Berry Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Sauces are one of the great ways to create a bridge and connect a wine with food. So, if you favor chicken over red meat, this barbecue sauce is a great way to make that bird pair with a red wine! It’s also great with most anything off the grill.

Until I began working at a winery, I had never heard of tayberries. My first encounter was when the winemaker had used “notes of tayberry” as a descriptor in his tasting notes for a Syrah. “Seriously?” I thought, “Who the heck is going to know what a tayberry is?” Doing a little Googling, I learned that it is a cross between a red raspberry and a blackberry. Then I saw them available at my neighborhood farmers market. Eager to experience the taste of the tayberry for myself, I had to purchase some! The color of dark raspberries, but more similar in size and shape to blackberries, these sweet, colorful conveyors of juicy goodness have become one of my most anticipated fruits of the summer.

Berry Sauce Ingredients

As luck would have it, tayberries are available here in Seattle as I write this. They have a very short season, so I make the most of it and end up buying almost more than I can carry. Many of them will be incorporated into savory dishes via recipes such as this preparation for a sauce. When the tayberries run out, a mix of raspberries and blackberries will suffice.


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups tayberries, or blackberries and raspberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Pour the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When warm, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant 1-2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan. When the mixture starts to boil, reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until berries break down, approximately ten minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside for five minutes or so until the sauce has cooled down a bit.

You may either use the sauce as is or put it through a strainer or food mill to remove the seeds and create a smooth sauce.

Note: if you don’t have pomegranate molasses, substitute regular molasses or honey.

Makes approximately 1 cup.

Berry sauce in the food mill

Wine Pairing

Most barbecue sauces are much too sweet to pair with wine. When the wine is sweeter than the food, the fruit falls out of the wine and it can taste bitter and angry. To combat that, this recipe calls for pomegranate molasses for sweetening, and very little of it. The result is a tangy sauce that can work with some fruit forward wines.

Turkey meatloaf with berry barbecue sauce

Zinfandel – a fruity California Zin pairs well with turkey meatloaf topped with the tayberry barbecue sauce. Timesaver: cook your meatloaf in cupcake tins to drastically reduce cooking time!

Rosé – top a roasted white fish with the sauce and pair with a fruit forward rosé. Varieties such as Pinot Noir and Sangiovese with some nice color on them have a fruitiness that works well here.

Malbec – roasted chicken breasts coated with a smoky barbecue spice rub, served with this sauce alongside makes a daring pairing.