homemade BBQ sauce with honey and hibiscus in a small ramekin

Homemade BBQ Sauce with Honey & Hibiscus | Sweet, Tangy, & Full of Health Benefits

It’s zesty, tangy, and has the perfect amount of spice. Plus, it’s full of flowers! This isn’t your ordinary sugar-filled ketchup cousin. Hibiscus flowers bring an incredibly nice tartness to this homemade BBQ sauce sweetened with honey. Like they were born for BBQ, hibiscus flowers blend right in with this take on a classic spiced sauce meant for all your backyard BBQ dreams.

Plus, it’s made entirely from scratch, the easy kind of made-from-scratch, and is full of all the heart-healthy, antioxidant-fueled health benefits of hibiscus.

HERE YOU’LL FIND:
BBQ Sauce, Meet Hibiscus
The Health Benefits of Hibiscus
The Truth About Store-Bought BBQ Sauce
How to Make a Homemade BBQ Sauce
BBQ Sauce FAQs
Recipe for Homemade BBQ Sauce with Honey & Hibiscus

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ingredients for homemade BBQ sauce with honey and hibiscus
bottle of homemade BBQ sauce with honey and hibiscus in a small ramekin

BBQ Sauce, Meet Hibiscus

If you think about it, BBQ and hibiscus kind of just go together. Summertime backyard BBQs with friends and family, tables full of delicious garden veggies, and giant pitchers of fresh-squeezed calendula lemonade and thirst-quenching hibiscus tea… can you picture it?!

Your backyard BBQs might look very different, but regardless, you’ll be the star of the backyard bonanza when you show up with this homemade hibiscus and honey BBQ sauce.


The Health Benefits of Hibiscus

Hibiscus is probably best known for two things. One, it’s incredibly high in vitamin C as you can tell from its tantalizingly tart taste. And two, it’s an amazing medicine for the heart and entire cardiovascular system.

Its high polyphenol and antioxidant content make hibiscus a heart-healthy food that supports the overall healthy function of the cardiovascular system. This pretty little flower has been used to help lower high blood pressure, manage high cholesterol, and even help with weight management. Plus, its ability to support liver and kidney health makes hibiscus one of the best herbs for detox, helping us to eliminate toxins from our body with ease.

And did you know that hibiscus has often been called the Botox plant? The amazing benefits of hibiscus for your skin make this BBQ sauce basically skin cream. Just kidding… don’t put this on your face. 🙂

Here are some of the most well-known and studied health benefits of hibiscus flower:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Antimicrobial
  • Heart Tonic
  • Cholesterol-lowering
  • Diuretic
  • Hypotensive
  • Astringent
  • Demulcent (helps to soothe irritated and inflamed internal tissues such as mucous membranes)

The Truth About Store-Bought BBQ Sauce

Hey, I get it. Store-bought is just easy. But so is this homemade BBQ sauce with honey and hibiscus! While there are some high-quality BBQ sauces on the market that are made with organic ingredients and without loads of sugar (oftentimes high-fructose corn syrup) and artificial flavors, most store-bought BBQ sauces (and salad dressings too!) are incredibly unhealthy.

In fact, I just picked up a bottle of a very popular BBQ sauce brand to peek at the ingredients and these were the first two ingredients: high-fructose corn syrup and modified corn starch. Those ingredients are quite literally not even food.

Also, tomatoes are one of the most chemical-laden items in the produce department and they’re typically the main ingredient in BBQ sauce. If you haven’t checked out the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list lately, tomatoes make the cut. Always aim to purchase organic tomatoes (or grow your own) if possible.

Unless you’re purchasing organic BBQ sauce, it’s likely full of health-harming chemicals that are damaging to your health and wellness, as well as the health of the planet and all the hands involved along the way to get that food on your plate.

Making your own BBQ sauce is less expensive, so easy to do, and you have complete control over the ingredients. Plus, you’d be pretty hard-pressed to find a BBQ sauce made with hibiscus flowers at the market.

herbs de Provence oil (herb infused oil)
lemon mint hummus - vegan & gluten-free
creamy ginger turmeric salad dressing and sauce (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)

Try These Other Herb-Infused Condiments!

Lemon Mint Hummus
Creamy Ginger Tumeric Salad Dressing

Herbs de Provence Infused Olive Oil


How to Make a Homemade BBQ Sauce

This BBQ sauce is pretty quick and easy. You basically throw everything into a pot, cook it down, then give it all a buzz in the blender. That’s it.

Now I’m no BBQ sauce expert, and I’m sure there are BBQ sauce connoisseurs who might scoff at my flippant approach to making delicious BBQ sauce. But that’s kind of the point. The point is to make it real, incredibly easy to amp up the foods you and your family are eating with nutritive and medicinal herbs. It’s about making herbal wellness and kitchen herbalism easy and accessible.

Here’s a quick rundown of how to make this homemade BBQ sauce with honey and hibiscus. You can find the full, detailed recipe at the end of this post.

Equipment Needed:

  • Small Saucepan
  • Measuring Cups & Spoons
  • Blender – A high-speed blender such as a Vitamix is best for the smoothest sauce, however, there are no rules in BBQ sauce that say your sauce can’t have a little texture. 🙂
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Quart-Sized Glass Jar – Use a canning jar or a recyled glass jar for storing your sauce.

Ingredients:

  • Red Onion
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Oregano, dried
  • Sage, dried
  • Paprika
  • Ground Mustard Seed
  • Chipotle Powder
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Blackstrap Molasses
  • Honey (raw & local is always best)
  • Water
  • Dried Hibiscus Flowers, cut & sifted

Method:

  1. Sweat the onions and garlic. You know the drill! Add a drizzle of olive oil to your saucepan and sweat the onions and garlic over medium heat until the onions are slightly translucent (about 5-7 minutes).
  1. Stir in all the herbs and spices until fragrant (~30 seconds).
  1. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except for the honey, and simmer for ~15 minutes. Cook the mixture over medium heat until the dried hibiscus flowers have softened and the liquid has reduced a little bit.

4. Blend until a smooth and uniform consistency. Remove the mixture from the heat and use a high-speed blender to process to a smooth consistency. Add a little water to thin to the desired consistency if necessary.

**If you don’t have a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix or Ninja, you may have a hard time getting a super smooth consistency. That’s okay! It may help to add a little extra water to get the blender moving. If you don’t care for the texture, you could always run the blended sauce through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any unblended bits.

5. Return the blended sauce to the saucepan and stir in the honey. At this point, you can also taste and add more salt if you think it’s necessary. The flavor of this sauce will really develop with time. I like to do a taste test the day after making it and make any necessary adjustments then.


BBQ Sauce FAQs

How long does BBQ last?

This BBQ sauce with honey and hibiscus contains no preservatives and while the apple cider vinegar and natural antimicrobial properties of the honey will help prolong the shelf-life, I recommend using this recipe within 10-14 days.

To be honest, it will probably last longer than that, but 10-14 days is the safest bet.

How do I store homemade BBQ sauce?

Let your homemade BBQ sauce cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container such as a canning jar with a tight-fitting lid. Then store it in the refrigerator for 10-14 days. If you’re unable to use your BBQ sauce within 2 weeks, freeze it for later use or gift it to your friends and family!

If freezing, consider freezing in smaller portions. This way you can pull out only the amount you need.

How can I use BBQ Sauce?

You can use this homemade BBQ sauce with honey and hibiscus any way that you’d use any other kind of BBQ sauce. Aside from the conventional brushing of all kinds of meats, here are some of my favorite plant-based ways to use this BBQ sauce:

  • Make BBQ tofu (or tempeh) kabobs. – Toss cubes of extra-firm tofu or tempeh in this BBQ sauce and then skewer them with mushrooms, bell peppers, red onion, and chuncks of juicy pineapple before popping them on the grill.
  • Forget the ketchup and dip crispy, roasted potato wedges in BBQ sauce. – Toss potato wedges in a little bit of olive oil, roast in a single layer at 415℉ until golden and crispy. And then dip!
  • Recreate your fave BBQ chicken pizza at home. – Or skip the chicken. Substitute BBQ sauce for the traditional pizza sauce, add some sliced red onions, and whatever other toppings you’d like. Heck, throw on some pineapple. Whatever you do, don’t forget the cilantro!
  • Make southwestern-style nachos. – Pinto beans, roasted corn, shredded cabbage slaw, pickles jalapeños, cilantro cashew queso blanco, hibiscus BBQ sauce… sounds delicious, doesn’t it?!
  • Drizzle over grilled pineapple. – Thick and juicy grilled pineapple slices and hibiscus BBQ sauce are a match made in heaven.
  • Swirl into cornbread muffins. – Leave out the berries in this vegan and gluten-free Elderberry & Thyme Corn Muffin recipe and swirl in some hibiscus BBQ sauce instead for a smoky, spicy twist.

Where can I find dried hibiscus flowers?

You can actually find loose hibiscus tea at most conventional groceries these days. If they carry them, you’ll often find them in the ethnic food section, most typically near the Hispanic food items. They’re typically in bags next to all the bags of dried chilies, corn husks, tamarind, and similar items.

Many groceries will also carry hibiscus tea bags in the regular tea section. But if you’re unable to find dried hibiscus at your local groceries, there are many online herb suppliers. My go-to for the highest quality, most ethically grown and harvested herbs is Mountain Rose Herbs. They carry cut & sifted hibiscus flowerswhole hibiscus flowers, and even hibiscus flower powder.


For more plant magic & herbal wellness in your life, be sure to follow along on ➡️ Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, & snag my herbal 📚 eBooks Nourishing Herbal Gifts & Holiday Pies from the (Un)Bakery. 🌿 And please don’t forget to tag me in your snaps 📸 @_botanyculture_. I love to see all the plant magic you make happen!

Homemade BBQ Sauce with Honey & Hibiscus

Course: CondimentsCuisine: Gluten-Free, AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes
Quantity

3

cups

Like they were born for BBQ, hibiscus flowers blend right in with this take on a classic spiced sauce meant for all your backyard BBQ dreams. Use this homemade BBQ sauce with honey and hibiscus in any way you’d normally use BBQ sauce. The flavor of this sauce gets better with age and I recommend making it at least a day in advance.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced

  • 2-4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried sage

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard seed

  • 1/2-1 teaspoon chipotle powder (depending on your taste for spice)

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 cup water (plus more for thinning to desired consistency)

  • 6 oz (1 can) organic tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers, cut & sifted

  • 1/4 cup organic apple cider vinegar (or more to taste)

  • 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses

  • 1/4 cup raw, local honey (or to your desired sweetness)

Directions

  • Sweat the onions and garlic. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are slightly translucent (about 5-7 minutes).
  • Stir in all the herbs and spices. Once onions are slightly translucent, add all the dry spices, including the sea salt and pepper. Stir and cook until fragrant (~30 seconds).
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients, except for the honey, and simmer for ~15 minutes. Simmer the mixture over medium heat until the dried hibiscus flowers have softened and the liquid has reduced a little bit. Then remove from the heat.
  • Use a spatula to transfer the mixture to a high-speed blender and process to a smooth consistency. Add a little water to thin to the desired consistency if necessary.

    **If you don’t have a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix or Ninja, you may have a hard time getting a super smooth consistency. That’s okay! It may help to add a little extra water to get the blender moving. If you don’t care for the texture, you could always run the blended sauce through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any unblended bits.
  • Return the blended sauce to the saucepan and stir in the honey. At this point, you can also taste and add more salt or apple cider vinegar to suit your taste. Know that the flavor of this sauce will really develop with time. I like to do a taste test the day after making it and make any necessary adjustments then.
  • Enjoy! Enjoy your homemade hibiscus BBQ sauce as you would any other BBQ sauce. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

    **You can also freeze the leftover sauce in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Depending on how much you have leftover, I find it to be helpful to freeze extra BBQ sauce in ~3/4-1 cup-sized portions. This way you could pull out just enough for your favorite recipe at a time.

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how to make homemade BBQ sauce with honey and hibiscus - Botany Culture

DISCLAIMER: The information given in this article is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before consuming certain herbs & medicinal foods, especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking any prescription medications.

Find Organic Herbs & Spices at Mountain Rose Herbs

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