I’m pretty sure I’ve been eating (and loving) BBQ since I was born. Or very close to it. I went through a phase in high school where I always got a side of BBQ sauce to go with my fries (ketchup be damned), and you know what? I still support that. But the Instant Pot Dark Cherry BBQ Sauce recipe I’m bringing you today isn’t your fast-food chain BBQ sauce. With crazy amounts of flavor and no sugar, you’re going to love this tangy (and kinda kick-y) variation on your favorite sauce.
Instant Pot Dark Cherry BBQ Sauce
But first, a sidenote: I had an internal debate over whether to call this BBQ sauce or barbecue sauce. BBQ sauce won, basically because it has fewer letters and is therefore less likely to contribute to my future carpal tunnel syndrome. So there ya go. BBQ sauce it is.
Is BBQ sauce easy to make?
Yes. This recipe is crazy easy, it’s mostly just dumping things into your Instant Pot. There is some sautéing involved, but again – easy peasy.
What ingredients are in BBQ sauce?
Most BBQ sauce recipes include ketchup, brown sugar, and/or molasses. This recipe doesn’t include any of those popular ingredients, which means it doesn’t taste exactly like a traditional BBQ sauce.
Is there a sugar-free BBQ sauce?
This BBQ sauce is sweetened with natural sugars (cherries and maple syrup). It doesn’t include any added sugars. You could probably even leave the maple syrup out, but in my (very sensitive to anything even a little bit spicy) opinion, I think the maple gives it a little sweetness that really adds to the flavor profile. Honey also works!
Can I make BBQ sauce in my Instant Pot?
Yep! I’m going to show you how. And this recipe is a great one for IP newbies…it’s really hard to mess this one up!
I love using an immersion blender for this recipe. You could also blend it in a blender or food processor, but I think immersion blenders are so handy. Here’s an inexpensive one on Amazon that is also very highly rated (these are a game changer!).
There are so many ways to use this BBQ sauce. Here are a couple of my favorites:
- BBQ Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps
- BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza
Here are a few notes about this recipe:
If you don’t like it spicy, use diced tomatoes without green chilies and reduce the ginger by half.
You can substitute the maple syrup for honey.
Plan on making this a couple of days before you need it. You can use it immediately, but the flavors really develop if it has a day or two to sit (in the fridge, of course).
This recipe is made with a 6qt Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Dark Cherry BBQ Sauce
- Pressure Cooker
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot medium, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 1/2 c dark cherries frozen
- 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp ginger fresh, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp rosemary fresh, finely chopped
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 2 tsp liquid smoke OPTIONAL
- READ THIS BEFORE YOU MAKE IT: This recipe was made using a 6qt Instant Pot. If your pot is larger, you'll need to adjust accordingly. Also, altitude can affect your cook time.
- Add olive oil the the Instant Pot and select the sauté function on the high temperature setting (if that applies to your pressure cooker). Add shallot and garlic and sauté until soft and slightly golden, about 3-4 minutes.
- Turn Instant Pot off and add remaining ingredients, including the liquid from the tomatoes and the liquid smoke (if you're using it). Stir to combine and season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
- Add lid and lock into place. Make sure the valve is set to the "seal" position. Set the "manual" setting to high for 10 minutes (if you don't have a setting for high, just turn on manual). The Instant Pot will start building pressure. This might take around 10 minutes.
- When finished cooking, do a "quick release" of the pressure. Let all the pressure release before removing the lid.
- Let the sauce cool a bit and then carefully transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Alternately, you could use an immersion blender.
- Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for 7-10 days.
I hope you love this break from the BBQ norm as much as we do. The crisp, bright flavors of it all really makes my tastebuds happy. And of course I LOVE that it doesn’t include a bunch of added sugar.