Barbecue Sauce Recipe

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Thick and rich, traditional barbecue sauce recipe with an amazing deep and sweet flavor. Molasses and dark brown sugar, plus 10 spices make this a mouth-watering sauce for meat. You may also love our rib marinade.

pulled pork sandwich on a pretzel bun

Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipe

What are the ingredients in homemade bbq sauce?

The base ingredients of most traditional barbecue sauces are ketchup, chili sauce, brown sugar, molasses, tomato sauces and a touch of smoke seasoning. I asked you all over on Instagram what your must-have ingredient in homemade sauce was and molasses and liquid smoke definitely won!

Along with the base ingredients you can add spices as you wish. Garlic, onion and chili powders, paprika, celery seed, cinnamon, salt and peppers, plus a little ground mustard. And don’t forget a pad of butter. It adds a smooth richness to the sauce.

How do I make barbecue sauce?

Barbecue sauce is really easy to throw together, but you’ll need to have some time to let it simmer on the stove. Put all of the ingredients on a large saucepan and set the stove to medium. Stir everything together well, then allow the mixture to get hot (stirring occasionally). Once the mixture gets heated through (and before it boils), turn the heat to low and allow the sauce to cook for at least 20 minutes. You can allow the sauce to cook for up to 2 hours if you like a really thick sauce. Just be sure the heat is set to low and that you mix it often so the sauce doesn’t burn on.

homemade bbq sauce in a mason jar

BBQ Sauce for Pulled Pork

We LOVE our Traeger grill and often smoke pork for pulled pork sandwiches. We serve a variety of sauces. Our favorites are this homemade barbecue sauce and Carolina mustard sauce.

Best BBQ Sauce

This is our favorite recipe for an all-around barbecue sauce. It’s sweet, with a tangy vinegar base. It’s not too spicy, but when I’m making it with my husband in mind, I bring up the cayenne pepper a bit to add some spice! Tweak the spices to be just how you like them, and you can even reduce the amount of sugar if you’d like.

What to serve at a BBQ?

bbq sauce for pulled pork sandwiches
bbq sauce for pulled pork sandwiches

Barbecue Sauce Recipe

5 from 7 votes
Thick and rich, traditional barbecue sauce recipe with an amazing deep and sweet flavor. Molasses and dark brown sugar, plus 10 spices make this a mouth-watering sauce for meat. 
Servings 22
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

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  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons hickory-flavored liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix together all of the ingredients. 
  • Once the mixture heats through, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  • If you’d like a thicker sauce, simmer uncovered for longer, up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Use the barbecue sauce as a dipping sauce, serve over pulled pork or brush on meat in the last 10 minutes of grilling.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. This also freezes well.



The calories shown are based on the recipe making 5-6 cups of barbecue sauce (depending on how much you cook it down). Serving size is ¼ cup sauce. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate.


Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 512mg | Potassium: 453mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 580IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1.5mg
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Calories 140
Keyword barbecue, bbq, grilling
homemade bbq sauce
About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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5 from 7 votes (5 ratings without comment)
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3 years ago

Can you tell me what you mean for chili sauce?

3 years ago

5 stars
When you say tomato sauce, what do you mean?? Can you give an example of one?? Also, can it be made without chili sauce?

4 years ago

5 stars
So good with the pork shoulder I made on the Traeger for pulled pork sandwiches that my son was drinking it straight up out of the dipping cup.