Smoked Cranberry BBQ Sauce

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Cranberry sauce is a must-have Thanksgiving side dish. While many people like bottled cranberry sauce, I prefer homemade cranberry sauce. This dish is acidic, sweet, and packed with seasonal flavor.

You may prepare homemade cranberry sauce in the oven, slow cooker, or on the stovetop, but my favorite method is to smoke it.

You can use the oven for other things, but it also provides a great layer of smokey flavor that really elevates the meal.For starters, it frees up room in your kitchen.

How to make Smokey Cranberry BBQ Sauce

Smoked Cranberry BBQ Sauce

1. Prep your ingredients

This dish could not be simpler to prepare. You just need five ingredients.

  1. Cranberries You cant beat fresh
  2. Orange juice
  3. Lemon juice
  4. Brown sugar
  5. Water

I prefer to use light brown sugar for the sugar. Some individuals prefer maple syrup, while others prefer white sugar or a blend of white and brown sugar. The sweetness from the brown sugar is ideal for this dish, in my opinion.

I suggest freshly squeezing the juice from your fruit. Although you may use store-bought orange and lemon juice, there is something special about freshly squeezed citrus juice.

I normally make a bigger batch with two bags of cranberries. If you’re just feeding a few people, simply reduce all of the ingredients in half and the dish will still turn out perfectly!

2.  Put it together

For this recipe, I prefer to use a disposable metal tray, particularly because it is a Thanksgiving meal. You’ll already have a mound of dishes to deal with after dinner, so I like to spare myself a little more effort by using a disposable tray, but it’s all up to you!

Squeeze the orange and lemon juices over the top and pour in the water.

Sprinkle the brown sugar all over the top.

Give it a good stir to make sure all of the cranberries are covered, and it’s ready to go on the smoker.

3. Fire up your smoker

Heat your smoker to 300F.

For this dish, I used my Camp Chef Woodwind 24, but you could also use a pellet smoker, a classic wood-burning pit, or even a gas grill if that’s what you have.

I chose Bear Mountain BBQ Pellets in Pecan flavor since I wanted a lighter profile wood that wouldn’t overshadow the meal with smoke. Pecan, apple, and cherry are all excellent choices.

Place the metal tray on the grates of your smoker after it has reached temperature and cook for 3 to 4 hours.

When the cranberries begin to burst and the liquid begins to thicken, it is ready to serve!

Simply simmer it for a little longer if you want a richer cranberry sauce.

If you like a thinner cranberry sauce, err on the side of caution and keep the cooking time closer to 3 hours. After the 3-hour mark, check on it every 30 minutes or so until it gets the required consistency.

4. Serving

Homemade cranberry sauce may be served hot or cold, depending on personal choice.

If you want to serve it cold, move it to a serving dish, cover it, and refrigerate it for two hours or up to four days.

Other options to liven up your smoked cranberry sauce

Smoked Cranberry BBQ Sauce

This recipe is for a really simple cranberry sauce, which makes it a fantastic blank canvas for your imagination!

There are many methods to add a bit additional flavor to the dish:

  • For a fuller taste, replace one cup of the water with one cup of bourbon.
  • For a citrus boost, add 2 teaspoons lemon zest.
  • For a sweeter version of the dish, add 2 tablespoons maple syrup.
  • Add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg for an additional seasonal spice taste.
  • Add some chopped pecans for additional crunch and texture.
  • For more sweetness and a smoother taste profile, add a spoonful of vanilla extract.

What to serve with smoked cranberry sauce?

Serve your homemade cranberry sauce with your favorite Thanksgiving meals, of course!

Here are a couple of our recipes to help you finish your Thanksgiving meal:

  • Smoked Turkey Legs
  • Smoked Spatchcock Turkey
  • Cranberry Walnut Pasta Salad
  • Celery and Parmesan Salad
  • Smoked Sausage Stuffing

More barbecue sauce ideas

  • Regional bbq sauce recipes
  • Creamy Hot Sauce
  • Pomegranate Sauce: Perfect On Grilled Meat


Can I smoke my BBQ sauce?

Fill a foil lasagna pan halfway with the sauce. Place the pan in the smoker for 3 hours to smoke the sauce. After each hour in the smoker, stir the sauce. Allow the sauce to return to room temperature after smoking.

Do you put BBQ sauce on before smoking?

Some people assume that while smoking ribs, the barbecue sauce is added at the beginning of the smoking process; however, this is not the case. Barbecue sauce is ideally added at the conclusion of the cooking process, when the ribs are soft.

How to jazz up cranberry sauce?

A teaspoon or two of fresh lemon or orange zest, a tablespoon of chopped candied peel, or even a splash of juice can enhance tastes and add some handmade flavor to your bottled sauce.

What is secret BBQ sauce?


FLAVOUR PROFILE: A sweet and tangy BBQ sauce made by combining the flavors of the acidic tamarind fruit, which has been a mainstay in Mexican cuisine for hundreds of years, spicy cardamom, and the warm zest of ginger.

Can you smoke sauce in a smoker?

The consequences of smoking the sauce may vary, but both will add smokiness. So, employing a smoker to add smoky taste in a beverage is possible.

Can I use my BBQ to smoke?

Any meat may be smoked, but pig belly, ribs, shoulder, and jowl work exceptionally nicely. Place your meat on the side of the grill opposite the hot embers. Close the top and leave a vent on the side where your meat is cooking open to generate a convection current of smoke around the meat.

Can you put BBQ sauce on meat while smoking?

When Smoking, Use Barbecue Sauce

You don’t have to worry about the sauce burning and destroying your meal since smoking is normally done at much lower temperatures than grilling. You may see some caramelization of the sugar, which may intensify the longer it is left on, but it will not burn and create any serious issues.

Do you put BBQ sauce on ribs before or after smoking?

During the last 20-30 minutes of cooking, brush your ribs with barbecue sauce. Remember not to drown your ribs when brushing on sauce.

How do you prepare a BBQ for smoking?

Configure two temperature probes. To keep your grill stable at 225°F, you’re going to have to keep an eye on the temperature.
Light a Chimney Starter using Charcoal.
After opening the intake and chimney baffles, add lit coals.
Keep your body temperature stable.
To add taste, add wood bits.
Make the smoke moist.
Give it some time.

What takes the bitterness out of cranberry sauce?

If your cranberry sauce turns out to be too bitter, don’t add sugar. Granulated sugar may aggravate the condition, particularly if you don’t have time to reheat the sauce so the sugar dissolves properly. Instead, go for maple syrup as a sweetener.

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