Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

Spoon lifting bbq sauce out of jar.

This Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe is so easy!  Made in just 15-minutes with simple ingredients you probably already have on hand. This southern sauce is delicious on brisket, pork chops, chicken, and ribs.

A couple weeks ago, I set myself on the mission of making the best sous vide brisket. It turned out amazingly tender, smoky and juicy. Perfect, if I do say so myself (I can’t wait to make it again). And since brisket takes about 36 hours to cook sous vide, I also had plenty of time to work on perfecting my BBQ sauce recipe.

A few batches later, I’m now feeling pretty darn confident that this is the BEST BBQ sauce recipe ever!

It’s sweet & tangy, with the perfect hint of smokiness & spice. And the consistency is just perfect for slathering on your favorite grilled meats.

My first step was deciding on using ketchup or pureed tomatoes as my base. The ketchup was a clear winner. The BBQ sauce made with ketchup had much more flavor and was smoother. The one made with tomatoes was a bit grittier, and the flavor was much less concentrated, even though I tried to amp it up a bit with even more spices, vinegar, etc.

The second step was getting just that right blend of spices.

Of course, everyone is going to have different opinions when it comes to BBQ sauce, so my recipe is more of a standard variety, with just a hint of spice, smoke and sweetness. However, I’m also providing some variations below if you like a more spicy sauce, sweeter (or honey based) BBQ sauce, or a smokier sauce. I’ve even got some *spiked* barbecue sauce variations.

I added some of the dripping from my brisket into the sauce for extra flavor, but if you don’t have any, that’s totally OK!

Hand holding jar of homemade bbq sauce

Homemade BBQ Sauce Ingredients:

  • Ketchup
  • Cider Vinegar
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Chile Powder
  • Cumin
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper

How to Make Barbecue Sauce:

It’s so easy to make this BBQ sauce. All you need to do is:

  1. Stir together the ingredients in a saucepan.
  2. Simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until thickened to your liking.
  3. Serve. 

How to Thicken Homemade BBQ Sauce:

  • If you would like to thicken your BBQ sauce even further, simply simmer it for longer. It will continue to thicken as it cooks.

Side view of homemade bbq sauce in jar with spoon

BBQ Sauce Variations:

  • Honey Barbecue Sauce: Add 2 Tablespoons honey.
  • Maple Barbecue Sauce: Add 2 Tablespoons maple syrup.
  • Smoky Barbecue Sauce: Add 2 teaspoons liquid smoke.
  • Spicy Barbecue Sauce: Add cayenne pepper, to taste.
  • Bourbon Barbecue Sauce: Add 1/4 cup bourbon before simmering.
  • Red Wine Barbecue Sauce:  Add 1/4 cup red wine before simmering (I love Pinot Noir or Zinfandel for this).

How to Store & Freeze Barbecue Sauce

  • To Store. Store leftovers tightly sealed in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • To Freeze. Freeze individual portions into cubes using this silicone ice cube mold, or freeze in ziploc bags or containers (allowing room for expansion). It will keep in the freezer for 3 months. To use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Overhead close up of spoon in bbq sauce

Uses for BBQ Sauce:

  • Slather it on Meat: Brisket, pork chops, chicken, and ribs.
  • Baked Beans: Stir some into your baked beans.
  • Burgers: Drizzle it on your burgers.
  • Pizzas: Swap the traditional tomato sauce for BBQ sauce or dip your pizza crust into it.
  • Dipping Sauce: Makes a great dipping sauce served with chicken strips or wings.

Grilling Recipes:

Hand holding jar of homemade bbq sauce

Homemade BBQ Sauce

This Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe is so easy!  Made in just 15-minutes with simple ingredients you probably already have on hand. This southern sauce is delicious on brisket, pork chops, chicken, and ribs.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water (or brisket drippings from sous vide)
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

Instructions

  • Stir together all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Notes

BBQ Sauce Variations:

  • Honey Barbecue Sauce: Add 2 Tablespoons honey.
  • Maple Barbecue Sauce: Add 2 Tablespoons maple syrup.
  • Smoky Barbecue Sauce: Add 2 teaspoons liquid smoke.
  • Spicy Barbecue Sauce: Add cayenne pepper, to taste.
  • Bourbon Barbecue Sauce: Add 1/4 cup bourbon before simmering.
  • Red Wine Barbecue Sauce:  Add 1/4 cup red wine before simmering (I love Pinot Noir or Zinfandel for this).
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Nutrition

Calories: 63kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 739mg | Potassium: 197mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 598IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

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