Strawberry Barbecue Sauce

strawberry Barbecue Sauce in a jar with spoon and fresh berries

Strawberry Barbecue Sauce is a luscious concoction of some of my favorite flavors ~ fresh berries, rum, raw sugar, cider vinegar, and molasses. Grill with it, slather it on meatloaf, or use it as a French fry dip!

Ladling strawberry barbecue sauce into a glass jar

We’ve been making Strawberry barbecue sauce on repeat all summer!

Today I’m cooking from Soul | A Chef’s Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes by Todd Richards as part of my effort to introduce myself to black American chefs, culinary writers and restauranteurs. The book is gorgeously illustrated and the photos make me want to make literally everything, from grits croutons and salmon croquettes to the pickled plum and mustard greens salad ~ yum! This book will definitely ease you out of your culinary comfort zone in the most delicious way.

(Earlier I cooked incredible peanut butter biscuits from the Queen of soul food ‘Princess’ Pamela Strobel, you’ll definitely want to check those out.)

Strawberries in a strainer

No cheffy skills required to make fabulous homemade barbecue sauce

Barbecue sauces are always fun to make not only for the sheer number of powerful flavors that go into them, but because it’s usually a chop and drop method, with a final pass of a hand blender to finish it all off. All you really have to do is keep dipping your finger in to make sure it’s just perfect. This one is.

Making strawberry barbecue sauce in a saucepan

Fruit makes an excellent base for all the rich spicy flavors in barbecue sauce.

Strawberries cook down and provide a sweet juicy base that will balance the rest of the ingredients. You can use many different types of fruit to make barbecue sauce, you might try blackberries, mango, or fig in this recipe.

I’ve got other fruity barbecue sauces on the blog, one of my faves is Slow Cooked Peach Barbecue Smothered Pork Chops, I’ve never had such explosive flavor come out of my slow cooker before.

Recently I made Pulled Pork with Pineapple Barbecue Sauce and for that one I just used pineapple juice instead of whole fruit.

If you love plums like I do, try Plum Glazed Barbecue Drumettes ~ you can use that glaze on all kinds of other meats.

You don’t have to give up barbecue sauce just because the weather turns chilly, My Apple Butter Brandy Meatballs are always a hit, and I love to make cranberry barbecue glazed meatballs during the holidays, everybody goes crazy for them.

Strawberry barbecue sauce in jars, with pan in background

Homemade bbq sauce keeps the summer vibes going year round

The nice thing about homemade barbecue sauce is that, long after bbq season has passed, you can still keep the vibe going. Slather it over meatloaf, chicken, and pork. Use it as a base for cooking pork chops in the slow cooker, or as a dip for chunky oven fries.

Dipping oven fries into a pot of strawberry barbecue sauce




strawberry Barbecue Sauce in a jar with spoon and fresh berries
5 from 5 votes

Strawberry Barbecue Sauce

Strawberry Barbecue Sauce ~ a luscious concoction of berries, rum, brown sugar, cider vinegar, and molasses. We slather it on everything!
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 5 cups
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup dark rum
  • 1 1/2 lb strawberries, hulls removed and cut in quarters
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar (or substitute brown sugar)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp sorghum syrup (I didn't have this so I used molasses)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I crushed them)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 serrano chile (you can use jalapeño)


  • Heat the oil in a medium to large heavy bottomed saucepan and saute the onion for about 5 minutes until it softens and starts to turn golden. Remove from the burner and add the rum, stirring for 2 minutes (off the heat) Add the strawberries and cook over medium high heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the strawberries have become soft.
    cooking strawberries for strawberry barbecue sauce
  • Add the vinegar, sugar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oil, syrup (or molasses,) salt, pepper, garlic, bay leaves, and chile. Cook for about 15 minutes or until thickened and coats the back of your spoon.
    strawberry barbecue sauce in sauce pan
  • Remove the bay leaves and process the sauce with an immersion blender until smooth. Move the blender around to get all the lumps. Be extra careful as the mixture is very hot and can splatter.
    pureed barbecue sauce in pan
  • Ladle the sauce into jars and let cool before refrigerating. Michael says it will last 2 weeks, but ours lasted up to a month or more.
    strawberry barbecue sauce in jars

Cook's notes

*recipe from Todd Richards' Soul | A Chef's Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes
The sauce can be frozen for longer storage, just be sure to leave headspace in your jars to allow for expansion in the freezer.  
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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  • Reply
    Dianne Winters
    September 13, 2020 at 6:25 am

    Good morning Sue, This is Dianne from PA. I had made your strawberry BBQ sauce and we talked about trying it with peaches. I made this yesterday with white peaches since that was what I had. I substituted bourbon for the rum and added the zest of 1 orange. In place of the serrano, I added about 1/4 tsp. of crushed red peppers (which is what I used for the strawberry as well), the sauce is delicious. When I make it again, I will use less of the orange zest, since it is the first taste you get…which is still good!

    • Reply
      September 13, 2020 at 6:33 am

      Sounds lovely Dianne, peaches make great bbq sauce!

  • Reply
    September 2, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    5 stars
    You’ve Done It Again! Freshly made today – I found the sauce a very subtle mix of all the sweet and savoury flavours that I like – wrapped up in a magnificent BBQ sauce. I love the mix of fruit, rum, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar… I would not have thought of that combination… pure, delectable magic! I couldn’t find the syrup so I used your TVFGI recipe for Pomegranate Molasses which was superb. I thought your Roasted Jalapeños Tomato Sauce was brilliant too… so now I’ve got to taste test these two delectable dishes! This Strawberry BBQ sauce is a real cracker! Email with a photo of the bottled product sent to you for your use on social media as required! Cheers Sue!

    • Reply
      September 2, 2020 at 4:11 pm

      I love this Michael, and the photo is so great (all of you who don’t follow me on facebook or instagram will miss out!) Of course I can’t take credit for the recipe, but I know a good one when I see one 😉

  • Reply
    August 31, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    5 stars
    I bought Soul after hearing Todd Richards interviewed on my local NPR station. This recipe is currently simmering and your post reminded me that I need to cook something from this cookbook. He pairs his recipes with wines so that is a plus!

    • Reply
      August 31, 2020 at 3:49 pm

      I heard him speak and he’s fascinating! Hope you enjoy the sauce 🙂

  • Reply
    August 30, 2020 at 4:20 am

    Can the strawberry barbeque sauce be canned in a hot water bath instead of freezing? If so, for how long would you process? Thank you!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2020 at 6:51 am

    Can you use an all-fruit jam or preserves instead of the fresh strawberries and sugar? Sometimes fresh strawberries can be pretty bland.

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