Posted by: Hallie | May 27, 2009

Homemade BBQ Sauce for Memorial Day

This Memorial Day, we kept it pretty low-key after our little trip to Palm Springs, but I still wanted to feel festive. And what’s more festive on Memorial Day than BBQ? I wanted to use my “recipe” for BBQ pulled chicken (that I used to make pulled pork awhile back) but with a special (and healthy!) twist.

It’s nearly impossible to find a prepared BBQ sauce without corn syrup (or at least, that I’ve seen) but if you want something done right, that’s why you do it yourself! I took the recipe from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook and adapted it based on what I had on hand, and what I thought we’d like.

Barbecue Sauce
adapted from Veganomicon


  • olive oil spray
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (I used Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce since I’m obsessed)
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke (side note: this stuff is weird. But it was key!)
  1. Preheat a saucepan over medium heat. Place the onions in the pan and sauté in oil spray until browned (about 7 min).
  2. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Add all the other ingredients except the mustard and liquid smoke, and cook for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the mustard and liquid smoke and taste for sweetness/sourness. Adjust the flavors as needed, and cook for 5 more minutes.
  5. Puree if desired. (I desired)

It came out wonderful (if I do say so myself)! I think this sauce could be used as a marinade…BBQ shrimp, BBQ pork chops…or my newest love, BBQ tofu! It has a really nice balance between sweet, sour, and smoky, with a touch of heat. The recipe makes quite a bit of sauce, so it’d be good to serve to a (medium-sized!) crowd.

I chilled the sauce for about and hour, and threw dinner in the crock pot:

Pulled Barbecue Chicken

BBQ chicken

I added the sauce to my crock pot along with 3 chicken breasts (that were still partially frozen), and some sliced red onion. I cooked the mixture for 4 hours on high, although 6 hours on low might have been better. About 20 minutes before cooking was done, I shredded the chicken with two and let it sit in the sauce mixture until ready to serve. We had our sandwiches on whole-wheat buns with salad on the side.

The sandwich was pretty good, but I really liked the sauce! What typically store-bought items like BBQ sauce do you make yourself? I say there is nothing like homemade hummus, but usually I’m too lazy to make it. But I did buy some tahini this weekend, so now it’s ON 🙂

In other news…

I went running on Tuesday morning, and it went ok…I’m sure I could have done the whole three miles without stopping, but my bone-head of a running partner made that difficult. And I mean that literally…Nina ate a CHICKEN BONE (the bay is always trashed after holiday weekend, ugh) before I could stop her, so I’ve been freaking out ever since. Chicken bones can be dangerous for dogs if ingested, but she seems to be doing ok. We, um, haven’t seen the bone yet (that’s what she…never mind) but Nina seems to be her happy, dumb self, so we’ll see how it goes over the next day or two. Ah, children.

Also, Mitch signed up at my gym and we’re going to start working out together. I really like strength training, but I tend to get bored with it, lose focus, and quit. He knows I really want to meet my fitness/weight loss goals, and he’s trying to help me. This “training” might only last a few months (he doesn’t like my “small” gym. Whatever) but I think it might be the shake up I need. With these extra workouts, I might not get to do as much “fun” stuff like blogging and watching TV reading, but I’m just trying to keep my long-term goals in mind. Do any of you work out with a boyfriend/husband? How does that work for ya? I like I so far…but we shall see.

On that note…gotta go get ready for tomorrow! Night 🙂



  1. I WISH I could get the fiance to work out with me… but he won’t. That bbq looks amazing 🙂

  2. Love the bbq sauce! Funny, I was just thinking to myself last night that I should make my own as it’s not really that complicated. I loooove homemade hummus. In fact, I’m completely off the store bought stuff. I’ll also make my own salsa in the summer when tomatoes are a little more tasty and plentiful.

    Me and my boyfriend have started doing bike rides together. He’s a lot better at biking than I am though, so I’m always scared he’s having to slow down for me!

  3. I ALWAYS make my own salad dressings. ALWAYS. I get bored and can never make it through an entire bottle and I really like vinaigrette’s so it makes more sense to just make my own! AND it reduces the sodium about a billion times.

    As far as working out w/ the BF? I love it. He recently got a new job so we have only been working out together on the weekends and it’s totally demotivated me during the week. We force each other to get out of bed at 4:40a to get a workout in before work. And we can bitch about soreness together too. 🙂 I am doing the New Rules of Lifting For Women program. You should look into it if you like strength training and get bored… I find it super beneficial to have a solid program. It keeps me on track. I also belong to which has a group for NROL4W with a great bunch of girls where we post our workouts. It’s totally motivating! The book is only like $15 on I think!

  4. Scary about the chicken bone! My dog polished off a box of chocolates one time but she was alright – hope Nina is aokay 🙂

  5. Regarding your comment on my blog: Go for it! I wouldn’t necessarily sign up for a marathon first thing, but I definitely suggest signing up for a distance that pushes you. I signed up for a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon one day because I knew if I didn’t have that commitment that I was signed up I would never run it. All races were about 1 month apart and the half and 10K were my firsts. It worked out quite nicely.

    So I dare you: check out and sign up for something!!

  6. Yum, that pulled chicken looks so good right now!

    I haven’t made my own hummus yet, because there is an awesome Med. place 2 blocks from my house and they let me use the same container. But one day soon! I would like to learn to make more salad dressings from scratch, too.

    Hope your pup is ok!

  7. I am so proud of you for signing up for the 10K!

    And homemade BBQ sauce? Wow! It sounds really delicious- and not too hard, either.

  8. […] never “found” the chicken bone that I SWEAR I saw Nina eat the day after Memorial Day. This leads us to believe…that it didn’t really happen, and I […]

  9. OK, in order:

    I make my own cannoli filling. I buy the shells because they’re kind of a bitch to make, but the filling is incredibly filling and better than all store-bought except Mike’s Pastry.

    I walked a half marathon in a little over 3 hours, and it was completely doable, so I’m sure if you did a walk/run combo you could do it a little easier than you think.

    My husband and I don’t actually work out together, but going to the gym at the same time helps. Otherwise I’ll never get motivated to go.

  10. […] Again, Nina! Hola! So first things first. Remember when I thought Nina ate a chicken bone awhile back? Well today, Mitch went out for a run and when he came back, our girl had gotten into […]

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