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9 Jul

Primal BBQ Sauce

The summer grilling season is upon us, which means we have a full-on craving for meat slathered in BBQ sauce and grilled to crispy, caramelized perfection. In anticipation of firing up the grill, we’ve been searching for the perfect BBQ sauce and a quick scan of the grocery store aisle confirmed exactly what we expected: if we wanted a perfect sauce, we were going to have to make it ourselves.

When we say “perfect” BBQ sauce, we mean one without high fructose corn syrup, loads of granulated sugar and other unnecessary ingredients like caramel color, modified food starch and preservatives. To avoid all of these things in BBQ sauce, you pretty much have to make it yourself. This didn’t deter our plans to grill. Making Primal BBQ sauce is quick and easy and can be made from ingredients many of us already have in our kitchen.

Our other requirement for a perfect Primal BBQ sauce was that it had to taste good (duh) because while we don’t like what goes into jarred sauce, we do like the sweet, spicy and tangy flavor. We also wanted a versatile sauce that we could use on everything from beef to pork to chicken.

By using an array of warm spices, a little bit of hot sauce and honey and a tomato paste base flavored with tamari and vinegar, we’ve achieved the perfect BBQ sauce for all your grilling needs. Our sauce is slightly spicy, slightly sweet and a bit tangy. You can adjust all these flavors to your own liking by using more, or less, of the hot sauce, honey and apple cider vinegar. The result is a full-flavored sauce that pairs well with any type of meat and is good enough to serve on the side for dipping.

So fire up the grill, make a big batch of Primal BBQ sauce and slather it on to your meat of choice.  Leave the forks and knives inside, as this is the type of meal you’ll be eating with your hands. And leave the napkins inside too –  with sauce this good, you’ll be licking your fingers clean.

Makes 1 cup of sauce


  • 1/3 cup (about 3 ounces) tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons tamari
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder


In a small bowl mix together tomato paste, butter, hot sauce, honey, vinegar, tamari, mustard and water.

In another small bowl mix together allspice, cinnamon, pepper, chili powder, paprika and onion powder.

Mix the spices in with the wet ingredients.

Brush on meat before grilling or dip cooked meat into the sauce.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. This BBQ sauce is fantastic!!!

    ChaserBD04 wrote on July 23rd, 2011
  2. Just tried this. Left out tamari and substituted honey for unsweetened applesauce. Very tasty!

    Fufonzo wrote on July 24th, 2011
  3. Awesome recipe! I actually like this one better than the recipe in the PB Cookbook. The non-Primal husband declared this “the bomb” (love a victory!). I made this and then we BBQed some ribs. Yumola!

    Dawn wrote on July 28th, 2011
  4. Can this be water-bath canned???

    Of Goats and Greens wrote on July 29th, 2011
    • I don’t think it is acidic enough to be water bathed canned, but if you have a pressure canner you could do it in that and it would be safe.

      Debbie wrote on July 31st, 2011
      • Actually it could as I just realized it has apple cider vinegar in it, so yeah it is acidic enough to be water bath canned

        Debbie wrote on July 31st, 2011
  5. I just made this recipe and it is the BOMB!!! Thank you sooo much.

    lisa wrote on August 10th, 2011
  6. I know so many people would freak about soybeans, but in Korea they have ssamjang, which is red pepper paste (kochujang) mixed with fermented soybean paste (dwoenjang). You could probably get it at a Korean/Asian grocery store in the States. Anyway, I mention it because it always comes with BBQ in the restaurants in Korea and it goes perfectly with it.

    Todd wrote on August 11th, 2011
  7. Made this sauce tonight for my crockpot pulled pork… VERY delicious. Best BBQ sauce I’ve had. (Subbed balsalmic for the apple cider vinegar)

    Angela wrote on February 29th, 2012
  8. I Threw in a little cumin and some lemon juice and its perfect!

    Michele wrote on April 18th, 2012
  9. Made pulled pork and used this bbq sauce tonight-yum! Huge win for the family!

    Voss wrote on July 7th, 2012
  10. This barbecue sauce is SO good. I hesitated to make it, thinking there is no way it is worth it. It is so good, I am tossing any and all store bought varieties. Thank you for a great website! I reference it all the time.

    Famous Dena wrote on July 8th, 2012
  11. My wife and I made this tonight and grilled some chicken. It was wonderful!

    Michael wrote on July 14th, 2012
  12. Can this recipe be frozen? I’m the only one eating it.

    Rosemary wrote on August 4th, 2012
  13. Delicious awesomeness! I didn’t even have tamari so I just left it out and it was still great! I like a sweeter BBQ sauce so I used the 2tbsp and only about 1.5tbsp of the vinegar. Threw everything into a small sauce pan and heated over low heat to melt the butter and melt the spices. My husband is going to be SO happy that BBQ items are still on the menu!

    Monique wrote on August 22nd, 2012
  14. I was under the impression, that soy was not primal on it’s own. I understand soy sauce has wheat in it and that you can get wheat free versions, but it’s still made from soy. Does the fermentation cause it’s negative effect to be altered in some way or is this part of that 20% I can get away with?

    Clay wrote on August 23rd, 2012
    • I too am confused because I can’t see how soy would be considered to Paleo/primal? I personally won’t eat soy at all because I am intolerant to it and consider it to have negative effects on the body. I do however realise that some consider fermented soy to be better for you. I didn’t think primal man had soy beans or any bean for that matter?

      I’m going to try this recipe to go with my grass fed rib eye steak tonight! Mmmm

      Iron_phoenix wrote on February 15th, 2013
  15. I dunno if people in states outside South Carolina get this in their grocery stores, but “Carolina Treet” isn’t all that bad on sugar or preservatives. Probably because it’s vinegar-based and therefore doubly delicious. :)

    Cassidy wrote on March 7th, 2013

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