This BBQ sauce is sweet, tangy, and thick; it has far fewer preservatives; it is a perfect addition to any backyard grill; it goes on chicken, pork, ribs, and beef; and it is made from scratch.
When it comes to making your own BBQ sauce, there are so many different variations, and when it comes to BBQ pit masters, everyone has their favorites.
- North Carolina style: The vinegar is the star in this sauce; it is definitely more tangy than most sauces and also generally more liquid. great for pulled pork or chicken.
- Kansas City Style: This sauce is on the thicker side of the spectrum and is a great combination of ketchup, brown sugar, and molasses.
- White Alabama style: this one is quite different compared to the others on the list its base is mayonnaise great for dipping wings, French fries, or even pizza.
- Memphis Style: this is a tangy and thin sauce that is slightly different than the Kansas City sauce where it is tomato based contains brown sugar, mustard, and vinegar.
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What I love about this BBQ sauce
This homemade BBQ sauce stands up against any store-bought BBQ sauce I have ever had and can be customized to your own flavor profile. Here is what I love most about this recipe:
- Pantry Staples I feel one of the great things is that almost everything is made by using pantry staples; the only thing you might need to go and get is liquid smoke, which is quite inexpensive and a little bit goes a long way.
- Versatile This recipe is great on more than just beef, chicken, and pork; we have found it is also great on burgers, hot dogs, sausage, and ribs. Anything that you would place BBQ sauce on, you will want to use this BBQ sauce for.
- Stores well You can make a large batch of this BBQ sauce and place it in the fridge for whenever you need it.
Ingredients you will need
- Tomato Sauce use your favorite brand of tomato sauce
- Ketchup Use your favorite brand of ketchup.
- Brown Sugar I use light brown sugar in this recipe, but you can use darker brown sugar; it will just give you a more molasses-forward flavor.
- Worcestershire sauce This is optional, but I like to add it so that it balances out the sweetness and gives you some umami flavor.
- Molasses This is a great ingredient to add to your Dallas BBQ sauce; it helps it come together perfectly, but if you don’t have it, that’s fine; you can use corn syrup as well.
- Apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar I have used both and found the flavors very similar; they give you just the right amount of tart and sour.
- Hickory liquid smoke This will give you the smoky flavor you want in a barbecue sauce, but it can be optional.
- Spices There is a combination of spices that go into this barbecue sauce: paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic and onion powder, salt, and pepper.
- Mustard Any brand of yellow mustard will work here.
How to make homemade BBQ Sauce
- Combine ingredients. Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and mix together until smooth.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or up to one hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool. The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools.
- Serve Place this delicious BBQ sauce over your favorite grilled proteins or store it in an airtight container or jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
- Spicy BBQ sauce: add ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper and then taste and see if it’s at your desired spice level.
- Honey BBQ Sauce: add ¼ cup of honey
- Less sugar: cut the sugar in half or use a low-sugar ketchup
- For BBQ Ranch: Add a couple of tablespoons to some ranch (this is my husband’s favorite variation for dipping pizza into).
- Fresh Fruit BBQ Sauce: This is another great variation is adding fresh fruit like peaches, blueberries, strawberries, and apricot.
Tips for successful BBQ sauce
- Simmer When you are cooking the BBQ sauce, stir every few minutes so as not to burn the bottom.
- Storing Before you store the BBQ sauce, allow it to cool completely.
- Play around With the flavors, make it sweeter or more spicy.
- Large batch Make a larger batch of BBQ sauce, keep some in the fridge, and freeze the rest for a few months.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is barbecue sauce?
Barbecue sauce is one of the kitchen condiment staples that can be used in a number of different ways, from marinating meat to topping to dipping and basting. The sauce is usually tomato-based, a little sweet, and sometimes a bit spicy.
Can I substitute the mustard?
Yes, you can substitute prepared mustard for 1 tablespoon of mustard powder.
What is the best ketchup for barbecue sauce?
I recommend using whichever ketchup you would use on a hot dog or hamburger. There is no need to get expensive ketchup when you’re just going to turn it into a Barbeque sauce.
Can this sauce be canned?
Yes, you will prepare it just like in the recipe and then place it into sterilized jars and go ahead with the water bath method for canning.
The Best Homemade BBQ Sauce
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 1 cup ketchup
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar
- ⅔ cup apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp hickory flavored liquid smoke
- ½ tsp smoked paprika or regular paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper adjust to your spice level
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ⅛ tsp chili powder
- ⅛ tsp ground mustard or 1 tsp prepared mustard
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and mix together until smooth
- Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or up to one hour, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool. The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools.
- Store in an air tight container or jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.