Cranberry BBQ Sauce

Each year my dad and uncle throw together an amazing even for family and friends; they do most of the leg work when it comes to the pig – waking up at 1:00 am to ensure the coals are ready to go and get the pig started around 2:00 am for the feast later in the day. I on the other hand sleep in a bit but start my prep work a day or two in advance by making a variety of things. In the past I have made a Carolina Style BBQ Sauce (vinegar based) and we’ve bought some as well, but last year I decided to channel my Massachusetts roots and made a homemade Smokey Cranberry BBQ Sauce and it didn’t disappoint. Over the last year I have worked on this recipe tweaking it here and there and I can’t wait to share this with you!

The BBQ sauce was such a hit at the first pig roast, I made it again this year, but was smart enough to make extra to bring home this time! It was perfect in my Instant Pot Pulled Pork as well. You can make this year round using frozen cranberries and would make a great condiment to your Thanksgiving table. Most of the ingredients you probably already have at home however you will need either an immersion (stick) blender or a standard blender.


Smokey Cranberry BBQ Sauce


  • 1 – 20oz Bottle of All Natural Ketchup (I prefer Hunts)
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/3 – 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (you can use white as well, adjust to your level of sweetness)
  • 1 1/2 Cup Cranberries (Frozen works great)
  • 3 Tablespoons Orange Zest (from 2 Medium oranges)
  • 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Allspice (optional, a little goes a long way)

Method of Preparation

  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot over medium heat and then bring to a simmer.
  2. Stir occasionally. Similarly to making cranberry sauce; as the cranberries begin to cook, they will soften and burst; you can press them against the side of the pot to assist with this.
  3. Once the sauce thickens, remove from heat and let cool.
    1. Option 1: use an immersion blender; blend the  sauce until smooth and no whole cranberries remain.
    2. Option 2: use a standard blender; add sauce to the blender and blend on medium-high until smooth and no whole cranberries remain.
  4. Taste – adjust as needed.
  5. Store and an air tight container (I store my in mason jars or squeeze bottles) in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Chef’s tip: If you taste the sauce when it is hot, remember that as the sauce cools the flavor will change slightly due to the ginger and chili powder mellowing out a bit.

November 4, 2019 at 10:20 am | Chef's Corner, Dairy-Free, Egg Free, Fish Free, Gluten-Free, Peanut Free, Recipe, Shellfish Free, Soy Free, Top 8 Free, Tree Nut Free, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wheat Free | No comment

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