A Moroccan Honey BBQ Sauce is the barbeque sauce you didn’t know you needed. Sweet, spicy, tangy, and sticky, this sauce is perfect for a summer cookout.
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I don’t know about all of you guys, but whenever I go to a BBQ one of the things I look forward to the most is the grilled meat, whatever it is! And what makes it for me is the sauce.
If you are going to have sauce at a summer cookout, it better be rockin’! The bbq sauce keeps the meat moist but it also really transforms the whole meal. I love me a good BBQ sauce.
Now in my humble opinion and personal preference, this homemade Moroccan honey bbq sauce is the for those who like sweet or spicy sauces. With Moroccan inspiration, this sauce has plenty of sweetness from the honey and lots of different spices, making this from scratch bbq sauce perfect for your next BBQ.
Developing Moroccan Honey BBQ Sauce Recipe
I came into possession of an amazing Moroccan Honey BBQ Sauce recipe years ago, developed by Charlie Trotter. His original recipe has a great depth of flavor and lends a unique taste from the different spices than you would normally get from a traditional BBQ sauce.
However, as I reviewed the recipe before making a batch, I realized that maybe there were some ingredients that wouldn’t be as readily available to home cooks or would be too expensive to justify the cost for just a BBQ sauce.
I consulted my nifty Flavor Bible and opened to Moroccan Cuisine and saw what ingredients are commonly used in Moroccan cooking. I happened to have quite a few substitute flavors in my spice cupboard that were: more readily available for the home cook AND more cost effective than what was in his original recipe.
With the substitutions in the recipe that I made, I feel like I was able to stay true to the flavor and essence of Morocco without lots of extra time, money, or effort.
How to Make Moroccan Honey BBQ Sauce From Scratch
If you were to make a side by side comparison of Charlie Trotters original version of this recipe and my version, you would find some slight differences:
- Distilled vinegar for rice wine vinegar
- Ground cumin for coriander seeds
- Ground cloves for whole cloves
- Minced garlic and chile de arbol for garlic chile paste
- Nutmeg for mace
- Dried cilantro for fresh cilantro
- Preserved lemons for lime juice
- Addition of paprika
- No star anise
- No ground cardamom
My whole goal in adapting this recipe was to make it a bit more home cook friendly. I cut out expensive or harder to find ingredients for those that more attainable.
I love that the major part of this sauce is honey. It’s a great way to add some much-needed sweetness to the sauce and helping with its delicious stickiness once the meat has been grilled with it.
Since there are a few ingredients in this homemade honey bbq sauce that aren’t palatable, I found to tie the aromatics like black peppercorn, cinnamon sticks, chile de arbol, and bay leaves, in a cheesecloth for easy removal after the sauce is done cooking.
I wanted to leave the ginger, garlic and preserved lemon in the sauce to give texture.
If you just want just a smooth sauce with no fun additives in there, then I would suggest either putting everything that isn’t liquid in a cheesecloth OR strain the sauce after it’s done reducing. You’ll get maximum flavor either way but it’s just a matter of preference and application of the sauce.
Preserved Lemons in Moroccan Honey BBQ Sauce
Now you may be looking at the recipe and wondering HOW the heck do I make preserved lemons?! It’s truly, truly simple!
The short and simple explanation of how to make preserved lemons is: mix together equal amounts of sugar and salt with whole cut lemons and allow to macerate for about a month in an airtight container. I have a whole post about how to make preserved lemons here.
Using preserved lemons in this honey bbq sauce recipe really gives it that Moroccan flair. It’s lemons leveled-up game as far as flavor and texture are concerned.
I understand, though if you are in a pinch and need to make this sauce in less than a month. I have two suggestions for you.
- Buy some already made preserved lemons here and have it in a few days.
- Peel a lemon with a vegetable peeler and add to the sauce ingredients. Discard after the sauce is made!
Is Moroccan Honey BBQ Sauce Gluten Free
Unfortunately, no. Soy sauce contains MSG, which has gluten. You could definitely feel free to swap out the soy sauce and use Worcestershire sauce (I would definitely do half of the amount) and add some salt.
What Is This Moroccan Honey BBQ Sauce Recipe Good For
You have this awesome sauce at your disposal, now what do you pair it with??? Luckily I have some suggestions for you
- Chicken and chicken wings
- Pork Tenderloin
- Lamb ribs
When grilling the pork tenderloin and lamb ribs with this homemade honey bbq sauce, I decided to give the meat a headstart by sous viding them first before throwing them on the grill. That way, the meat is completely done and all you have to do is put some delicious grill marks on the meat!
Can You Use This Homemade BBQ Sauce As a Marinade
YES! YES! YES!!!!!!
Ok, I might have gotten a bit carried away there but marinating your meat in the bbq sauce you want to baste with is a fantastic way to get amazing flavor started right away!
Now make this sauce and thank me later! Bring this to your next BBQ or day at the beach to impress all of your friends with your unique and incredible BBQ sauce.
Happy eating everyone!
Enjoy this tasty recipe with some of these other Summer Recipes:
See more Salad Recipes to enjoy this summer.
Enjoy your after-BBQ dinner with some of these desserts:
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- 2 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup distilled vinegar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 each cinnamon sticks
- 3 each garlic cloves, minced
- 3 each chile de arbol
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons dried cilantro
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorn
- 1/4 cup preserved lemon, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 each bay leaf
- Using cheesecloth, gather the chiles, bay leaves, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks and tie into a little bag using butchers twine.
- Combine in a medium sized pot with the remainder of ingredients and bring up to a boil over medium high heat.
- Reduce heat to medium low and let sauce reduce until it reaches a syrupy-like consistency, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely before storing
- If you wanted to opt for fresh cilantro in this recipe, I would substitute the 2 tablespoons for about a ½ bunch of cilantro and discard after the sauce is done.
- This recipe will keep for about a week in the fridge.
- Here is the link to my preserved lemons recipe that can be used for this bbq sauce recipe
Casablanca Market Preserved Lemons, 200 Grams
Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel Cookware, Sauce Pan, 1 1/2-quart
Regency Natural Ultra Fine Cheesecloth for Straining, Basting, and Making Kombucha, Cheese and Nut Milk, 9 sq. ft
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Nutrition InformationYield 40 Serving Size 2 tbsp
Amount Per ServingCalories 77 Total Fat 0g Saturated Fat 0g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 0g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 248mg Carbohydrates 20g Fiber 0g Sugar 19g Protein 1g