How-to Make Homemade Barbecue Sauce

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Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty Yummies

How-to Make Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Yesterday’s summer solstice marked the official start of summer, which means we also kicked off the season of grilling and barbecue. A good traditional barbecue sauce is key to a season of delicious backyard feasts. However, if you are like me, when you turn over most jars and bottles from the store, to investigate the ingredients, you are sorely disappointed. Most contain loads of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, various preservatives, thickeners, artificial flavors, colors and who know’s what else. Let’s be honest, they are also not all that good. We can do better!

Making your own sauce is incredible simple, you don’t need any special ingredients and with this simple tutorial and formula, I also give you the options to customize your sauce and make it just how you like it.

How-to Make Homemade Barbecue Sauce

How-to Make Homemade Barbecue Sauce

This is my original recipe, made just the way we like it. A lot of tang, with a hint of heat and a little smokiness. I like only a little sweetness to my barbecue sauce, but not too much. It is a thick and robust sauce. We especially love this sauce on grilled chicken wings. Mark calls this “Sweet Bethie Rays”. The key to the sauce is the tomato base, then from there you can customize the rest, choosing your own sweetener, adding more or less. Maybe you like a lot of heat or a bit more tang or something with some fruity notes.

Follow my original recipe below for a simple everyday barbecue sauce and if you’d like, make your own changes and additions along the way OR you can follow the formula and use the suggested ingredient list to create your very own sauce, adjusting the quantities, ratios and flavors to your liking.

There are, of course, many other styles of barbecue sauces, based on region, cuisine and so on. Some drop the tomato base and strictly go for a mustard and vinegar base, which I also love. How do you like your barbecue sauce?

I also want to take a super brief interlude while I have the opportunity to let you know why I personally always include blackstrap molasses in my barbecue sauce. Besides being full of rich, deep dark, caramelized flavor, unsulphured blackstrap molasses is incredibly nutrient-dense food. Loaded with iron, calcium, manganese, copper and more – blackstrap has five times more iron than a steak and 1.5 times more calcium than cheese (when comparing calorie to calorie). For my nutrition nerd friends, you can read more about molasses here.

How-to Make Homemade Barbecue Sauce

[print_this]How-to Make Homemade Barbecue Sauce {gluten-free, vegan, paleo}
Makes about 1 quart of sauce

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups no-salt added tomato puree (or sauce)
  • 1 7-ounce jar of tomato paste (or a 6-ounce can)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Place all of the ingredients into a high speed blender. Process until smooth. Add to a large pan over a medium heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes to reduce it down, stirring often. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon and stay on, but still be pourable. Taste the sauce and make sure you don’t want more of anything, you may want it more sweet, spicy, tangy, salty, etc. Remove from the heat, allow to cool for a few minutes. Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze.


How-to Make Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Create Your Own Original Signature Barbecue Sauce:

1) Start with the Base: onion, garlic cloves, tomato puree and tomato paste

2) From there add from each of the following categories whatever you’d like:

maple syrup
brown sugar

good quality sea salt
kosher salt
soy sauce or tamari
fish sauce

hot sauce
chile powder
fresh hot peppers
white pepper
Szechuan peppercorns

smoked paprika
liquid smoke
smoked sea salt

apple cider vinegar
rice vinegar
red wine vinegar
sherry vinegar
lemon or lime juice
citrus zest
orange juice

mustard: whole grain, dijon or yellow
dry mustard
celery seed
Worcestershire sauce
fresh fruit, peaches, mango, apricots, cherries, berries, etc
fruit preserves

NOTE: if gluten-free, be sure to select certified gluten-free ingredients. Be especially careful of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, hot sauces, hoisin, vinegars and so on.


Did you make this recipe - or any others from the TY archives?

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2 Responses

  1. Katie says:

    Wow! What a delicious idea for summer bbqs I cant wait to try it out!

  2. This barbecue sauce looks finger-licking good! And I love all the add-in ideas you provided at the bottom… so much inspiration!! 😀

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