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Sweet and Smoky BBQ Sauce with Vegan BBQ "Chicken" Patty

Sweet and Smoky BBQ Sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s Healthy Copycat)

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  • Author: Monkey and Me Kitchen Adventures
  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Total Time: 20 Minutes (+Rest)
  • Yield: 1.5 cups 1x
  • Category: Sauces
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


Rich, decadent, and oh-so-flavorful, this Sweet and Smoky BBQ Sauce is a healthy nod to the famous Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce.


  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1/3 to ½ cup organic maple syrup (+/-) *
  • 3 Tablespoons molasses
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice *
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke *
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari *

Spice/Herb Ingredients:

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon regular chili powder *
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt


  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) *
  • 2 Tablespoons water


  1. Place all the ingredients into a small sauce pot, whisk really well to incorporate all the ingredients, bring to a boil, then immediately lower to a low boil, simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Make a slurry by placing 2 teaspoons of cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) with 2 Tablespoons water, whisk to remove all the lumps, then add to the sauce. Increase the heat to boiling, stir, then lower heat to a low boil, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, allow to cool.


*Maple Syrup:  Our family had varying opinions on the amount of maple syrup to use.  The sweeter version (1/2 cup of maple syrup) leans more toward the Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce version and works really well with our Vegan BBQ “Chicken” Patty.  However, we also loved the 1/3 cup of maple syrup as it really allowed the tanginess to shine. We suggest you start with 1/3 cup and add more as you taste test the sauce after it has cooked for about 7 minutes. Add more if needed.

*Liquid Smoke:  We used Colgin Natural Hickory Liquid Smoke.

*Pineapple Juice:  We used the juice from a jar of Dole Pineapple Chunks 100% in Pineapple Juice. Then we used the pineapple chunks to make our Easy Pineapple Jalapeno Chutney with our Curry Burgers.

*Tamari: We used San J Tamari Soy Sauce, Gluten Free, Reduced Sodium.  You can substitute the tamari with reduced sodium soy sauce, Braggs Liquid Aminos, or Braggs Coconut Liquid Aminos.

*Chili Powder:  We used Penzeys Regular Chili Powder as it does not have heat to it, just great flavor. Feel free to use your favorite chili powder, just make sure it is a mild chili powder with no heat.

*Serving:  Makes approx. 1 ½ cups

*Storage:  Refrigerate, use within 7 days.