with this sauce as a dressing.

Whatever you make alongside this bbq sauce, make sure to pair it with some frozen mint lemonade to round out the perfect meal. Because I sense some outdoor cooking in your future, and there’s no better way than to make a homemade bbq sauce.

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The Best Black Cherry BBQ Sauce

Recipe by Marc PetersonCourse: SauceDifficulty: Moderate


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



Black cherry juice and ground smoky peppers make this the best bbq sauce recipe that you can make for grilling, drizzling, or dipping


  • 1 medium yellow onion

  • 5 cloves garlic

  • 4 tbsp butter

  • 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

  • 6 ounce can of tomato paste

  • 1 cup black cherry juice

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 3 tablespoons molasses

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder


  • Chop the onion and mince the garlic
  • Melt the butter on low heat in a pot with high sides to avoid splatters
  • Add the onion and garlic to the pot and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant
  • Pour the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste into the pot and stir to combine, cooking for 3 to 5 minutes
  • Stir in all remaining ingredients until thoroughly combined and let it cook for 5 minutes
  • Pour the sauce into a blender and blend on high until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes – note that this may need to be done in two batches
  • When it is smoothly blended, pour it back into the pot and keep it over low heat, simmering for about 30 minutes until it has thickened, stirring occasionally so the bottom doesn’t burn
  • Remove it from the heat, let it cool, and use or store immediately


  • Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or the freezer for up to 2 months
  • For longer storage, try canning the sauce in glass jars

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