Classic Homemade Barbecue Sauce

By Ann Fulton

Jump to recipe More on Instagram
Sweet and tangy with a hint of heat, this easy sauce is the perfect complement to chicken, chops, ribs, brisket, and pulled pork sandwiches. Or stir some into mayo for a delicious sandwich spread!

Sweet and tangy with a hint of heat, this easy sauce is the perfect complement to chicken, chops, ribs, brisket, and pulled pork sandwiches. Or stir some into mayo for a delicious sandwich spread!

 

When I make this barbecue sauce, I still think of the day over 20 years–and a different career–ago when I walked into a client’s house and smelled the most amazing aroma.

She was preparing homemade barbecue and the smell was intoxicating. After I mentioned as much, she thoughtfully wrote her sauce recipe on a piece of scrap paper, which I’ve saved to this day.

My family considers this barbecue sauce to be the perfect balance of tomatoey goodness and vinegary kick. Ginger and soy sauce are the “mystery” ingredients that add that little extra something.  

Happily, preparing the sauce is about as easy as running to the store to buy some. It consists primarily of pantry ingredients and requires just a quick, 5-minute simmer.

The recipe makes a big batch–nearly a quart–but it may be cut in half for a smaller yield. That said, leftovers will keep several weeks in the fridge. And a friend or neighbor will likely welcome a jar.

Once the sauce has cooled, I like to pour it into any condiments jars I happen to empty in the process and label accordingly. (Is the sticky residue bothersome? You know I love a good tip, so I’ve included an effective way to remove the residue under the recipe!) Mason jars or another airtight container work well, too.

Either way, finger-licking good pulled pork sandwiches and barbecue ribs have never been so easy!

Sweet and tangy with a hint of heat, this easy sauce is the perfect complement to chicken, chops, ribs, brisket, and pulled pork sandwiches. Or stir some into mayo for a delicious sandwich spread!

A few other ways you may enjoy the barbecue sauce:

  • Brush over chicken or pork when grilling. Good on shrimp, too!
  • Add variety to your favorite pulled pork sandwiches by using the same technique with chicken. 
  • Enjoy as a sauce for pizza with toppings like chicken, red onions or scallions, and cheddar cheese
  • …Or a taco or tostada with black beans, corn, diced tomato, and avocado 
  • Use as the sauce for speedy baked beans
  • Stir into ranch dressing for a flavorful Tex-Mex salad dressing
  • Mix with mayonnaise for a turkey sandwich condiment upgrade
  • My sons also enjoy the BBQ mayo on a grilled chicken breast sandwich–reason to grill extra chicken. A slice of prosciutto or thinly sliced ham and crisp lettuce (and pickled onions if you have them) round out the sandwich beautifully! 
Sweet and tangy with a hint of heat, this easy sauce is the perfect complement to chicken, chops, ribs, brisket, and pulled pork sandwiches. Or stir some into mayo for a delicious sandwich spread!

Pantry ingredients come together easily and will add classic flavor and saucy appeal to a variety of meats, sandwiches, pizzas, and more.

Sweet and tangy with a hint of heat, this easy sauce is the perfect complement to chicken, chops, ribs, brisket, and pulled pork sandwiches. Or stir some into mayo for a delicious sandwich spread!

A few thin lemon slices balance the apple cider vinegar and subtly enhance the tangy element of the sauce.

Sweet and tangy with a hint of heat, this easy sauce is the perfect complement to chicken, chops, ribs, brisket, and pulled pork sandwiches. Or stir some into mayo for a delicious sandwich spread!

A brief simmer produces a consistency that’s just right–not too thick and not too thin. The flavor is good right away and will improve as the sauce rests. 

Classic Homemade Barbecue Sauce
Yield: 3½ cups (~28 ounces; recipe may easily be halved or doubled)
This basic barbecue sauce is a delightful balance of sweet and tangy with a touch of heat. Ginger and soy sauce are the secret ingredients that round out the flavors. Because the sauce relies on pantry ingredients and a quick, 5-minute simmer, preparing it is nearly as easy as running to the store to buy some!

For easy storage, pour into Mason jars or any condiment jars you happen to empty in the process, and label accordingly.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups (408g) ketchup
  • 1 cup (240ml) apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup (60ml) soy sauce (use GF soy sauce or tamari, as needed)
  • ¼ cup (60ml) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup (200g) packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 2 tablespoons ground (dry) mustard
  • 4 tablespoons ancho chili powder (may substitute regular chili powder)
  • 2 tablespoons (28ml) olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (may sub ½ teaspoon garlic powder)
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (may add more to taste)
  • 2-3 thin slices lemon
Instructions

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove the lemon slices and store in the refrigerator, where the sauce will keep for several weeks. The flavor will also improve as the sauce rests.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/
 

Original photo and a tip from May 2012: if you have leftover condiment jars, you can rinse them out and use them to store the sauce. Mason jars work well, too. 

On that note, some jars are worth saving instead of simply recycling. But what about all those times you remove the label, only to be left with a sticky residue? You can easily remove it by spreading an even layer of peanut butter over the residue. (Do peel off as much of the paper as possible first.) Let the peanut butter sit for at least 30 minutes. Longer is good. The oils in the peanut butter will break down the residue and make it easy to remove!

Sweet and tangy with a hint of heat, this easy sauce is the perfect complement to chicken, chops, ribs, brisket, and pulled pork sandwiches. Or stir some into mayo for a delicious sandwich spread!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments

  1. Pingback: The Fountain Avenue Kitchen – Muffin-Cup Barbecue Turkey Meatloaves (Gluten-Free)

  2. Rila Hackett

    Hi Ann — I just made this BBQ sauce a few days ago for some pulled pork. I really liked it and it proved to me that not all BBQ sauces are created equally. Much tastier than the store bought version. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Ann

      I am thrilled you enjoyed and bet your pulled pork dinner was a hit. I think it is about time for me to make that again here…we all love it! Thanks so much for the comment, Rila!

      Reply
  3. Pingback: BBQ Chicken Salad with Better-for-You Buttermilk Ranch | Skyline Empire