Rainbow BBQ sauces
Easy Eats

Rainbow BBQ Sauce

I sort of feel like I’ve been training for this post my entire life. After all, homemade BBQ sauce is one of my favorite things to play around with when I have time. A good BBQ sauce can go along way to making you a great griller and cook and the sauces can completely span the flavor chasm from spicy to tangy to sweet. Whatever you want, you can find it in a BBQ sauce.

Whatever color you want, I mean.

Of course, this is a fun post. Unless you are a crazy person, I’m not recommending that you actually make all of these. But, they are all fairly simple to make and have great flavors. The red and yellow sauces are about as basic as BBQ sauce can get and the green and purple get a bit crazier. Each sauce is doable in under an hour though.

Not to show my hand, but the green is definitely my favorite.

Hopefully these rainbow BBQ sauces will inspire you to pick a color and mix up a batch before summer ends!

Red BBQ Sauce

Red BBQ Sauce

Red BBQ Sauce

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Yield
Makes about 2 cups
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A classic red bbq sauce that is ketchup based. Nothing fancy and a good intro to bbq sauces.

Ingredients

1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons mild chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
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Directions

  1. Add ingredients to a medium pot over low heat. Stir until flavors are combined and it’s steaming. No need to simmer it even.
  2. Remove and allow sauce to cool. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Red BBQ Sauce

Like I said, this sauce is a pretty basic ketchup-based sauce. Nothing fancy here, but good solid BBQ flavors. Works great as a glaze on a ton of different grilled items from chicken to hamburgers. You could use it on ribs, but I like something a bit more tangy for my ribs.

Red BBQ Sauce

Speaking of tangy!

Yellow BBQ Sauce

Yellow BBQ Sauce

Yellow BBQ Sauce

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Yield
Makes about 2 cups
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Yellow BBQ sauce is a classic mustard based sauce. Embrace the tang!

Ingredients

1 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon turmeric spice (optional)
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
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Directions

  1. Add ingredients to a medium pot over low heat. Stir until butter is melted and flavors are combined. No need to simmer it even.
  2. Remove and allow sauce to cool. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

You could use a dijon mustard for this guy if you wanted but I used plain yellow mustard which makes the color really bright. It’s tangy, but it has enough sweetness to balance it out. A knob of butter in the sauce helps balance it as well.

Yellow BBQ Sauce

Basically you just heat the sauce until it’s all combined and it’s done. Nothing fancy!

Yellow BBQ Sauce

Orange BBQ Sauce

Okay. This is my cheater sauce in the list. Even my three year old knows that “orange is a kind of red” so yea… I just mixed the red and the yellow sauces together. You know what though, it’s pretty great! Kind of the best of both worlds!

Orange BBQ Sauce

Green BBQ Sauce

Green BBQ Sauce

Green BBQ Sauce

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Yield
Makes about 3 cups
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Green BBQ sauce is almost a salsa, but it glazes nicely on grilled things!

Ingredients

1 pound tomatillo, halved
1/2 white onion, quartered
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1 bunch cilantro
1 tablespoon green hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Add tomatillos and onion to a sheet pan and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 450 degrees F. for 25 minutes.
  2. Add roasted veggies to a medium pot with juices along with jalapeno peppers, vinegar and honey. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes until veggies soften completely.
  3. Let mixture cool and transfer to a blender with cilantro and hot sauce. Blend until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. BBQ sauce will keep well for a week or so in the fridge.

Alright. Now we are getting kind of crazy. This is veering very lose into salsa territory but it has enough vinegar and sugar to push it into a BBQ sauce. If you brush it on a grilled thing (I tested it on chicken thighs) it caramelizes a bit like a good BBQ sauce would do.

It’s definitely the most work intensive of the sauces, but also my favorite. Go figure. You have to roast the tomatillos and onion first in a hot 450 degree F. oven and then add everything to a pan to simmer until the veggies are soft. Leave out the cilantro from the simmer so the color stays bright green on it.

Green BBQ Sauce

Blend everything really well and you’re done. It has a tiny spice to it, but it’s not knock-your-socks-off spicy. SO GOOD.

Green BBQ Sauce

Okay, now for something completely different.

Purple BBQ Sauce

Purple BBQ Sauce

Purple BBQ Sauce

Just a moment please...

Yield
Makes about 3 cups.
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Purple BBQ sauce with lots of sweetness from blueberries!

Ingredients

2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
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Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a medium pot over medium heat. Simmer until fruit breaks down, about 10 minutes.
  2. Let sauce cool slightly and then blend until smooth.
  3. Refrigerate and use within 7-10 days.

This blueberry BBQ sauce is amazing. It’s sweet! But, not in a cloying way. Big surprise but both of my kids LOVED this one. They were dipping stuff in it like crazy.

Purple BBQ Sauce

Again, just simmer everything together for 10-15 minutes and then blend up the sauce.

This is gonna sound kind of crazy but I think this sauce would be very good on savory pancakes (corn cakes). Heard it here first.

Purple BBQ Sauce

The Full Spread

These are fun. Just look at the colors! It made me smile to make them and made me really smile to eat them.

Rainbow BBQ Sauce

All of the sauces will keep fine in the fridge for a week or two. The purple and green sauces will degrade first since they have a lot of fresh fruits and veggies. The red, orange, and yellow sauces would keep fine for a month honestly.

What’s your favorite color of the rainbow? Leave a comment!

Rainbow BBQ Sauce

3 comments on “Rainbow BBQ Sauce

  1. This year I decided to try growing tomatillos. Oh my gosh, I have so many tomatillos. I knew for sure I’d make your peach tomatillo salsa (I could live off that stuff) but I had no idea what else to do with my bumper crop. Bingo! Green BBQ sauce. Can’t wait until the tomatillos are ripe.

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