BBQ Sauce With Cocoa and Molasses

Commercial BBQ sauces are often high in sugar, usually in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. This recipe balances the sweetness of caramelized onions, tomatoes, honey, and molasses with the earthiness of cocoa powder. This sauce is best made a day in advance to allow the flavors to meld.

A bowl of BBQ sauce

Makes 5 cups


  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbs. minced ginger
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup rice-wine vinegar
  • 4 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs. smoked Spanish paprika

Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, and add the onions and the salt. Caramelize the onions until golden brown, then add the ginger and jalapeño, and cook until tender. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until flavors are well blended, about 20 minutes.

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