Sorrel (Hibiscus) BBQ Sauce

3.7.18 | Recipe by Renz

A tangy barbeque sauce made using dried sorrel leaves. Sorrel BBQ Sauce is just perfect to use at gatherings. It's a rich, tangy, spicy-sweet sauce. Perfect for that summertime BBQ.


It is summertime and the weather here in South Florida is heating up!!

I know grills are being dusted off, scraped down, washed down, and dragged to the side of the house to be used every day. There are going to be a lot of burgers, hot dogs, and wings.

I know one thing we are going to be using in abundance is that barbecue sauce. Yesss. We gonna be slinging that bad boy on a lot of things. It's the perfect grilling sauce.

We going to go with sweet, try some honey, use some plain ones. But today, I'm introducing you to a recipe for a tangy beauty of a sorrel bbq sauce using dried hibiscus petals.

I have been playing with some sorrel recipes for about a year now. Trying with fresh and dry versions.

I still have a couple that I'm adjusting, but finally, I got this recipe to be exactly what I wanted it to be.

And we also use sorrel to make a simple sorrel drink, use it to make a wicked sorrel rum punch, and even a martini.


What is sorrel?

Most non-Caribbean folks hear the word "sorrel" and think of the leafy green. It is not even closely related.

Sorrel, also popularly called hibiscus by our African sisters and brothers. It is easily found dried, selling in a lot of the Caribbean and Latin American supermarkets.

And closer to December it can be also be found fresh.

It is sometimes referred to as Jamaican sorrel and can even be found called "flor de jamaica". This blossom is not significant to Jamaica only but is widely used in the other Caribbean islands.

The petals are steeped in hot water and usually makes a refreshing drink popular around Christmas time especially, called sorreljuice/drink.

This is a herbal drink that is tangy and refreshing. Think almost a cranberry drink. Sorrel drink though is spiced up with cloves and sometimes ginger.

So now think of that tangy taste for your bbq sauce. We are stepping away from the traditional sweet flavors I usually see.

Ingredients for BBQ sauce

The color of this is so rich. When I thought of making this, I really did not want it to be sweet with a touch of tangy. I wanted the sorrel flavor to be the main flavor of it. Just a plain tangy sauce.

  • Dried sorrel - use the dried sorrel leaves
  • Water
  • Ketchup - Use ketchup that is not too acid. I love this Swiss Ketchup
  • Molasses - a brand that I stick to is grandma's molasses. It's a nice mix of sweet.
  • Soy sauce - use a low sodium soy sauce. We don't really need any salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Pepper sauce/hot sauce
  • Cornstarch

How to make this sauce

The sauce process is pretty easy.

First, we will be steeping the dried leaves in hot water so that we can get that flavor extracted to add it to the base. Let it sit in there for at least 30 minutes to draw out as much flavor as possible.

Once that is done, strain off the liquid.

In a medium pot combine sorrel and the remaining ingredients, not including the cornstarch and water combination.

We want it to simmer low and not come to a boil. We don't want it burning.

How long can it last

It can last up to 6 months in the fridge.

There are a few signs to know that it has gone bad.

1. If you open it and the odor is unpleasant
2. If you see bacterial growth in the container
3. If you have had it for a while and it gets extremely thick

The best way to preserve it from spoiling prematurely is to refrain from using a dirty or wet spoon when taking it out.

Always close the jar back properly to eliminate any air from getting in.


The are numerous ways for storage, but the most ideal way is to keep it in the fridge.

Placing the finished product in a clean, sterile jar with a tight cover.

How to use this sauce

This can be paired with any meat. It's perfect on chicken, pork, or even lamb.

I use it to coat my Caribbean sorrel chicken wings.

Like any other bbq sauce, this can also be used as a dipping sauce. It was a great addition to some roasted duck I made over the weekend.

Tips & Tricks

Do not have the temperature too high. A medium-low temperature is good. We don't want any burning or sticking as it will alter the taste making it bitter.

This is not a sorrel glaze. I know some people coat their hams with this, but that glaze is a thinner mixture. And again not to be mistaken for the sorrel glaze made from the leafy greens.

My sauce consistency is not right: You want to make the sauce thick where it's sticking to the spatula and slow to run off. If after simmering for a while it doesn't get as thick as you like it, add some more of the mixture of cornstarch and water combination. Make sure you mix this well before adding it to the sauce. Remove all lumps.

I want it to be a little smoky: Use some liquid smoke. Start with 1/4 teaspoon at a time and adjust as you want it to.

A bit tart: Use some brown sugar. Add a packed 1/4 cup of sugar and let it simmer.

A bit sweet: Add a little vinegar at a time and allow it to simmer.

Want a more bbq flavor: Add a tablespoon of your favorite barbecue powder.

Now I'm here slathering this on wings, or just here slipping my finger and taking a lick. This is now my favorite bbq sauce

What else would you want to slather this onto? Let me know in the comments.

And if you tried this recipe please leave me a rating and let me know.

Check out some other Caribbean condiments