Kombucha Barbecue Sauce and a SCOBY Hotel

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This summer I felt like I had a part-time job brewing kombucha. In the heat and unusual humidity, I had to brew and bottle every four days or even every three! I love kombucha but can (and should) drink only so much.

If you need a break from brewing or want to go on a vacation (please take me with you), you can make a SCOBY hotel. Simply prepare your tea as usual for kombucha—brew, sweeten, cool, innoculate—and add all your SCOBYs. Cover the vessel with a cloth and let the tea sit for up to six weeks. At that point, make a new hotel for your hungry SCOBYs. Like all living creatures, they will need some food to survive. At any point, remove a SCOBY or two to brew more tea when you feel ready to get back into the kombucha rhythm.

SCOBY hotel: no vacancy

After you move the SCOBYs to their new hotel, you’ll have strong vinegar. I LOVE that I no longer buy vinegar (it’s the little things in life…). I use either my scrap vinegar or my kombucha vinegar. In fact, in The Art of Fermentation Sandorkraut writes that lab tests have found that vinegar and kombucha mothers are identical.

I have used my kombucha vinegar to:

  • Rinse my hair
  • Combine with baking soda to clean bathroom surfaces
  • Clean the toilet
  • Make salad dressing
  • Make barbecue sauce

Of course, when you cook the vinegar in this recipe, you kill all the good microbes. I don’t mind killing some microbes here and there. I eat plenty of other probiotic foods.


Kombucha Barbecue Sauce


For this recipe, I use my homemade ketchup but I did buy both the mustard and Worcestershire sauce. One day, I’ll try making these myself too. Mustard is very easy to make.

  • 1 cup kombucha vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 3/4 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp mustard (I used Dijon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


1. Whisk ingredients in a small saucepan until smooth.

2. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

simmering sauce
Simmering sauce

3. Cook for about 20 minutes or until barbecue sauce has reduced by about a third.

thickened sauce
Thick and ready

12 Replies to “Kombucha Barbecue Sauce and a SCOBY Hotel”

  1. I’m about to make my first batch of Kombucha from a bunch of SCOBYs my friend gave me. They’re in the fridge and moved across five states with me! Any advice on making my first batch?

    1. Awesome! My first piece of advice is to take notes. I would write down how much tea and sugar you use and how long it takes to ferment. I’d also taste it every day after it has brewed for a few days (or taste it every day and note the difference). You have probably brewed by now, I didn’t see this comment until now (sorry about that), but I would also recommend using the highest quality ingredients. I buy really good loose leaf puerh, oolong and green tea and I really notice a difference. Oh and the sugar can affect the flavor. I usually use organic cane sugar but I also have tried rapadura, sucanat and coconut sugar. The rapadura especially had a really different flavor. I actually didn’t like it as well but one of my students said it was his favorite. So…like I said, take notes. Enjoy!

      1. Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I actually haven’t brewed yet. I just keep reading and reading about it, but haven’t. Is there a recipe you like best?

  2. Such good information! I’ve just been adding a bit more sugar to my old hotel every now and then. Time to give them a whole new hotel brew! Thanks Anne Marie 🙂

    1. Thank you, Karen. (Sorry, I thought I had replied to this…)

  3. Mustard is ridiculously easy to make and oh, so good.

    1. It sounds easy enough. It’s on my to-make list 🙂

  4. Do you leave the SCOBY hotel on the counter or refrigerate? Seems like you don’t, but just got my SCOBY and don’t want to kill her. The place I got her from said to keep chilled….Thanks : )

    1. I leave all my SCOBYs out on the counter, Liz. I never put them in the refrigerator. I have a jar of kombucha brewing and a couple of jars of SCOBY hotels (they are taking over…) and they are all on the shelf.

      1. lisa stinson says:

        Do you put a lid on it?

      2. I put a cloth on top so the SCOBYs can breathe. You actually want air to come into contact with your kombucha but not bugs or other nasties. The cloth prevents that from happening.

  5. Did I need to make a fresh batch of tea for a scoby hotel ? And what do I feed it ?

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