Blueberry Barbecue Sauce

I’ve been spoiled by fresh blueberries. Every summer, I fill bucket after bucket with the little blue balloons of fruit at the U-Pick farms, barely restraining myself from employing a ‘pick-one-eat-one’ policy. Aside from this being unfair to the farms, I remind myself, I don’t want to turn into a Violet Beauregarde blueberry-person being rolled out of the fields by little singing orange Oompa Loompas.

Two weeks ago was the first of what is sure to be many trips to the blueberry fields. As I started in on my second pail, my friend Megan turned to me and asked, “I don’t know what I’m going to do with all of these! How are you using them?” I immediately started rattling off a list.

Five Ways with Blueberries

1. In a bowl, topped with a little cumulus cloud of whipped cream. Fruit in and of itself isn’t what I would call a dessert, but with just a little whipped cream on top, it gets elevated to healthy meal-ender status.

2. Infused in vodka. I’m making this just like I made my strawberry vodka: 1 pint of blueberries in a quart-sized jar, filled to the top with vodka. Infuse for a week, shaking daily, then strain and use in cocktails.

3. In blueberry pie bars. They’re more travel-friendly than an actual pie, and have never failed to be a crowd-pleaser.

4. Puréed and frozen into blueberry sorbet. Again, I’m making this just like the strawberry version: puréed (and strained if you want it really smooth) and frozen with a simple syrup.

5. Simmered into a blueberry barbecue sauce, some served over grilled pork chops and the rest canned for winter.

And we still haven’t turned into blueberry people yet.

Blueberry Barbecue Sauce

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Blueberry Barbecue Sauce

The mix of blueberries and tomatoes in this sauce provides a terrific contrast of sweet, tart and tangy flavors. It is great for grilled chicken or pork, and can also be used for a fruity twist on pulled pork.


  • 28 ounces (about 3 1/2 cups) diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6 ounces yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 packed cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Puree the tomatoes, blueberries, garlic and onion, in two batches if your food processor or blender isn't large enough. Press the puree through a strainer to get out most of the seeds and skin. You may need to scrape the strainer with a wooden spoon to clear up any seed-clogged holes and get all the juice through.
  2. Pour the puree into a large stockpot, cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and reduce to a simmer until the puree is reduced by about 1/3, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare for canning. Wash the jars and flat lids with hot, soapy water. Put the jars in the canning pot and fill the pot with hot water. Heat over medium-high heat to keep the jars hot. Place the lids in a heat-proof bowl.
  4. Stir the vinegar, sauce, sugar, coriander, pepper and salt into the pot. Continue to simmer until it is the consistency of a thin commercial barbecue sauce, about 20 minutes.
  5. Move some of the boiling water from the canning pot into the heat-proof bowl containing the lids. Line the hot jars up on a folded towel, then pour the water out of the heat-proof bowl and off the lids.
  6. Fill the jars up to 1/2” below the rim with barbecue sauce. Use a clean towel to wipe any sauce off the rims, then top each jar with a lid and a tightened ring. Place the jars back in the canning pot and make sure they are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and process for 20 minutes. Place the jars on a folded towel and allow to sit, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Check the seals of the lids after 1 hour. If a seal has not formed, refrigerate the jar immediately.

Make Ahead and Storage

This recipe makes a lot of sauce, so if you don't want to can it, either halve the recipe or give some away to friends -- it would make a great host(ess) gift! The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


  1. says

    Those blueberry pie bars look delicious. I made lemon blueberry muffins from a JOy the Baker recipe earlier this week using my u-pick blueberries. May have to go back and get another haul soon. I use them on my cereal every morning too.

  2. says

    You should see the tower of empty half-flats in our garage ready to go back to the farmer’s market! No, we didn’t pick our own, but the hubs gets quite the deal when he buys a bunch of flats at a time– all kinds of berries, but the number of blueberries we have now, while it may not be Lord of the Rings, I’m still going to call it epic. I got sucked in to the post by your picture of the blueberry barbecue sauce and was happy to see the recipe for it at the end. It’s going on my Pinterest now and I’ll make a smaller batch to try it out.

  3. says

    mmm! I am a big believer that blueberries are the only reason for summer! I made a blueberry cobbler smoothie for breakfast this morning and it was like a gorgeous summer evening in a glass! Blueberries for president!

  4. says

    I love love love all these great Recipes!! I was sitting here with a bunch of berries and didn’t want them to go the waste!! I made the pie bars, the blueberry infused vodka, the blueberry perserves and the BBQ sauce. I think I messed up the BBQ so I wanted to pick your brain. It’s really watery…did I not reduce it enough? Or perhaps I strained out to much of the bits and pieces. Flavor is great! If ya get a chance, could you give me your advice! I’d like to try again!

    • Julie says

      It probably needs to reduce more — keep simmering and reducing until it is the consistency of a thin barbecue sauce, and you’ll be all set!