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The Homemade BBQ Sauce of Grilling Dreams

Katie Schur

Here in Massachusetts, we live right in the middle of Maple country. And I am so thankful to our family friends at Grand Maple Farms for introducing us to the most delicious maple syrup I've ever tasted. I'm a girl who loves a good sauce, and when it comes to condiments I love something that has a little sweet and a little spice. That's why when I came across a recipe for Maple BBQ sauce, I had to try it out this grilling season. 

 Maple BBQ Sauce 

Maple BBQ Sauce 

This recipe originally comes from the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association. The link to the original recipe is here:

When I made it, I had to make a couple of tweaks because I didn't have everything on hand that they suggested. I've made it both ways and it's delicious. The main rule of thumb is to make sure you buy real maple syrup!


  • 16 oz of canned tomato sauce (I didn't have sauce on hand so I drained the juice from a 28 oz can of tomatoes and used the remaining tomatoes in a pizza recipe later that week)
  • 1/4 cup of tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons of whole grain mustard (original recipe calls for spicy brown mustard - i like the whole grain variation because the resulting sauce is speckled)
  • 1/4 cup of molasses 
  • 1/3 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (I added extra cayenne pepper to make up for the heat missing in the mustard)
  • 3 tablespoons of bourbon (I didn't have bourbon on hand so I substituted in a local whiskey in its place) 


  • Add all ingredients except the bourbon into a large saucepan. Whisk to combine and heat over medium. Bring to a full (but controlled) boil. 
  • Reduce the heat and allow sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes until thick. 
  • Add the bourbon and continue cooking another 5 minutes. 
  • Remove the saucepan from heat and allow it to cool. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. 
  • Transfer sauce to a sealable container and refrigerate until ready to use. 
  • Sauce will keep in fridge up to 3 weeks. 

We've been using this sauce so many ways during the month of June: on tater tots, quesadillas, baked potatoes, and these BBQ chicken drumsticks. 


The best part about this recipe is that once it's made, you can store it in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Which means dinner on the grill is easy, and you can relax and enjoy more time outside. 

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If you'd like to try out some Massachusetts Maple syrup from Grand Maple Farms be sure to check out the maple syrup in our online store. We'll send you enough to make this recipe + try the extra on some morning pancakes.