Want to learn how to make barbecue sauce? You won’t believe how easy it is! Simply whisk a few ingredients together in a saucepan, and then it’s ready after just 15 minutes of simmering. The flavors of this homemade barbecue sauce recipe are sweet, tangy, and the slightest bit spicy. It’s amazing with chicken!
Creating This Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipe
Barbecue sauce is one of those things that people have very strong opinions about (right up there with pizza, chili, and how to properly load a dishwasher). It’s serious business.
When it comes to what makes a good [BLAH], I’m a firm believer that if you love something, that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter what other people think about your favorite pizza place. If you love it, the rest is just noise. Opinions are not facts. (Is it becoming obvious that I’ve gotten into the “opinions vs. facts” debate with people a lot recently?)
There are many different varieties of barbecue sauces, and I prefer certain types for different applications. As far as I’m concerned, there is no one right or wrong way.
For ribs, I love a thick, smokey barbecue sauce. I also like that type of sauce with pulled pork, though Jeff has made me appreciate the wonders of a good Carolina mustard-based barbecue sauce on slow cooked meat.
When it comes to chicken, I simply crave what I grew up with, and that’s a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce. My mother always served us broiled or grilled chicken thighs basted in layers of a thick, sticky sauce that was cooked onto the meat. It was served with a side of rice.
It’s so good. My paternal grandmother used to make it, and dad loved it so much that mom started making it when they got married, and now I make it. Sometimes simple really is best.
The brand we used growing up was Open Pit BBQ Sauce, and I still use it. But it bugs me that the first ingredient is now high fructose corn syrup, because I’m guessing that wasn’t in there when my dad was younger. This is why I decided to attempt my own version, and I couldn’t believe how easy it was.
Since I’m aiming to eliminate the HFCS with this recipe, I typically use an organic ketchup, but you don’t have to. Heinz makes a good organic version that tastes like the original, isn’t much more expensive, and uses sugar instead of HFCS. Again, that’s optional.
After bringing the ingredients to a boil, I simmer them for around 15 minutes, at which point they will have thickened slightly. It has the consistency of Open Pit, which is sticky and good for basting, but not super thick. You can continue reducing it for longer if you prefer; it certainly won’t hurt anything.
But keep in mind that the sauce will technically reduce again as it cooks onto the meat.
Homemade Barbecue Sauce Ingredients
For this tangy and sweet bbq sauce recipe, you’ll need the following basic ingredients:
- White wine vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Worcestershire sauce
- Frank’s RedHot Sauce
- Brown sugar
- Blend of dried herbs and spices
How to Make Homemade Barbecue Sauce
What I love about this easy barbecue sauce recipe is that it requires very little effort on your part. Simply add all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and let the tangy barbecue sauce simmer uncovered until it’s thickened. The whole process takes around 15 minutes, and you can use the sauce immediately or save for later.
Is this the best barbecue save recipe ever? I certainly think so, but you should try it yourself to be sure!
How to Store Barbecue Sauce
Keep this sweet and tangy barbecue sauce in an airtight container in the fridge. Because it’s a homemade barbecue sauce and is made without preservatives, it’ll stay fresh for up to a week. This barbecue sauce recipe makes around 2 cups, so I doubt you’ll have much leftover, if any.
Tips for the Best Barbecue Sauce
- Light brown sugar can be used in place of dark brown sugar, but it won’t give you the same depth of flavor.
- If possible, use the exact brand of hot sauce that I’ve listed in the recipe, otherwise the flavor of your sweet bbq sauce may taste different than mine.
- If you prefer a thicker homemade barbecue sauce, let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes longer than the recipe calls for. Just remember that the barbecue sauce will be cooked again when you brush it on your meat of choice.
More Homemade Condiments:
If you love homemade sauces, you’ll definitely want to check out my Teriyaki Sauce, Mayonnaise, All-Purpose Tomato Sauce, Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, and Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette. For even more recipes, check out all of my sauces, jams, and condiment recipes.
Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons Frank’s RedHot sauce
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the ketchup, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire, hot sauce, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, allspice, and cloves.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low.
- Allow the sauce to simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring periodically, until it has thickened. For a slightly thicker sauce, you can let it continue reducing for an additional 5 minutes.
- Store sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This recipe will keep for about one week.
- Light brown sugar will work in a pinch, but you’ll get a better depth of flavor from dark brown sugar.
- I don’t recommend using a different brand of hot sauce or it may alter the taste of the sauce.
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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