A sweet, smoky, medium heat barbecue sauce recipe using apricot jam. A perfect versatile sauce you can use on chicken wings, pork ribs, smoked ham, and more!
If you’ve been bit by the backyard BBQ bug as much as I have, then after you’ve mastered recipes like smoked pork loin, smoked pork shoulder, and slow smoked 3-2-1 ribs, branch out and begin making your own rubs and sauces too!
While there are a ton of amazing sauces on the market these days, I find that creating a simple recipe for homemade BBQ sauce is easy, fast, and often times better than what you find on the grocery store shelves.
Making a homemade sauce allows you to control the ingredients you add, the sweetness level, and the vinegar level too.
This recipe for apricot barbecue sauce uses delicious apricot preserves as the base which allows for minimal processed sugars to be added, yet still has a nice tang to the overall flavor profile.
It’s definitely going on my rotation of favorite homemade sauces and was absolutely KILLER on my double smoked ham recipe I make on the Big Green Egg.
Grab all the recipe details by reading through this article. I’ve included helpful cooking tips and recipe substitutions as well below.
Ready to get cooking? Jump to the recipe and dive in!
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Medium Saucepan
- Jar (for storing)
Use the outlined information below to help guide you through the recipe. Enjoy!
Homemade Apricot BBQ Sauce Ingredients:
- Apricot Jam: Find a jar of apricot jam or preserves. I used one that had no sugar added to control the sweetness level (regular jams are find as well if you like a sweet BBQ sauce).
- Ketchup: I also used a lower sugar ketchup for this recipe but tomato paste or tomato sauce would work well in a pinch. You may have to add water to thin out the concentrated paste however.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: This creates acidity and helps add that classic tang you find in traditional BBQ sauce.
- Brown Sugar: The molasses in brown sugar pairs nicely in this BBQ sauce, but maple syrup would be a good substitute. If you’d like a lower carb option try Sukrin Gold or my keto simple syrup recipe too.
- Honey: Honey helps add that nice shiny, glossy color you love with a classic sauce.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Adds a nice umami base to the sauce.
- BBQ Spice Blend: I used garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and a lot of smoked paprika. Avoid using liquid smoke if possible (most BBQ enthusiasts are not fans of the stuff).
- Salt & Black Pepper
Can I use fresh apricots for this recipe?
If you find yourself with an abundance of apricots, then you may decide to use fresh here. However, this will definitely make this recipe a little longer and a little more complicated to start.
To keep things easy and simple, I would recommend avoiding using fresh fruit only.
Instead, amplify the sauce with the whole apricot pieces by cooking them down and mashing them into you sauce with a potato masher, food processor, or immersion blender.
How to make your sauce:
This is an incredibly simple recipe. Start by combining your spices into a small bowl, mix them, and set this aside.
Over medium-high heat, take your large pot or saucepan and place it over the burner and add in the jam, ketchup, brown sugar, honey, and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk this all until combined.
Add in your spices and allow the mixture to simmer slightly, reduce the heat and continue to stir so the sugars in the sauce do not burn. Taste your apricot sauce once it is fully heated through and adjust flavors.
You may opt to add in a little more sugar or honey, maybe a pinch of salt. If you’d like a spicy sauce you can also try adding in some red pepper flakes if desired.
Remove the pot from the heat fully and set it aside on a cooler burner. Allow the mixture to come up to room temperature before placing in a jar or other airtight container.
What does this sauce pair best with?
Poultry, pork, and salmon will be the best pairings with this sauce. Here are some of my favorite recipes you might like to try-
- Smoked Chicken Thighs
- Oven Baked BBQ Chicken
- Smoked Pork Loin
- Hot and Fast Baby Back Ribs
- Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings
- Smoked Ham
- Air Fried Pork Belly
If you love this sauce recipe or would like to provide feedback, please leave a rating and comment below to help other readers with this recipe and to share your experiences.
Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe
- 1/2 cup Apricot Jam Use no sugar added to control sweetness level
- 1 cup Ketchup
- 1/4 cup Honey
- 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- In a small bowl, combine all your dried spices together and mix well.
- Next, place medium saucepan or pot on the stove and add all of your ingredients to the pot. Bring to medium-high heat and stir to combine everything.
- To the apricot BBQ sauce mixture, add your spices and mix well to combine.
- Reduce your heat to low and stir occasionally. Taste your BBQ sauce and adjust sweetness or spice level to your desired preference.
- Remove your apricot BBQ sauce from the heat and set it aside to cool to room temperature. Place in an airtight container or jar and store in the fridge.
- Serve over your favorite chicken and pork recipes! Sauce is good for up to 7 days.