I promised earlier this week I promised to share my homemade BBQ sauce recipe, and here it is! I’m lucky enough to near one of the great BBQ capitals of the world, Kansas City, which means there’s no shortage of restaurants offering amazing ribs, burnt ends, and briskets.
Even with all of the wonderful dining options, homeowners around here pride themselves on their barbequeing skills… and yet so many still rely on bottled BBQ sauce.
Now, regardless of what part of the country you hail from, all BBQ sauces rely on two American favorites: ketchup and mustard. I’ve already shared my homemade ketchup recipe with you, and will share my mustard recipe at some point. For now, though, feel free to whip up some ketchup or use the store-bought stuff.
Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe
First step: combine the ketchup, mustard, lemon juice, sugar and vinegar in a pan. Feel free to tailor the flavor profile to suit your region’s taste: Kansas City sauce is sweeter so it uses more ketchup, whereas North Carolina sauce has more vinegar and South Carolina opts for more mustard. Play around until you like the taste of the sauce base, and then move on to adding your spices.
We like our sauce with a bit of a spicy kick, so I use the full teaspoon of cayenne. Feel free to back down on the amount if your family likes a milder sauce.
Cook that down a while, then stir in the cold cubes of butter. This is what gives BBQ sauce its silky texture and helps it adhere to the meat.
Now, if you like a thin sauce go ahead and pull it off the stove. For a thicker sauce simmer it for another 5-10 minutes until it’s reduced by a third. Once it’s reached the consistency you prefer, take it off heat and let it cool fully before storage.
Speaking of storage, remember this doesn’t have the preservatives of the store-bought stuff so keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks. If you want it to last longer, consider using a wide-mouth jar attachment for a food vacuum sealer. Although not a replacement for canning, the vacuum seal system will keep your sauce fresh in the fridge for at least a month if you reseal it after each use.
- 2 cups ketchup (see my recipe to make your own)
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
- 1 tsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- ½ cup packed brown sugar (or ¾ cup coconut sugar)
- 1 tbsp. onion salt
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. celery seed
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. cayenne
- 4 tbsp. cold butter, cubed
- Combine ketchup, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar in a large sauce pan.
- Add spices, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
- Stir in cold butter. Simmer an additional 5 minutes to thicken.
Now when people start debating which region makes the best barbeque — while slathering theirs with store-bough sauce — you can whip out a bottle made with your homemade BBQ sauce recipe and declare yourself the victor!
Equipment I Use For This: