Finger-Lickin’ Good Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Are you tired of the same old BBQ sauce and want to take your grilling game to the next level? Look no further than our Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce recipe! This simple yet flavorful sauce is the perfect combination of sweet and savory, making it a hit with all your family and friends.

What sets this sauce apart from others is the use of apple butter, which adds a natural sweetness that complements the tanginess of the apple cider vinegar and mustard. The brown sugar provides a caramel-like depth while the paprika and red pepper flakes add a kick of heat.

Whether you’re grilling up some ribs or chicken thighs, this sauce will enhance any dish with its unique blend of flavors. Plus, it’s versatile enough to use on pulled pork or as a dip for your favorite snacks.

So grab your apron, fire up your grill, and get ready to impress your taste buds with our Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce recipe. It’s simple, delicious, and sure to become a staple on your grilling menu.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce
Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce

If you’re looking for a barbecue sauce recipe that’s simple, sweet, and savory all at once, look no further than this Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce Recipe. The combination of ingredients in this recipe adds an unexpected twist to the traditional barbeque sauce. You’ll love the complex flavors that the apple butter, cinnamon whiskey, and other spices bring to the table.

One of the primary reasons why this recipe is so enjoyable is its versatility. It’s perfect for ribs or chicken, whether they’re on the grill or in the oven. Moreover, it can elevate pulled pork sandwiches, slow-cooked brisket, and even butter chicken thighs. So whether you’re hosting a backyard BBQ with friends or simply having a cozy family dinner at home, you can be confident that this recipe will make your meal memorable.

The sweetness of the apple butter perfectly balances out the vinegar for a syrupy texture without being too sweet. The flavor profile is undoubtedly unique but still feels familiar at the same time, thanks to classic BBQ ingredients such as ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. However, it’s the unique combination of flavors that makes this recipe stand out from a typical barbeque sauce.

Overall, if you are looking for an exceptional homemade barbecue sauce recipe that tastes great on various types of meat and will impress all of your guests with the mix of flavors that distinguish this sauce from others on store shelves – then look no further because this Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce Recipe is perfect for you!

Ingredient List

Sure, here are 11 unique photo captions for the recipe:
Sure, here are 11 unique photo captions for the recipe:

Ingredients You Need for Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce Recipe

To make this apple butter barbecue sauce recipe, here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 1/2 cup of apple butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

These ingredients are easily available in any supermarket, and you can also find them online.

The Recipe How-To

Now that we’ve covered the ingredients, it’s time to dive into how to make this delicious apple butter barbecue sauce. Trust me, the steps are simple and the outcome will be worth it.

Step 1: Sautéing

Before we get started, grab a medium-sized saucepan and place over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and wait until it’s heated. Once warmed up, add finely diced onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until browned. When the onions are almost done, add minced garlic and let simmer for another minute.

Step 2: Combining Ingredients

Now it’s time to combine all those tasty ingredients! Into the saucepan, add 1 cup ketchup, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, and 2 cups of apple butter.

Stir in ½ cup of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tablespoon of prepared mustard. For some smokiness, add a teaspoon of liquid smoke.

Next up are the spices. Take one clove of garlic and mince it before adding it to the saucepan. Finally, sprinkle in a teaspoon each of paprika, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Step 3: Simmering and Blending

Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for approximately half an hour until the sauce has thickened up nicely. Make sure to stir frequently!

Once your sauce is at your desired thickness, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Once cooled down enough to handle, use an immersion blender to blend until it reaches your desired consistency (smooth or chunky). If you don’t have an immersion blender you can use a regular blender.

Step 4: Voilà! Enjoy Your Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce

And that’s it! You’ve made your very own apple butter barbecue sauce that you can proudly call homemade. Use this as a tasty dipping sauce, smothering on BBQ chicken or pork ribs or even slathering on butter chicken thighs. The options are endless with this versatile recipe.

Substitutions and Variations

 Pour on the flavor with this sweet and savory apple butter barbecue sauce.
Pour on the flavor with this sweet and savory apple butter barbecue sauce.

When it comes to making your own barbecue sauce, there is always room for experimentation and personalization. Here are a few substitutions and variations you can try with this apple butter barbecue sauce recipe:

– Spice it up: If you like your barbecue sauce with a bit of heat, try adding more red pepper flakes or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Alternatively, you could swap out the paprika for smoked paprika to give the sauce a smoky kick.

– Tailor the sweetness: The recipe calls for a mixture of brown sugar and apple butter to add sweetness to the sauce. Depending on your taste preferences, you may want to adjust the amounts of each ingredient, or even swap in honey or maple syrup for the brown sugar.

– Change up the fruit: If you don’t have apple butter on hand, you can use other fruit preserves or jams to add a fruity dimension to the sauce. Apricot, peach, or even cherry would all work well.

– Make it vegan: To make this recipe vegan-friendly, simply swap out the Worcestershire sauce for a vegan alternative (like one made with soy sauce) and use vegan butter instead of regular butter.

– Experiment with other flavors: While this apple butter barbecue sauce is delicious on its own, you can also try adding in other spices or ingredients to give it an extra layer of flavor. For example, try stirring in some cinnamon whiskey (like Fireball) for a cozy fall-inspired twist. Or mix in some walnut creek (a type of vinegar-based hot sauce) for an unexpected but delicious tangy element.

Remember that barbecue sauce is all about personal preference – don’t be afraid to get creative and customize this recipe to your liking!

Serving and Pairing

 Smokey and sweet, this sauce will elevate your barbecue game to the next level.
Smokey and sweet, this sauce will elevate your barbecue game to the next level.

Now that you’ve prepared this delightful apple butter barbecue sauce, let’s talk about how to serve and pair it.

The apple butter barbecue sauce has a distinct combination of simple sweetness and savory flavors, with just the right amount of tang from the apple cider vinegar. This makes it a perfect match for rich and hearty meats such as pork or beef ribs, pulled pork, or even butter chicken thighs.

When serving the dish, simply grill or slow cook the meat of your choice until it’s tender and juicy. Then brush on the apple butter barbecue sauce generously to infuse all those smoky, sweet and tangy flavors into the meat.

Aside from pairing it with savory meats, you can also use the apple butter barbecue sauce as a delicious dip for appetizers like chicken wings, quail or even grilled vegetables like zucchini, red bell peppers, and onions. It’s an excellent choice during barbecues or even just for game day snacking.

When it comes to pairing, a good bottle of walnut creek cinnamon whiskey, president’s choice apple cider, or Musselman’s homemade apple butter can complement your dish nicely. You may also enjoy this dish with classic sides like macaroni and cheese or baked beans.

In conclusion, this simple yet satisfying apple butter barbecue sauce is versatile enough to complement any cooking style for meat lovers out there. Its sweet and tangy flavors will make your taste buds sing while its simplicity makes it a breeze to prepare.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Perfect for pork, but you can slather it on just about anything.
Perfect for pork, but you can slather it on just about anything.

This Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce recipe can be made ahead of time and stored for later use. In fact, it’s a great idea to make the sauce a few days ahead of time so that the flavors have enough time to meld together. You can store the barbecue sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

To reheat, simply place the desired amount of barbecue sauce in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until warmed through. Be careful not to overheat the sauce as this could cause it to break down and separate.

You can also freeze this sauce for extended storage. Simply pour the cooled sauce into a freezer-safe container or freezer bag, leaving at least 1 inch of space at the top to allow for expansion during freezing. Label with the date and freeze for up to 3 months.

When ready to use, thaw the sauce overnight in the refrigerator or by placing it in a bowl of cold water. Once thawed, reheat as directed above.

This apple butter barbecue sauce is a versatile condiment that pairs perfectly with grilled or smoked meats such as pork ribs, chicken, or pulled pork. The make-ahead and storing options make it easy and convenient to always have this flavorful sauce on hand for any occasion.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Made with cinnamon and cloves, this sauce is like a warm hug for your tastebuds.
Made with cinnamon and cloves, this sauce is like a warm hug for your tastebuds.

To ensure the best outcome for your Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce, there are a few tips and tricks that will make all the difference in the final product! Here are some of my secret tips to perfecting this recipe:

First, make sure to use high-quality ingredients. Using fresh garlic and onions instead of pre-minced or powdered versions will add a depth of flavor to the sauce that is not achievable otherwise.

In addition, be mindful of the amount of liquid smoke you use. While it’s a great way to enhance the smoky flavor of your BBQ sauce, too much can overpower the other flavors. I recommend using less than what is called for in the recipe, and gradually adding more to taste if necessary.

Next, consider how you plan to use your Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce. If you plan on using it as a marinade or basting sauce for meat on the grill, I suggest making it a bit thinner in consistency by adding more apple cider vinegar or water.

Similarly, if you plan on using this sauce for pulled pork or as a dipping sauce, then leave it thicker in consistency by reducing the liquid ingredients during cooking.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment with variations of this recipe. Maybe add a tablespoon of cinnamon whiskey for a spicy kick or swap out some ketchup for yellow mustard for a tangy twist.

By following these tips and making this recipe your own, I have no doubt that you’ll achieve finger-licking good results every time you make Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce Recipe is a must-try for any BBQ enthusiast. Its simple sweet and savory flavor profile will leave you craving more. The unique combination of ingredients, such as apple butter and liquid smoke, gives it a distinct taste that will make your BBQ stand out among the rest.

This recipe is not just limited to pork ribs or chicken. It can be used as a marinade or dip for all types of meat or even vegetables. The possibilities are endless!

Don’t be afraid to get creative and make substitutions or variations to suit your tastes. And with the make-ahead and storing options, it’s an easy go-to sauce for any BBQ occasion.

So next time you fire up the grill, remember to try out this simple yet delicious recipe. You won’t regret it.

Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce

Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce Recipe

I saw jars of apple butter BBQ sauce at an apple orchard a few weeks ago. I thought this was a splendid idea—especially for ribs. I’ve scoured the Internet, and this recipe looks like the best bet. It’s originally from Smuckers, (featuring their apple butter). That said, I made a large batch of apple butter (Recipe #70016), so I’m using homemade. Again, use what you can get.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 3 cups
Calories 370.5 kcal


  • 1 cup smucker’s cider apple butter (or your own)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika


  • Add everything together. Well, that’s where their recipe ends. I think that’s silly. So, let’s continue.
  • Sauté the onion in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil, medium heat. Cook till translucent.
  • Add the garlic, cook for about a minute.
  • Put everything into a sauce pot on medium heat, stir everything together.
  • Before a boil begins, drop the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 min., stirring frequently.
  • Take it off heat, let it cool for 30 minute (unless you’re canning, of course).
  • Store it however you wish. It should keep in the fridge for 30 days, in a freezer for longer, or just can it.



Serving: 720gCalories: 370.5kcalCarbohydrates: 92.8gProtein: 1.9gFat: 0.5gSaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 841.3mgFiber: 2.8gSugar: 80.3g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Easy, Sauces
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