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Homemade BBQ Sauce - Do you?

I was supposed to make baby back ribs for dinner yesterday, but my dh ate lunch out and so he of course came home and was still full. So our plans changed, and we're going to make the ribs tonight, which is actually better.

Yesterday I had been been watching the Luau thread for some ideas and inspiration, but since I had made the sweet and sour meatballs recently, I wanted to make something different. Kind of a Carolina BBQ, anyway that direction. I looked around my pantry and fridge..nope.
I have a few bottles of Stonewall Kitchen, but they are so small! What was I thinking!

So, anyway I got to thinking about how someone on CH mentioned making ketchup. That they love the Amish ketchup and they drive to the Amish country specifically for their ketchup. Well heck, what is BBQ sauce? I can do this.

So all afternoon my little brain went to work on my favorite bbq sauce flavorings, and I cooked a batch of BBQ sauce that I'm pretty pleased with. It's not rip roaring hot, it is the way I like it. The vinegar comes through, its sweet with some spices that are almost exotic. and just enough heat to get your attention. But not a huge backlash heat where you are uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong I love those too, and I can always change the ingredients to suit my mood.

Anyway, there is no reason to buy bbq sauce when you can make it at home so easily. It's so inexpensive, all you might do is spend a great deal time stirring and tasting,that's it.
You can make the sauce as simple or as complicated as you see like. And the best part is that you can can it to enjoy all year round.

You know me, I love to take pictures so here is the jar of sauce. The photos of me putting it into action will follow tonight. So... do any of you make your own bbq sauce?
If you do, I'd sure love to hear your ideas!


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  1. CC,

    I never would have dreamed of trying, but I saw an Emeril episode featuring: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/em...

    I make the chicken twice a year and a DOUBLE batch of the sauce about FOUR times a year. I can it in pints and my freinds beg me for them.

    I use this sauce on chicken and pork.

    You're 100% right..it's not that hard and the results are well worth it!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Monch

      I'm glad you enjoy my sauce.... Dave Papale.... aka Jessie's Lip Smakin' Sauce

        1. re: bbqbluz


          Thanks for the inspiration, Dave.

          Actually, I just glanced up in my pantry to see a couple quarts hanging around from my last batch!

          Gotta get me some chicken.

          Your recipe rocks!

          1. re: Monch

            Hey Monch,

            Try the recipe for the cornbread from the same show...... I've used it in both of my past two restaurants......some good stuff........

            If you want to try a great store bought dry rub "char crust" is the best....... the regular is all I ever use..........

            1. re: bbqbluz

              Great advice, Bluz!

              I love me some good cornbread. Batter sizzling in the heated cast iron skillet before it goes into the oven...the SOUND of good things to come.

              I am using the Steve Raichlen (sp?) rub, but will look into "Char Crust".

              With a Penzey's Spice storefront a half-block from my office, I'm spoiled and love to mix spices myself!

      1. I have made Bar-B-Q sauce a couple times and have been pleased with the results.

        I made the vinegar mustard sauce that goes with Tyler Florences pulled pork recipe, which I really liked once I got used to it.

        I also made one with apple cider, which tasted like a spicy apple butter when done.

        I have a peach based sauce that I am looking forward to trying when the local peaches are ripe.

        1 Reply
        1. re: NE_Elaine

          Could you post the peach bbq sauce recipe? I have a peach tree that is loaded again this year, and I can only make so much jam. Thanks, Diane

        2. I do my ribs Memphis-style, which means I coat them with a dry rub, smoke them 5 hours or so, then baste with a finishing sauce near the end.

          I make the finishing sauce starting with plain canned tomato sauce, to which I add vinegar, beer, butter, hot sauce, and salt & pepper, and cook it down a bit to thicken.

          1 Reply
          1. re: BobB

            what a sciene bbq sauce is. I mean I've always known the controversy over the dry and the wet, but the mix of either is so precious!

          2. Almost always. I've never found a store-bought sauce that I love, though there is one locally bottled sauce that isn't too bad (Fat Boy's, I think is what it was called). I much prefer a spicy sauce too. I have a good, basic bbq sauce for chicken, but I haven't found one that's good for beef yet. I've always wanted to try Ina's recipe, just out of curiousity, the one that has hoisin, soy, etc., but it has SO many ingredients!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Katie Nell

              Well what I've noticed because I set up my own little tasting thing again. Is that this sauce I made taste so much fresher, or brighter.. yes maybe that't the word. I swear, last night I was eating it by the spoonfuls once it cooled. I used the stick to blend the garlic and onion so there is a lovely thickness to it. Originally, I think I was going for something thinner, I dunno, but you know how sauce is once it chills, it gets thicker. Still omg, it's delicous. We are such bbq snobs too. We drive to Murphys for our special "steak sauce" because we can't find it anywhere else. Well I think I can copy it now.
              ooooo and any sauce with hoisin mmmmm.... has my vote.Hoisin is wonderful with pork. There are just soooo many.
              Now for beef/steak, I really want one that is mustard based, so chefathome and I have to talk, because I want a really nice mustardy bbq sauce for steak. I can taste it, now I just have to make it. Ok now, so any help Katie Nell would be so welcomed!

              1. re: chef chicklet

                I agree regarding fresher tasting... maybe it's all the preservatives that bottled sauces have to use.

                I tried to find the Barefoot Contessa recipe online but I couldn't find it, so I'll just paraphrase it, in case you want to give it a try.

                1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
                1 T. minced garlic
                1/2 cup vegetable oil
                1 cup tomato paste
                1 cup cider vinegar
                1 cup honey
                1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
                1 cup dijon mustard
                1/2 cup soy sauce
                1 cup hoisin sauce
                2 T. chili powder
                1 T. ground cumin
                1/2 T. crushed red pepper flakes

                Saute onions and garlic in vegetable oil until translucent, about 10- 15 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes on low. She says it will last for months in the refrigerator- I still think I would need to cut it in half!

                1. re: Katie Nell

                  That one looks good too. and I like the chili powder, thanks for doing that.
                  You know what though. I used 1/2 cup measurements,and you saw the jar I ended up with, well thats and empty marinara jar so what is that a qt? Well its almost alll gone! I know were...pigs. My hubby was still talking about how good it tasted last night.

                  I'll tranfer the recipe I came uo with tomorrow..it's not like its a secret or anything,

                  1. re: Katie Nell

                    Ina's is good. I made it two summers ago and look forward to having some more...soon!

              2. Always make my own BBQ sauces, ketchups, mustards, etc. I have SOOOO many BBQ sauce recipes that I use but I can do some digging and post my favourites. There are 5 kinds in my fridge right now!

                3 Replies
                1. re: chefathome

                  I've always bought them too, and I would have up to 5-8 different ones in the fridge and when they get low, I mix them. Our preference isn't the usual store ones, like Kraft puts out. We prefer one that are different, and so that's sort of why I decided to make my own yesterday. I love the tart vinegar taste, my husband loves the thick sweet smokey ones with fruit. The ones we've been buying are pretty expensive. Forget that!

                  Anyway this base is really good, I mean I am happy eating as is, but I can add to it if I want, like a smokey chipotle and then for fruit blackberry, peach, apple anything I want. The rubs too, I need to make those also.
                  And thank you for your kind comments about my photos!!! I'm always adding to it, so feel free to drop by anytime!

                  1. re: chefathome

                    Mustard??? I want to hear more about your mustard, would you start a thread to discuss? And ketchup I bet there would probably be interest to.... I'm just sayin'....

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      OK - I'll start a thread on mustards and ketchups. Am working on dinner right now so will pull out some recipes later this evening!

                      Oh, rubs - aren't they just the best thing? Right now I have at least 5 rubs in my big fat spice drawer. Have you ever made sort of a rub (well, actually more like a sprinkle!! :) with dried chipotles and orange zest? I add a bit of that to my sauces, too, when I want some smokiness.

                      I'll check back on your photos - I am so very impressed! That is something I do not know how to do. Funny thing - before I went to cooking school I taught computer classes! That was ages ago, though, and things certainly have changed...

                  2. Love the photos, by the way! Very nice looking family, not to mention some really yummy-looking food! :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chefathome

                      your so kind, you really would be suprised at how easy downloading photos is.There are many sites for around $25 a year that acts like an electronic photo album. That way family and friends all over the world have access to your photos. After losing all my photos on my computer when it crashed I was happy that I had been using that service. As you can see the ones of the baby are irreplaceable. We burn cds to back up now too.

                    2. I make my own bbq rubs and bbq sauces. I started out with Ray Lampe's rub and sauce recipes and modified them to my own tastes.

                      Big Time BBQ Rub

                      Big Time BBQ Sauce

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Antilope

                        Thank you antlope, my husband prefers rubs. So I will check this out. I like them, I guess I just haven't had one that rocks my world yet. But I'll check this out. Rubs are good on roasted chicken, adding nice texture and flavor. thanks for the links!

                      2. I made a really nice one last weekend for pork ribs which had bourbon in it. I used half of it as a glaze, and half as a sauce. People raved.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: greedygirl

                          Bourbon seems to work itself into a lot of things, and I've never coojked with it!
                          I am not a bourbon drinker,but I could always get one of those small bottles.I'm sure dh would love this, thanks!

                        2. chef c, try dipping baby carrots in your sauce for snackin'......kick it up with a good shake of texas pete hot sauce.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: alkapal

                            oh yea, the sweetness of the carrot with the tangy sauce...I put tabasco in it,i don't think I have seen Texas Pete alkapal, I'll look for it..

                            1. re: chef chicklet

                              look for this: http://www.texaspete.com/product_hot_...

                              has flavor, not just heat and vinegar. frank's hot sauce is just as good -- if not actually better -- than texas pete. maybe you can find frank's: http://www.franksredhot.com/recipe/fr...

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Thanks for that I will look for it, they have to have it.

                            2. My favorite sauce for baby back ribs definitely isn't a traditional BBQ sauce, and was a product of being stuck on an island where the only BBQ sauce available was generic Kraft.

                              I take a can of mangos in juice and toss it in the blender till smooth. Pour it in a saucepan, add a healthy dose of habanero hot sauce for heat, fresh lime juice for tang, and a pinch of salt. Bring it to a simmer and reduce till it's good and thick, then baste it one the ribs!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: bex109

                                That sounds fantastic! I love simple stuff that tastes great.

                                1. re: bex109

                                  That sure does! and a great idea for the pureed mangoes in my feezer.I never throw fruit out, Just pure it and add lemon. Freeze.

                                2. depends. if the meat is top notch, i prefer to let *that* be the star of the show - my goal is to complement the flavor of the meat rather than mask it. otherwise, i might as well just make chili!

                                  as such, in terms of tomato vs. vinegar, i lean towards vinegar based, but still pretty simple - i reduce vinegar with salt, black & red pepper, melt in a stick of butter, and baste every half hour or so. near the end i'll add either brown sugar or ketchup for a light glaze/caramelizing and baste again with about 10 minutes to go.

                                  for chicken, a simple rice wine/minced garlic marinade. maybe a little rosemary.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: barryc

                                    very close to mine, but there is both but I reduced it all day, so there was not that tomatoey taste to it. I didn't mean to not post the recipe, I just was being lazy. I know some can ovewhelm. But then that's why I do like certain sauces with one meat and others with others... ok its 4 am!

                                  2. 2C Ketchup
                                    1/3C Brown Sugar
                                    1/4C White Vinegar
                                    1/4C Worcestershire
                                    1/4C Lemon Juice
                                    1/3C Bacon Drippings
                                    1/2t Onion Powder
                                    1/2t Cayenne

                                    Just combine all ingredients and simmer 15 minutes. Then use or can. I usually switch butter for the bacon fat for chicken. I like it a bit hotter so I go with a full t. of cayenne.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: garfish

                                      OH NO FAIR!!!

                                      Bacon drippings!!!!
                                      And the Winner IS Garfish!

                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                        Lol. Both my parents were from the South. They're gone now but their legacy lives on in that mason jar of bacon drippings in the fridge.

                                      2. re: garfish

                                        garfish, thanks for the recipe. can white vinegar be replaced with apple cider (1:1)? i am making a bbq sauce for a pork shoulder leftovers...

                                        great discussion - thank you everybody!!

                                      3. I have wanted to reply, but keep forgetting to - yes and with pork I added some apple cider to any of these and reduced it - marvelous!

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: PaulaT

                                          I used apple cider vinegar, because I wanted some twang, but I'll bet that's a tasty sauce with the cider!

                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                            wish I could claim it as my own completely, but it hit me when I was a restaurant and they 'marinated' the pork chops with apple slices and apple cider - thought it was delicious and figured it would make a great BBQ sauce...I was right.

                                        2. I make a BBQ sauce for baby backs with peach preserves and Southern Comfort, among other ingredients. I know it sounds weird, but the Southern Comfort really is good in this sauce (although I won't drink the stuff - too much of it in college). When I have them, I use mango preserves rather than the peach, but both sauces get rave reviews from everyone. When on the Mainland I can never find mango jam or jelly, so stick with the peach.

                                          1. BBQ sauce is easy. My kids wanted some sauce for short ribs. I just knew I had a bottle in the pantry.Nope nothing. So I'm looking for something and there in the fridge is ketchup well thats a start. So into the pan it goes on low heat a nice dash of onion powder and of course brown sugar. If I had some liquid smoke I would have added that. I did add worchester sauce. It was better than store bought and quick for what I needed. And I got rave reviews!!!!!

                                            1. Tagging on to this 2 year old thread...

                                              I love making my own seasoning blends, sauces, and other condiments rather than using store bought. The salt amount can be regulated as well as other ingredients such as sweetenings. In the past I've made a variety of different barbecue sauces but my current favorite is from the cookbook, Bon Appetit Y'All by Virginia Willis: Mama's Barbecue Sauce, Pg. 285...

                                              Unsalted butter, ketchup, finely chopped sweet onion, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, Dijon, brown sugar, Kosher salt & FGBpepper are all combined in a saucepan, brought to the boil, then simmered for about 30 minutes. Once again, taste for seasoning and add more S & P if necessary. Ms. Willis says it will last for months covered in a fridge buy it's usually gone within a few days.

                                              1. My husband grew up in Southwestern Georgia, home of a mustard-based BBQ sauce. For a while we were able to actually purchase something in a jar that was close to what he wanted, but then they started to add tons of corn syrups to the jar and it went downhill.

                                                We are now making our own rub with freshly ground spices and the sauce to mop it with at home, from scratch. Love controlling the amount of salt and sugar. The bonus is two-fold. What we make at home costs a fraction of the store-bought sauce and both the rub and sauce taste so much better! There was some trial and error, but we are very happy with the unique flavors that we have created.

                                                1. I always make my own bbq sauce!! As I've posted on chowhound before, I can't have much salt at all (400-1000mg per day), so I just make almost everything sauce-like.

                                                  I'm not good with recipes, I'm better with just throwing things together.

                                                  I most always use ground allspice, lots of ground mustard, tomato paste, molasses, ground cumin, black pepper, ground white pepper, ground cayenne, vinegar and whatever comes to mind. Can't be made (in my weird opinion) without cumin, mustard, tomato paste, vinegar but there are tons of ways to make your own. I have a friend who has to use cherry cola and one who uses honey. I've tried it with brown sugar but, for me, molasses is the way to go.

                                                  1. If it's just my husband and I eating, then the answer is no. We lived in Texas and could always get our hands on good sauce like Sonny Bryans which is Dean Fearing's fave. However, when my husband would smoke ribs and chicken, we always made our own sauce and ribs. I used Chef Perry Lang's recipes and they are fantastic. Lots of depth and flavor. I haven't had bbq better than my husband's.

                                                    1. A few weeks back we were grilling something that would be good with bbq sauce, all we had was a bottle of Stubbs' that I didn't think was flavorful enough so I heated it up and in a drunken frenzy started adding things to it. I wish I could remember what-all I put in it because it became the best sauce either of us had ever tasted. I remember adding cherry preserves, apricot preserves, balsamic vinegar, some fish sauce for extra glutamate content, pepper, mirin, maybe some sun-dried tomato paste,that's about all I remember. But it was so good I couldn't believe it

                                                      It doesn't count as making your own sauce, but it sure tasted different when I was done with it. Just please don't call it semi-homemade. Whatserface never went to nearly as much trouble as I did with that sauce.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                        Using a bottled base sauce and then dressing it up to fit your fancy and skill has a proud pedigree. Lots of BBQ masters do it. We just proud you used our sauce for part of your inspiration.

                                                      2. Always! I can't stand bottled, for the most part. I always make this Memphis Barbeque Sauce that I found on Food.com a couple of years ago:

                                                        2 cups ketchup
                                                        1/2 cup brown sugar
                                                        1/4 cup cider vinegar
                                                        1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
                                                        1 tablespoon onion powder
                                                        1/2 teaspoon celery seed
                                                        1 teaspoon salt
                                                        2 teaspoons garlic powder
                                                        1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
                                                        1 tablespoon chili powder
                                                        1 tablespoon ground black pepper
                                                        2 teaspoons liquid smoke
                                                        3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
                                                        2 tablespoons canola oil

                                                        Basically, just throw it in a sauce pan, all but the oil. Simmer for 10 minutes or so, then whisk in the oil. SO good, I never use anything else. I do like to play around with the vinegar and the mustard though.