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Açaí and Vinegar Barbecue Sauce 

Slofoodgroup Team May 22, 2021

Sweet & Tangy Açaí Berry Barbecue Sauce

It’s that time of year again—when the barbecue grills, smokers, and open-flame spits are brought out from storage and around every corner you are greeted with wafts of fragrant smoke from the meats and vegetables that are being transformed into flavor-filled delights! It’s the perfect formula for getting your stomach to start growling at you. We just love barbecue season!

While many folks are happy just throwing pre-pattied hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill (and we certainly can get onboard with a good burger or dog), we like to take grilling to the next level, exploring the culinary possibilities of grilled and smoked foods and adding flavor wherever we can. That’s not to say we don’t appreciate the classics. One of those classics is a good, vinegar-based, Carolina barbecue sauce to serve with smoked chicken or pork!

A basic vinegar barbecue sauce typically starts with a lineup of the same ingredients—apple cider vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, and some sort of chile pepper or hot sauce. To add a little extra “zing” to ours, we employed our Freeze-Dried Açaí Powder from Brazil, and for the kick, we incorporated dried chile peppers. We also exchanged the brown sugar for honey and added some Ceylon cinnamon to accentuate the unique flavor of the Açaí.

Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce with Açaí and Honey


  • 2 tablespoons Açaí Powder 
  • 5 small dried chiles (we used guajillo)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard 
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ceylon cinnamon powder
  • ½ cup Ketchup 

  • Procedure

    1. In a deep pot, heat your oil to melt, add the garlic and shallots and sauté until tender. 
    2. Add your dried chiles and cook for another minute or two, stirring frequently. 
    3. Mix in the water, vinegar, and açaí powder and bring to a boil. 
    4. Turn the heat down to low heat and stir in your honey, paprika, cinnamon, salt, pepper, mustard, and ketchup. 
    5. Using an immersion blender, blend to smooth (you can also use a food processor or standing blender to accomplish this).
    6. Simmer for 30 minutes to thicken slightly. 

    Serving Suggestions

    Serve your Açaí berry barbecue sauce alongside pulled pork or brush it atop grilled chicken while it’s still on the grill. 


    Açaí is such a versatile fruit, especially when in powdered form. It boggles our minds why this Brazilian superfood rarely appears in recipes for anything beyond breakfast bowls. Try mixing  your dehydrated Açaí  powder into cocktails and smoothies, add a bit to oil and vinegar salad dressings, incorporate it into stews and chilis, or liven up your desserts with additional vitamins. The options are endless!