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Simple Cranberry BBQ Sauce Recipe with Orange

Tart, yet sweet. Zesty with a tang. It’s everything you love about barbecue sauce but with the bright flavors of seasonal winter fruit. This cranberry BBQ sauce pairs perfectly with your Thanksgiving or Christmas meats or any winter barbecue!

close up of cranberry bbq sauce in dish on marble slab with oranges and cranberries

My family decided we were going to serve picnic foods for Christmas this year. My mom asked if we could bring a main dish. As I was digging through my freezer, I found three briskets (we had a meat subscription box for a while–led to a great meat collection!) I knew that would be a great choice. 

We make our briskets with a cooler rest which would work perfectly with needing to travel to my parents’ house. It’s not many main dishes you can say taste better after a long car ride in a cooler! Brisket is probably one of the best meals to bring somewhere.

As I was thinking about how to make a brisket festive, I knew it had to be with the barbeque sauce. What’s more festive than a cranberry barbecue sauce? I’m a big fan of cranberry sauce, and BBQ sauce is a necessity for a brisket. Taking BBQ and giving it a deep cranberry flavor is pure heaven.

This delicious sauce incorporates fresh cranberries & oranges with the rich sweetness of honey and brown sugar. It’s the perfect condiment for your main dish meats this holiday season, and way better than any old canned jellied cranberry sauce!

Ingredients

To make this tangy cranberry BBQ sauce recipe, you need the following simple ingredients:

  • Fresh cranberries – Whole cranberries are plentiful during the winter season. We will cook these beautifully tart berries down as a great base for our sauce.
  • Oranges – We will use the zest and the juice from two medium oranges.
  • Honey & Brown Sugar – Honey is the perfect BBQ sauce sweetener if you ask me. Brown sugar adds a touch of molasses flavor.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – This adds tangy sweetness & depth to our sauce.
  • Tomato Paste & Ketchup – Tomato Paste and ketchup deepen the flavor and add even more acidity.
  • Dijon Mustard – Dijon is a great flavoring for a homemade BBQ sauce.
  • Salt, Black Pepper, and Cinnamon – These spices round out the flavors of our sauce.
cranberry bbq sauce ingredients on marble cutting board

BBQ Sauce Instructions

To make this deliciously festive condiment, follow the steps below:

zesting orange over stainless pot filled with cranberries

1. Boil Fruit

Start by rinsing the cranberries and oranges. Add the cranberries to a medium saucepan. Zest the outside of two oranges and add the orange zest to the saucepan. Quarter the oranges and squeeze the orange juice into the pot. Add the honey. Turn on the stove to medium heat and bring to a low boil to start cooking down the cranberries.

stainless pot on stove with all the bbq sauce ingredients added, not yet stirred

2. Add Remaining Ingredients

After the cranberries are soft enough to mush, turn the heat to low while you add the rest of the ingredients (brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, ketchup, salt, pepper, and cinnamon). Stir and bring the heat back up to medium. Cook on the stovetop until the sauce is reduced to the thickness you desire.

immersion blender in stainless pot of bbq sauce

3. Blend Sauce

Once the sauce has reached the desired thickness, turn off the heat. Use an immersion blender to blend it until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could use a regular blender or food processor, but be careful pouring the hot sauce.

pouring cranberry bbq sauce in jar

4. Chill & Store

Pour the cranberry BBQ sauce into an airtight container, such as a pint jar with a lid. Store in the refrigerator. This sauce is good for up to two weeks with proper refrigeration.

Tips & Variations

If you would like your sauce less sweet, you can omit the brown sugar. To bring out even more tang, add an additional tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. For a bit of heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper. 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of chili powder would also add a delightful smoky flavor.

Serving Suggestions

This would be the perfect sauce to serve with my Brisket for Christmas dinner, or my Traeger Spatchcocked Smoked Turkey recipe at your Thanksgiving table. Smothered over some leftover turkey sandwiches? Oh yes, that would be incredible.

It would also be an amazing sauce for appetizer crockpot meatballs using my Bison Meatballs recipe.

You’ll also love it with a smoked Chipotle-Orange Pork Loin!

This sauce would be an amazing dipping sauce for your child’s chicken nuggets! Or your chicken nuggets– I won’t judge. Nuggets are great.

bowl of bbq sauce with orange slices and brisket and cranberries

Nutritional Information

For 1/12 of the recipe (roughly 2 tbsp of sauce), the nutritional information is as follows:

  • Calories: 65
  • Protein: 0.3 g
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Carbs: 17.3 g
  • 0.6 g Fiber
  • 143 mg Sodium

Recipe Notes

This sauce will last up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Did You Make This Recipe?

Please leave a comment and review! It means the world!

close up of cranberry bbq sauce in dish on marble slab with oranges
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5 from 1 vote

Cranberry BBQ Sauce

This cranberry orange flavored barbeque sauce is perfect for your holiday table!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: barbecue sauce, cranberry bbq sauce, holiday bbq sauce, holidays, smoked meats
Servings: 12
Calories: 65kcal
Author: Holly Lee
Cost: $5

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Fresh Whole Cranberries
  • 2 medium Oranges
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 3 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon

Instructions

  • Start by rinsing the cranberries and oranges. Add the cranberries to a medium saucepan. Zest the outside of two oranges and add the orange zest to the saucepan. Quarter the oranges and squeeze the orange juice into the pot.
  • Add the honey to the pot of fruit. Turn on the stove to medium heat and bring to a low boil to start cooking down the cranberries.
  • After the cranberries are soft enough to mush, turn the heat to low while you add the rest of the ingredients (brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, ketchup, salt, pepper, and cinnamon). Stir and bring the heat back up to medium. Cook on the stovetop until the sauce is reduced to the thickness you desire.
  • Once the sauce has reached the desired thickness, turn off the heat. Use an immersion blender to blend it until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, you could use a regular blender or food processor, but be careful pouring the hot sauce.
  • Pour the cranberry BBQ sauce into an airtight container, such as a pint jar with a lid. Store in the refrigerator. This sauce is good for up to two weeks with proper refrigeration.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 65kcal

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