Grandma’s Non-Smoky Homemade BBQ Sauce and Grilled Chicken

Grandma’s Non-Smoky Homemade BBQ Sauce is the crazy easy grilling marinade that you won’t be able to stop eating this summer. This is a total crowd-pleaser!

Grandma's Non-Smoky Homemade BBQ Sauce is the crazy easy grilling marinade that you won't be able to stop eating this summer. This is a total crowd-pleaser!

Grandma’s Non-Smoky Homemade BBQ Sauce

bbq chicken

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Do you know that for a long time this was the only thing I knew as BBQ sauce? I know. But if I’m being honest, I’m not even a tiny bit sad about it. I have very fond memories of my mom whipping this up during the summer and all of us loving dipping our chicken in it (and sometimes even our potatoes!).

This homemade bbq sauce recipe has the added bonus of also being a BBQ chicken recipe.So I’ll be showing you how to make BBQ chicken on the grill in addition to how to the bbq sauce recipe. Bonus!

Now one complaint my husband often has about many of the BBQ sauce options out there, is that most of them are too smoky for his taste. This sauce is the perfect, easy option if you have friends or family that aren’t into that smoky flavor. It’s still got the delicious tang along with the bit of sweetness we all love in our BBQ sauces. It’s crazy easy to and totally quick to make. And you could totally double it for a crowd (or even triple it!).

bbq sauce recipe

Frequently asked questions about this BBQ chicken marinade

  • What kind of chicken pieces are best to use? Honestly, all the pieces work great, it really comes down to your own personal taste. I’ve featured boneless, skinless chicken breasts for the photos but that’s only because it won in the poll I had over on my Instagram stories (which you should totally follow because I do a lot of polls about what kinds recipes you want while also sharing all of our family’s shenanigans!). Our house is split right down the middle- I’m Team BBQ Chicken Thighs while J stands firm in his love for BBQ Chicken Breast.
  • What if I forget to marinate the chicken well in advance? Don’t worry I’d encourage you to marinate it for a couple hours at most, but even just marinating the chicken for 15 minutes while you prep the rest of your meal and heat the grill.
  • Can I use a different meat outside of chicken? Of course- the world is your oyster! This sauce is tasty on just about any meat you’re working with!
  • Can I make the sauce in advance? Totally! I actually made it the morning before I cooked it up for these photos, but it will last up to a week in the fridge.
  • Can I reuse the marinade that the raw chicken was sitting in? Never reuse marinade that raw meat has been sitting in as it can contain bacteria which can make you very sick. The only exception is that you can boil it well for at least 3 minutes. But honestly, there will be plenty of sauce leftover, even if you don’t double the recipe. Also, this tends to make a thicker sauce, especially if you puree it like I did. Throw out the leftover sauce from the marinade. After you make the sauce, put a cup of it on your raw meat, put a small portion aside for basting and then warm the rest to serve with the cooked meat.
  • I prefer a chunkier sauce, can I skip the pureeing step? Absolutely! The original sauce was served with the chunks of onions and peppers left intact. The pureeing step was really just my own addition based on my family’s personal preferences.

homemade bbq sauce

Helpful tools:

  1. Wooden spoon
  2. Saucepan
  3. Instant Read Thermometer
  4. Grill tongs
  5. Chef’s knife
  6. Cutting board
  7. Silicone brush

bbq sauce

Grandma's Non-Smoky Homemade BBQ Sauce
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Inactive time
30 mins
Total Time
55 mins

Grandma's Non-Smoky Homemade BBQ Sauce is the crazy easy grilling marinade that you won't be able to stop eating this summer. This is a total crowd-pleaser!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Homemade BBQ Sauce
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Eve Repp
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, minced
  • 1 cup green peppers, minced
  • 1 28 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard, or to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 4-5 chicken breasts (or whichever meat you'd like)
  1. Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high heat.

  2. Add onions and peppers and saute until softened, about 7-10 minutes.

  3. Add sauce, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, salt and pepper.

  4. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring periodically.

  5. Use blender or food processor to blend sauce until smooth (optional). Refrigerate until you're ready to use.

  6. Marinate chicken for up to a few hours in one cup of the sauce (reserve a small portion of remaining sauce for basting during grilling and save the rest for dipping later).

  7. When you're ready to cook, preheat the grill to medium high. Place the chicken on the grill and dispose of the marinade.

  8. Cook each piece of chicken for around 5-7 minutes per side, brushing the cooked sides of the chicken with reserved sauce (this will vary based on the thickness of your meat). 

  9. Rest for 5-10 minutes and serve immediately with reserved dipping sauce.

Recipe Notes

The sauce ingredients are meant to be to taste. Taste the sauce as it cooks and add more of whatever you feel is needed.

If you tried this recipe please comment and rate it 🙂 I love hearing your feedback and answering your questions!

Looking for some other easy sauce recipes?

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  • Reply
    June 19, 2018 at 8:48 am Made this twice now. It’s so good!!! Looking forward to more sauce recipes.
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      June 19, 2018 at 10:26 pm Love this- thanks for sharing and I'm so glad you enjoyed it :)

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