The Ultimate Sweet & Tangy Nightshade Free BBQ Sauce

Looking for a nightshade free bbq sauce that's rich, sweet & tangy? This is it. This AIP BBQ Sauce from looks, tastes & acts just like your old favorite recipe.

If you’ve had a copy of The Paleo Healing Cookbook since before it was even called that… then you’ve known and loved this recipe for my nightshade free sweet & tangy BBQ Sauce since 2015.

For the rest of you lovely people, consider this my gift to you! My husband has always said that it was worth buying my cookbook for this recipe alone and… to be honest, he’s not wrong.

Looking for a nightshade free bbq sauce that's rich, sweet & tangy? This is it. This AIP BBQ Sauce from looks, tastes & acts just like your old favorite recipe.

This simple and utterly non-photogenic recipe for nightshade free BBQ sauce is probably the one that I’m most proud of, not just from the recipe development of my cookbook, but of all my time blogging and recipe testing.

I’m not one to toot my own proverbial horn, but this recipe was beyond a labor of love. It was days of stinking up my kitchen-without-an-extractor-hood with vinegar, an endless array of empty pantry items and close to 30-something iterations before I finally had a BBQ sauce that made us all go: THIS IS THE ONE.

(My chili-less chili recipes come close, because honestly at that point I had to dub myself some kind of kitchen wizard – my Hearty & Homestyle Nightshade Chili is proof of that magic!)

Looking for a nightshade free bbq sauce that's rich, sweet & tangy? This is it. This AIP BBQ Sauce from looks, tastes & acts just like your old favorite recipe.

So, this nightshade free BBQ sauce is kind of my kitchen baby. It’s got no nightshades or seed spices – when ketchup and mustard are usually the backbone of many a BBQ sauce! – and it’s totally AIP. But, most importantly, it looks, tastes and acts just like NORMAL BBQ sauce.

Which means that unlike the more common AIP fruit based sauces, it works on the grill and under the broiler, not just as a last minute condiment you add to your plate. So you can use my nightshade free BBQ sauce for marinading and basting just like back in the days when BBQ sauce was actually convenient as well as delicious.

It is thick, rich, tangy and sweet, but has a lovely hint of bite that balances that sweetness. It’s basically the perfect BBQ Sauce… and also the special diet equivalent of a damn unicorn.

Looking for a nightshade free bbq sauce that's rich, sweet & tangy? This is it. This AIP BBQ Sauce from looks, tastes & acts just like your old favorite recipe.

Years after I finally nailed this recipe, my nightshade free BBQ sauce has still has never failed me.

“Normal” eaters can’t tell the difference between this gloriousness or the usual grocery store options & those of us who can’t tolerate nightshades or mustard high five each other on the way to getting second piles of ribs or shrimp skewers or chicken legs or pulled pork or…. you get the idea.

At first glance, it may look like a lot of ingredients, but the recipe is so, so easy: just blend, then simmer aaaand you’re done. But that flavor balance from the layering of these ingredients is pure, alchemical kitchen gold. You’re gonna have to trust me on this.

I usually make a double batch, since it keeps (almost) forever in the fridge. You won’t regret doing the same!


The Ultimate Sweet & Tangy Nightshade Free BBQ Sauce

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5 from 13 reviews

Looking for a nightshade free bbq sauce that’s rich, sweet & tangy? This is it. This AIP BBQ Sauce from The Paleo Healing Cookbook looks, tastes & acts just like your old favorite recipe.

I usually make a double batch, since it keeps in the fridge for weeks.

  • Author: Rachael Bryant / Meatified
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups / 480 ml 1x
  • Category: sauces, condiments
  • Method: stove top




BLEND: Add all ingredients except the bacon fat to a blender and process until smooth and combined, scraping down the sides a few times as needed.

SIMMER: Pour the blended BBQ sauce mixture into a saucepan over medium heat, heating gently until the bbq sauce comes to a simmer. Add the bacon fat and stir until it melts and combines evenly with the bbq sauce.

THICKEN: Reduce the heat so that the BBQ sauce simmers gently but doesn’t boil or splash and cook, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens and darkens to a rich, deep brown hue. Don’t worry about the foam that you may see on the top of the sauce at the beginning – just keep stirring regularly and it will dissipate as the sauce cooks, reduces and thickens. If you like your BBQ sauce with a bit more tanginess, add additional apple cider vinegar, to taste, then cook for an additional 5 minutes at the end.

STORE: Pour the finished nightshade free BBQ sauce carefully into jars to cool. You can keep the BBQ sauce in the fridge for up to 2 months. You can use it straight from the fridge as a marinade or when directly added to hot foods, but you may want to gently reheat it to use on the side.


To make a coconut free of this nightshade free BBQ sauce, omit the coconut aminos and increase the fish sauce by 2 tablespoons / 30 ml and the balsamic vinegar by 1 tablespoon / 15 ml. You can also add 3 tablespoons of broth or water, if you like, to make up the liquid volume lost.

Looking for a nightshade free bbq sauce that's rich, sweet & tangy? This is it. This AIP BBQ Sauce from looks, tastes & acts just like your old favorite recipe.
Looking for a nightshade free bbq sauce that's rich, sweet & tangy? This is it. This AIP BBQ Sauce from looks, tastes & acts just like your old favorite recipe.
Looking for a nightshade free bbq sauce that's rich, sweet & tangy? This is it. This AIP BBQ Sauce from looks, tastes & acts just like your old favorite recipe.


  1. I had ribs cooking in the oven low and slow (pastured pork of course) when I this recipe popped up in my email. Of course I had to try it. Was a bit concerned based on the ingredients. WOW is it good!! I usually take recipes and slightly alter to my tastes. Not this one!! I will have this in my fridge at all times, ready to baste on to some yummy chunk of meat! Thank you, thank you.

    1. Hahaha, I so hear you, this is definitely a recipe that doesn’t look like it should work and yet does, which is why I added that little note in the post saying “trust in meeeeeeee”. So glad you enjoyed it! It really is a game changer because it seems to keep almost indefinitely in the fridge, so it’s a great weeknight trick to keep up your sleeve 🙂

  2. This was probably the first thing I made from Nourish when it came out way back when. I just threw together a batch this week. This is meaningful because I can eat nightshades in limited quantities and this sauce is BETTER than any tomato based stuff in a jar. It’s THAT good. Even the fam will eat it with gusto. 5 million stars. A++. 🙂

  3. Hi, I would love to try this bbq sauce. I need to omit the pumpkin, garlic and ginger for allergy reasons. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks, Megan

    1. The pumpkin acts as a thickener, so any vegetable puree will probably have a similar result. My first thought would be butternut or sweet potato on that front. The ginger is trickier, since it adds a bit of heat that otherwise is hard to come by without nightshades. The closest thing would be ground & dried galangal, which would give you the heat and a pepper-like bite, but it’s tricky to find unless you can get to an international market. If you’re following AIP, then your other options for heat are horseradish or (pure) wasabi, but I don’t think those would work that well here. Garlic – you didn’t say if you had a problem with other alliums, so I’ll assume not for now and suggest shallots first and perhaps finely minced green onion. If those won’t work, you’ll have to let me know 🙂

      1. I actually DO replace the garlic with horseradish and it tastes amazing! I specifically use Boar’s Head because it’s just horseradish, salt and vinegar. I use this for my AIP BBQ spuds made with baked white sweet potatoes that I cover with some type of protein, vegetable and non dairy cheese. Thank you for this recipe!

  4. I wonder if it’d be okay without the applesauce and ginger? XD We are a house full of food allergies. I’m not too worried about the ginger, but the applesauce I’m not sure what to replace with? Maybe pear?

    1. Honestly, I think you could just skip the applesauce and it will only make a tiny difference in the thickness of the sauce. The ginger is there for a smidge of background heat. Do you need to keep this AIP or just nightshade free? If it’s the latter, I’d add in a bit of ground black pepper for just a little kick.

      1. Just reading the comments and am wondering if the person who can’t use applesauce might want to try subbing baby food prunes or pear puree.
        I’m looking forward to trying this recipe this weekend for Mother’s Day. I’ll follow the recipe and your advice to double it. 😉

  5. Third try is a charm!! I have made a cherry BBQ and then a sweet and tangy and FINALLY this one that tastes like the Diana BBQ sauce I used to use. Now to force myself to use up the last few frozen ice cubes of the others so they don’t go to waste lol

    1. YAY!! This seriously made my day, I’m so happy to hear you enjoying this because I have definitely been where you were. I have to admit I chuckled over the image of you having to use up the others, I’m the same way with not wasting anything if I can help it!

  6. This is amazing. I have been nightshade free for about a year and have been seriously missing BBQ sauce. I made ribs and honestly could have cried some happy tears it was so good. Just wondering if it’s possible to can it in a pressure cooker?

    1. I’ve never bothered to try canning it because it lasts for a reeeaaally long time in the fridge. The amount of vinegar and natural sugars in it mean that I’ve actually never seen it go bad. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      1. Fantastic recipe. My friend is allergic to tomatoes and gluten so I made this for our BBQ dinner last night. I didn’t bother with fish sauce and used smoked paprika instead of smoked salt (also added regular salt) and it was amazing as a marinade for chicken and on baby back ribs. Thank you!

        1. Oh, the smoked paprika sounds like a lovely addition – so glad you enjoyed it!

          1. I thought paprika was a nightshade? Does smoking it change that somehow? I can’t even have a lot of mayo’s or mustards on the market, because they use paprika in it.

          2. Hi Tisha,

            Yes, paprika and smoked paprika are nightshades. My comment above was in response to someone who made this recipe with the addition of some smoked paprika because they needed a tomato free bbq sauce, but were ok with other nightshades. At least, that was my understanding of their recipe modifications 🙂

  7. Thank you for this great recipe. We have a dear friend who follows a nightshade and gluten free diet. We always want to make sure she has something tasty that doesn’t make her feel singled out in front of other guests. This is perfect for everyone to enjoy!

  8. This is the first time I have ever went to the bother to comment on a recipe blog post.
    Nightshades makes me feel like crap and yet I cave more times than not cause they’re so darn good. With BBQ sauce this good, I literally will not be tempted.
    This recipe has given me some hope again regarding the food I eat.
    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

    1. I’m so, so happy to read this, Evelyn! So glad you’re getting to enjoy some BBQ again 🙂

  9. This is it! Tangy, flavorful, fabulous! The best part is the ingredients are all on hand, easy to assemble, gluten free, nightshade free. Thank you, thank you for sharing

    1. Absolutely! You can use it just like traditional BBQ sauce, either brushed onto meats while grilling or added to eats once they’re off the grill and pulled / sliced / chopped.

  10. Just wanted to say thank you. I have GERD and I have been living with it for over a decade, and this is one of the best recipes I’ve come across that lets me enjoy a delicious substitute for ketchup as a condiment, as well as helping to make a helluva chili and pulled pork. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  11. I absolutely love this BBQ sauce. It tastes like the real deal. I am looking forward to making bbq pork ribs. Thank you for sharing this five star recipie.

  12. I love this sauce and have made it many times. My kids who can tell when they are eating mom safe meals, can’t tell this isn’t the real thing. Thank you!

  13. Hi there! this sauce is sooooo good! i am tomato free and struggle to find a good BBQ sauce! If I wanted the sauce slightly less tangy what should i adjust?

    Thank you so much for this recipe!

  14. I made this recipe this weekend for my hubby that has Nightshade allergies. He’s from Texas so, hard to not imagine having a good BBQ sauce he can eat. I was so happy that he enjoyed the BBQ sauce and would have me make it again. I will say the only thing to watch out for is this can get a little tangy from the apple cider vinegar so, I would use less next time I make it and less ginger. I would add more Balsamic so, it’s not so overpowering. I realize this is to everyone’s palate but wanted to give my honest feedback. Overall great recipe and will make it again.

  15. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!! No nightshades really makes it hard to find good sauces. This was well worth the extra ingredients and also makes a great marinade.

  16. This sauce is GREAT! I made a double batch my first time, and am so happy I did. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  17. We’ve made this BBQ sauce a number of times as we are a GF, nightshade-free home. I even made it one time to bring to a potluck and everyone thought it was delicious! We don’t usually put bacon grease in and don’t miss it at all. Really, really good!!

  18. Hi Rach! Just tried this sauce last night and my husband and I both loved it! This sauce is better than any BBQ sauce I have purchased or made myself! The recipe seems to be forgiving…I didn’t have fish sauce and also had to substitute maple syrup for the honey and it was still wonderful! Thank you for all your hard work and for sharing your recipes!


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