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10 Great Barbecue Sauce Recipes

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Holle loves to cook. BBQ and BBQ sauce is something she and others in the Deep South take seriously.

Recipes for Barbecue Sauce. Check 'em out!

Recipes for Barbecue Sauce. Check 'em out!

How much do you know about barbecue sauce? Go down the condiments aisle of any large supermarket, and you’ll be faced with all types of sauce. You’ll find sweet, hot and spicy, sweet heat, mustard-based, vinegar-based, and honey barbecue sauces as well as brisket sauce, sauce for barbecue ribs, and more. You’ll probably find sauces that contain special ingredients like Vidalia onions, raspberries, chipotle peppers, whiskey, bourbon, peaches, or apples, too.

Without opening all the bottles and sampling the sauces, how do you know which one you’ll like best? And, by the way, don’t try this—the store management frowns upon such practices. Seriously, even reading the list of ingredients on the labels might not be a lot of help. How much of each was used? The best solution to the barbecue sauce dilemma is to make your own homemade BBQ sauce! Here are 10 recipes for you to try:

10 Incredible Barbecue Sauce Recipes

  1. Easy Barbecue Sauce
  2. Honey Barbecue Sauce
  3. Carolina Barbecue Sauce
  4. Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce Recipe
  5. Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce
  6. Jack Daniel's BBQ Sauce
  7. Apple BBQ Sauce
  8. Jamaican Jerk Sauce
  9. Barbecue Ribs
  10. Beef Brisket
Homemade BBQ Sauce - on pulled pork

Homemade BBQ Sauce - on pulled pork

Why Homemade BBQ Sauce Spurs Competition

Homemade BBQ sauce is extremely popular here in the Deep South. When we folks get together for an outdoor barbecue, it usually involves pork, and several of the guests are bound to bring their own sauce creations. These cooks usually encourage or insist that the party guests try their own special recipe. Of course, each one is totally convinced that his is the best the world has ever known. Yep, I said “his” because most of these good-natured braggarts are men. A casual cookout can quickly escalate into a serious battle with the guests caught in the middle.

As you can probably tell, homemade sauce is serious business in my neck of the woods, and the most popular type around here is the tomato-based sauces. In the South, barbecue sauce is often a regional thing, and in fact, some states might have several different signature sauces for different areas of the state. Of course, it doesn’t matter what everyone else likes. What’s important is what you like. There isn’t one best recipe that everyone can agree on. With homemade recipes, however, you can create the best sauce for you by using your favorite ingredients.

I have lots of Recipes for Barbecue Sauce!

I have lots of Recipes for Barbecue Sauce!

Different Styles, Flavors, and Ingredients

I have lots of recipes for barbecue sauce, and I use different sauces for different meats. I also use different recipes for different circumstances. For example, if kids are going to be eating, I won’t make a super fiery sauce, or if I do, I’ll also make a milder sauce as a choice for the kids and for wimpy adults. Okay, that was a joke, but I think you understand what I’m trying to say here. I have sort of a generic sauce that I often use when we’re feeding a crowd, one that doesn’t go too far in any direction—not too sweet, not too spicy, and not too hot.

Recipes for barbecue sauce can include a whole world of different ingredients. And the great thing about homemade sauce is that you can taste it as you make it and adjust the ingredients accordingly. If you’ve never made your own sauce before, you might not be sure how to begin. Allow me to explain. You’ll need a base or main ingredient, spices, and other ingredients. If you prefer a sweet sauce, you’ll need to add sugar or other sweeteners. The same goes for heat. I created a table of BBQ sauce ingredients to give you some ideas.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

Bases/LiquidsSweetenersSeasonings

ketchup

white sugar

onion

tomato sauce

brown sugar

garlic

spaghetti sauce

Splenda

chili powder

chili sauce

brown sugar substitute

cayenne

vinegar

molasses

chipotle

soy sauce

Karo syrup

cumin

Worcestershire sauce

maple syrup

paprika

teriyaki sauce

cane syrup

black pepper

fruit juices

jams/jellies/preserves

mustard powder

Liquid Smoke

fruit syrups

ginger

Dale's steak seasoning

Stevia

cinnamon

1. Easy Barbecue Sauce

This easy barbecue sauce requires no cooking, so you can mix it up in just a couple of minutes. Of course, you can always add your favorite spices, too. By slightly altering this easy recipe, you can make your own special version.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt, to taste

Directions

Combine ingredients and stir until brown sugar is dissolved. For a “twangier” sauce, add one tablespoon vinegar. Store covered, in fridge, until ready to use.

Honey Barbecue Sauce

Honey Barbecue Sauce

2. Honey Barbecue Sauce

I really like honey barbecue sauce because it’s sweet and sticky, so it adheres well to the meat. This is a good sauce for ribs, pork chops, and chicken.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Salt, to taste
  • Brown sugar, optional

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high for one minute. Stir. Cook for one more minute. Taste the sauce. If it’s not sweet enough, add brown sugar, to taste.

Carolina BBQ Sauce

Carolina BBQ Sauce

3. Carolina Barbecue Sauce

Carolina barbecue sauce can get confusing. Different parts of the Carolinas prefer different types of sauces. My husband is from North Carolina, and he likes a mustard-based sauce, so that’s what I included here.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups prepared mustard
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer on low for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When cool, store in refrigerator in a covered container.

Sugar Free BBQ Sauce

Sugar Free BBQ Sauce

4. Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last year, but I was able to reverse it through diet, exercise, and weight loss. Because we eat so much barbecue, I had to come up with a sugar-free BBQ sauce. Honestly, this low carb BBQ sauce recipe is really good! If you can find Ideal Brown brown sugar substitute, use it instead of the Splenda in the recipe, as it provides a better flavor. It’s the best brown sugar substitute I’ve found. Unfortunately, I can no longer find it in stores, so I have to order it online.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Heinz reduced sugar Ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar substitute OR Splenda
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • Pinch ground cloves

Directions

Combine all ingredients and microwave until very hot. Stir well. Cover and store in fridge until ready to use.

Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce

Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce

5. Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce

If you like the taste of honey mustard, you’ll probably like honey mustard BBQ sauce. It’s sweet and tangy, and I think it’s great on chicken. Some people really like it on pork, too.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup prepared mustard
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Hot sauce, to taste

Directions

Place butter and onion in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cook until onion is almost soft. Add garlic and microwave for one minute on high. Add remaining ingredients and return to the microwave. Heat for one minute. Liquefy sauce in blender or food processor.

Jack Daniel's BBQ Sauce

Jack Daniel's BBQ Sauce

6. Jack Daniel's BBQ Sauce

As the name implies, Jack Daniels BBQ sauce contains whiskey. You can buy this as a ready-made commercially bottled sauce, but you can make your own at home, too. Try this recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Jack Daniel's
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt, to taste

Directions

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Cook onion over medium heat until soft. Add garlic and cook for one minute longer. Add remaining ingredients and lower heat. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. For a smoother BBQ sauce, run the mixture through the blender or food processor.

Apple BBQ Sauce

Apple BBQ Sauce

7. Apple BBQ Sauce

I love, love, love apple BBQ sauce with pork, especially with barbecue ribs! My homemade BBQ sauce contains apple butter, so you don’t have to peel and dice apples. I use this on my baby back ribs that I call Candy Apple Ribs. Click the link for that recipe—it’s awesome!

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 2/3 cup apple butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Salt, to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. For a sweeter sauce, use more brown sugar.

Jamaican Jerk Sauce - spices

Jamaican Jerk Sauce - spices

Jerk Sauce - on a pork shoulder

Jerk Sauce - on a pork shoulder

8. Jamaican Jerk Sauce

Jamaican jerk sauce brings the taste of the islands right to your kitchen! This sauce is hot and spicy, but if you like less heat, you can tweak the recipe. We like Jamaican jerk sauce on chicken and on all cuts of pork, and many southerners like it on barbecue goat, too. Wear plastic gloves when handling these peppers!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

30 min

40 min

about 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped Scotch bonnet pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a heavy saucepan. Cook onion, garlic, and pepper until soft.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until thick, stirring frequently.
  3. When sauce has cooled enough. Process it in the food processor or blender.

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9. Barbecue Ribs

In the South, there’s an old adage that says eating barbecue ribs is just a great excuse to eat barbecue sauce. This, of course, is based on the small amount of flesh on spareribs. Baby back ribs are meatier, but you’ll still need a great rib sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne

Directions

Heat cooking oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add remaining ingredients and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until desired thickness is reached.

Brisket BBQ Sauce

Brisket BBQ Sauce

10. Beef Brisket

We don’t eat a lot of beef brisket, but when we do, I usually prefer a thinner brisket sauce to use on the meat. Also, I don’t like a too-sweet brisket BBQ sauce, so I came up with the following recipe. Instead of ketchup as the base, I use spaghetti sauce. It might sound strange, but it’s really good on beef brisket!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dale’s liquid steak seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

In a heavy sauce pot, cook butter and onion until onion is soft. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce has reached desired thickness.

Comments

Marva on January 12, 2020:

I would love to make my own bbq sauce looks delious

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 08, 2013:

Hi, Carol. Glad you enjoyed the hub!

naniesmam on April 08, 2013:

I tried the easy bbq sauce. Took only 5 minutes to make however I modified a little I used half the mustard as I detest highly and replaced with Horseradish sauce and added splash of cider vinegar and Frank's hot sauce.My family loved it so much they asked me to make more for next time.

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on September 26, 2012:

I love the way your recipes include information about base flavors - it's almost like we are in a cooking school here! I have found some ideas in this hub that I will put on my list of 'must try it' tips!

Voted up!

carol stanley from Arizona on September 04, 2012:

Lots of great recipes for barbecue sauce. I like making my own because I know what is in it. I am going to bookmark and vote up. Great ideas and thanks for sharing.