Memorial Day Strawberry BBQ Sauce

It is a rare thing that I would make a bbq sauce using local, short-season Tennessee strawberries for a recipe such as this, really it is a rare thing for me to make any bbq sauce….. But, truthfully I bought too many strawberries from the Farmers Market…if that is possible…and a pint or two got over-ripe before we realized it. Shame on me…quickly I forgave myself and whipped up a batch of sauce for slathering on ribs or chicken, pork chops or wings in celebration of Memorial Day weekend. This holiday is the first yes-we-are vaccinated and yes-we-can be together to celebrate and it seems important to make some classic food for summer.

I must admit that the recipe for this bbq sauce is more of a add-and-taste-adjust-add-and-taste until you have it how you like your bbq sauce to be. I will give you the basics and the rest really will be up to you. It’s hard to go wrong as long as you tweak your way to the result you prefer. As you probably know, bbq sauces are as varied as each person who makes one, and no two homemade sauces are ever alike.

Hot, bubbly and thickened….

This Strawberry BBQ Sauce has all the right stuff…it is not cloyingly sweet, it is tangy with vinegar and lemon juice and spicy with hot sauces. Everything cooked down slowly to allow the flavors of the ingredients to meld. Once you toss all the ingredients in the pot to cook…your work it done…just let it simmer.

Serve with a simple coleslaw, extra sauce on the side…. whatever are your favorite sides….and a cold beer of course!

Please have a safe and cozy Memorial Day Weekend.


  • 3 pints “almost-too-ripe” Strawberries, capped and pureed in a blender or processor
  • 1/2 cup fruit vinegar such as apple, or any other
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chipotle hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Add all the ingredients to a non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low to simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir often, taste sauce, adjust and continue cooking. When sauce has thickened, remove from heat, let cool and put in glass jars with lids. Chill until ready to use.

Other ideas:

If you like a hotter sauce, then add some chopped hot peppers, crushed dried red peppers, or a wee bit of habanero salsa.

If you like it sweeter and thicker add more brown sugar or honey…maybe some molasses.

A splash of balsamic or rice wine vinegar might be something you would like. Or some ketchup?

Make it how you and your family like it…just start out with some very ripe, local berries from wherever you live.

Blood Orange & Bourbon Chipotle BBQ Roasted Chicken


I know it is citrus season when Blood Orange beauties start appearing in my supermarket…..along with Pomelos, Cara-Cara Oranges, Little Cuties, Tangerines, Grapefruit…..all packed full of Vitamin C for the dark days of Winter.

My citrus love affair continues in this post. I have been making salads with Pomelo,         upside-down cakes with grapefruit, chocolates studded with candied orange peel, citrus salad dressings and today a deep-red-brown Blood Orange BBQ sauce laced with Bourbon and Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce for the heat.


Not a heavy, ketchup based BBQ sauce but rather a lighter, more liquid sauce brushed on chicken before and during the roasting process. The results? Crisp skin, moist meat and lots of good sopping juices in the bottom of the pan.


Lordy mercy that color is just stunning! .


Cooked down to thicken before brushing over the chicken.


Any chicken will do…whole, fryer pieces, leg quarters or bone-in legs and thighs. I purchased the chicken I used here through my CSA “Fresh Harvest” (Nashville area). Organic all the way.  I believe this BBQ sauce would be equally delicious on pork.


Blood Orange and Bourbon Chipotle BBQ Roasted Chicken


Ingredients for BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 cup blood orange juice
  • zest of one blood orange
  • 2-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped (with some sauce)
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or honey
  • sea salt & black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bourbon whiskey
  • 2 Tbsp butter

Directions for BBQ Sauce:

  1. Put all in ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes until somewhat reduced. Stir often. Remove from heat and let cool. This BBQ sauce will keep chilled for up to 2 weeks.

Ingredients for Roasted Chicken:

2 to 3 chicken pieces for each person – 8 to 12 pieces or the equivalent as in chicken quarters or cut-up fryer pieces

Directions for BBQ Roasted Chicken:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Rinse chicken pieces (leg quarters, half chickens, legs, thighs, cut up fryer pieces) and pat dry.
  3. Place chicken pieces, skin side up, in a shallow baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Brush chicken pieces with BBQ sauce. Sauce is not thick so apply a few coats. Place in oven and roast for 45 minutes, basting with BBQ sauce every 15 minutes. Chicken will be crusty on the outside and juicy on the inside. Chicken juices should run clear. Serve chicken with good crusty bread for sopping pan juices and a side of cole slaw or rice.

Teresa Blackburn