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Maple Chipotle BBQ Sauce

by Brad Prose

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Spicy, savory, sweet, and vibrant, this Maple Chipotle BBQ Sauce has it all. Marinate pork chops, slather it onto ribs, or dunk your wings. This mustard-based sauce is so versatile and packed with flavor, that the hardest choice will be deciding which way to transport it to your mouth.

This Maple Chipotle BBQ Sauce is a mustard-based sauce, fortified with vinegars, spices, and of course maple syrup with chopped chipotles. Tangy flavors and mustard are the first notes that hit the tongue, almost reminiscent of honey mustard. Suddenly that heat from the chipotle hits and you realize there’s much more to this sauce.

I’ve had a few variations of this sauce, which originally were not mustard based. This recipe drew inspiration from one of my favorite sauces, which is the Salt Lick Original BBQ Sauce. Their mustard sauce is emulsified with oil, creating this luscious sauce that has a body, but can still be slathered on anything during almost any part of the smoking process.

Check out my other sauce recipes if you’re looking to explore. The Spicy Buffalo BBQ Sauce is one of my favorites!

Why You’ll Love Maple Chipotle BBQ Sauce

  • Sweet heat. Maple and chipotle come together to form a nice smoky sauce, with just the right amount of sweetness and spice. It’s not too spicy for the sensitive, and definitely not too sweet for the savory types.
  • Versatile. You can marinate meats, use this for basting, or simply just dunk your food. The oil-based foundation allows it to be flexible, and the vinegars help tenderize meats along the way.
  • Pantry-friendly. Nothing exotic here, all of the ingredients are commonly used for barbecue which means there’s a good chance you’ll be able to whip this out in no time.
Maple chipotle bbq sauce is glazed onto the chicken drumsticks while on the smoker.

This savory, tangy sauce is well-rounded after having carefully selected the ingredients and testing. Most of the ingredients you will likely have on hand, especially if you’re the type that loves to make sauces and rubs at home.

Maple Chipotle BBQ Sauce Ingredients

  • Worchestershire sauce – Difficult to pronounce and big on flavor. This sauce not only bridges the maple and the chipotle flavors together, but it’s the salty foundation for flavor.
  • Apple cider vinegar – This tangy splash of acid brightens the dish with a little extra flavor.
  • White vinegar – More neutral in flavor, but essential for the vibrancy of this bbq sauce recipe.
  • Granulated garlic – The toasty flavors of garlic shine through, with a less pungent taste compared to the powder.
  • Ground cumin – Just a touch of this earthy flavor rounds out the sauce.
  • Fresh ground black pepper – Grinding it fresh brings out a stronger flavor, adding a nice aromatic note.
  • Brown sugar – Not only a sweetener but also a thickener, as it’s reduced in the saucepan.
  • Maple syrup – Use high-quality, natural syrup. All of the flavors will shine through.
  • Yellow mustard – Step aside ketchup, this orange sauce is built on the classic mustard.
  • Chipotles in adobo – Grab a can or jar, these are an incredible way to add smoky spice to any dish.
  • Canola Oil – This neutral oil brings the sauce together, added at the end to emulsify everything.
Served the smoked chicken drumsticks with a generous side of this mustard based bbq sauce.

How to make this sauce

Making this Maple Chipotle BBQ Sauce is pretty simple, but it does require a few steps which are unique for this sauce. You’ll need to use a saucepan for warming the ingredients, and a blender to bring it all together:

STEP 1: Dissolve the sugars

Grab your medium saucepan. Add all ingredients except for the mustard, chipotle, and oil into the saucepan and cook on medium heat until the liquid simmers and the sugars have dissolved. This should take about 5 minutes or so once it’s warm.

STEP 2: Blend with chiles and mustard

Pour the warm contents into a high-speed blender, along with the yellow mustard and fresh chipotles. Blend on high speed until the sauce looks smoother, and the chipotles have mostly been pureed.

STEP 3: Emulsify with oil

With the blender turned on, slowly stream the canola oil in. This will bring thickness to the sauce, emulsifying it with the vinegars to bind everything together.

Pouring in the oil to emulsify the mustard bbq sauce while the blender is on.

Important Tips

  • Make sure you slowly drizzle in the oil while the blender is rolling. This is absolutely key, causing the sauce to emulsify so it won’t separate. Results may vary if you try to dump the oil in and blend everything all at once.
  • After blending, the Maple Chipotle BBQ sauce will have lots of air bubbles. This isn’t an issue for flavor or storage, but you can get rid of these by pouring the sauce back into the saucepan and cooking it on low heat for a few minutes while gently stirring. The steam from warming it will get rid of the bubbles.
The BBQ sauce has a lot of air bubbles after blending.

BBQ Sauce Variations

Making homemade BBQ sauce has a huge advantage, which is being able to customize the profile. Read below for tips on how to adjust the flavor based on your preferences:

Make it sweeter: You can add more brown sugar, though I would actually recommend bumping up the maple syrup to give an added smoky flavor too.

Change the sweetener. Honey would be my top choice, but agave syrup will also be a nice touch. Just be aware that they have different sugar levels, so you’ll want to make sure to taste and adjust as needed.

Make it tangier: Add apple cider vinegar at the very end. A little goes a long way. Don’t forget to blend!

Change the spice level: Swap out the chiles. Any roasted chiles will work, though they won’t have the same smoky profile of chipotles. Grill or roast any green chiles such as jalapenos, Hatch, or poblanos and peel off the skin before adding into the blender.

Dunking the smoked chicken drumsticks in more Maple Chipotle BBQ sauce, because I love it.

How to Use This Sauce

The obvious use is to dip some delicious smoked chicken into copious amounts of Maple Chipotle BBQ sauce, but don’t limit yourself there. This unique vinegar and mustard-based sauce has tenderizing properties that should be considered.

  • Marinating – That’s right, the acid in this sauce is a great tenderizer. OIl-based sauces transfer the flavors to every inch of your food, making this an incredible marinade for grilling.
  • Basting – Did I mention this tenderizes meat? Mop it onto your smoked pork ribs, smoked chicken drumsticks, or even smoked beef back ribs for a nice finish.
  • Dunking – Whether you are tossing piles of chicken wings with this sauce, or smoked pork belly, the results are going to be absolutely delicious. Watch the sauce absorb into the warm meat, adding another layer of incredibly vibrant and spicy flavor.

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Smoked chicken drumstick is dunked in maple chipotle bbq sauce

Maple Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Spicy, savory, sweet, and vibrant, this Maple Chipotle BBQ Sauce has it all. Marinate pork chops, slather it onto ribs, or dunk your wings. This mustard-based sauce is so versatile and packed with flavor, that the hardest choice will be deciding which way to transport it to your mouth.

  • Total Time: 10
  • Yield: About 3 Cups 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/3 C worchestershire sauce
  • 1/3 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 C white vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon granulated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup chopped chipotles in adobo
  • 1 cup canola oil

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients except the mustard, chipotles and oil into a medium saucepan. Warm the contents on medium heat for a few minutes until the liquid is simmering and the sugars are dissolved. This should take about 5 minutes. Whisk as needed to stir everything together.
  2. Pour the warm contents into a blender with the yellow mustard and chipotle chiles. Blend to incorporate everything, making sure the chiles have been pureed.
  3. While the blender is still running, slowly pour in the oil through the lid to emulsify the sauce. The sauce will thicken and turn a yellow-orange color. Taste and adjust with salt if needed.
  4. The sauce will likely have air bubbles. You may add the sauce back to the saucepan and set the burner to low heat, which will get rid of the bubbles.
  5. Store the sauce in an airtight container. It will last for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

Notes

  • Make sure you slowly drizzle in the oil while the blender is rolling. This is absolutely key, causing the sauce to emulsify so it won’t separate. Results may vary if you try to dump the oil in and blend everything all at once.
  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Category: Sauces & Salsas
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: BBQ Sauce

Keywords: BBQ sauce, sauce, maple syrup, chipotle, BBQ, basting, marinade, marinating

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