16 May 2013

It's time again for the Improv Challenge.  The premise of the Improv Challenge is easy: each month there are two assigned ingredients.  The participants must make a recipe using both ingredients and blog about it. 

The assigned ingredients this month were cinnamon and sugar.  Hmm.  Cinnamon and sugar.  Of course, I wanted to think beyond baked goods with this challenge.  I tried to come up with something savory that contained cinnamon and sugar, but it wasn't easy.  I scanned my Pinterest boards for inspiration, and finally came upon a pin for this recipe on Coconut and Lime.  It's a homemade barbecue sauce.  I have made homemade barbecue sauce before: a basic one, and then last year I made Mango Barbecue Sauce for the Eating the Alphabet challenge.  This one is really interesting because it doesn't use a tomato product as the base.  But you would never know it.  The base is apple butter.  

Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
½ large onion, diced
1½ cups apple butter
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp garlic powder
1-2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
1 tsp mesquite liquid smoke
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp hot sauce 

Heat oil in a saucepan.  Sauté onion until it begins to soften.  Add remaining ingredients.  Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.  You can use it as it is now, or you can simmer it on the lowest setting until heated through and thickened slightly. Allow to cool.

Refrigerate leftovers.

Makes about 2 cups.

 Of course, how it turns out depends largely on the apple butter you use.  I had never made apple butter before, so I bought some at the store.  I only had time to hit the regular grocery store, so I ended up with Musselman's.  If I had more time that day, I would have gone to the Cheese Castle, because they have an awesome selection of specialty jams, jellies, and all kinds of condiments.  I bet they would have some really good apple butter there.  But it was just fine with the Musselman's.  I put 1-2 tbsp of brown sugar in the recipe because how much you need will depend on how sweet your apple butter is.  The Musselman's is pretty sweet.  I used 2 tbsp, and it did turn out pretty sweet, but that's okay because that's how my husband likes it.  I did add a tiny bit of hot sauce to counter the sweetness.  I used Clancy's Fancy, which I got in my Taste of Michigan swag bag.  It was perfect for this because it's really smoky-tasting.

I thought the best way to try this barbecue sauce out was on some grilled chicken. 

 It was fabulous.  I served it with my Foil Pack Potatoes and some corn.

This is really good barbecue sauce!  The apple and cinnamon make for a very interesting flavor that is perfect for chicken or pork.

Homemade barbecue sauce is so easy to make and it really adds a nice touch to your summer grilling.

Check out all the other cinnamon and sugar recipes below and come back next month to see what I make with fish and chips.  Oh boy!

Tagged: , , , ,


  1. Fabulous use of cinnamon and sugar, Lesa =) And I can see how the sauce is perfect for pork or chicken. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  2. OMG....that looks so seriously good! I don't need to put it on anything ....but my finger! : )

  3. Wow - this is so clever, Lesa! Love the combo of sweet, tangy, smokey - definitely want to try this on grille chicken this summer.

  4. I love that you came up with something savory using cinnamon and sugar! This looks like a great sauce to have on hand now that it's bbqing season!

  5. ack, Lesa! I've got a pork tenderloin that is absolutely crying out for this sauce! I'm out the door to find applebutter at the market...

  6. I love that you went as savory as possible with this. I make apple butter every year and then wonder what to do with it all. Now I know I'm turning at least a jar of it into this bbq sauce.

  7. You did it! I was hoping to see a savory dish this month and you didn't disappoint. That sauce sounds amazing.

  8. I can't wait to try this! I love homemade BBQ sauce and this sounds so delish! Perfect choice for the challenge.

  9. Love the idea of incorporating apple flavor into barbecue sauce- definitely going to try this soon!

  10. Great recipe! And just in time for BBQ season.

  11. This sounds great. Your pictures made my mouth water. Must try this.
    Love this Improv Challenge!

    Wishing you tasty dishes,

    Tumbleweed Contessa

  12. What a perfect way to put the cinnamon and sugar to use! This would be great on so many different things. I didn't even try to think of anything savory, but I'm putting my thinking cap on now to figure out how to "sweeten" up the fish and chips. :)

  13. Mmm! This sounds delicious! I love that you went a different route than the usual baked good. :)

  14. I love the sound of this sauce. I'm very much a sauce person - the more the better :)

  15. What a great BBQ sauce! I love that the base is apple butter...how yummy! Perfect on your chicken :)

  16. Yum - looks delicious. You really should give making apple butter a try. Just keep cooking your applesauce until it thickens to a brown color and minimal liquid seeps out when placed on a plate.

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