Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce

posted in: Dressings & Condiments        date:

Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce

Since this is a food blog, it will come as no surprise to you to find out that I like to DIY ingredients and foods that some people might normally buy. (See: caramel sauce, peppermint simple syrup, hamburger buns, granola bars and even pasta.) What can I say? I like doing things the homemade way. This barbecue sauce is no exception, and I guarantee you you’ll be hesitant to go back to the store-bought kind once you see how easy and delicious this one is.

This sauce is the perfect combination of sweet and tangy (you know, in case the title didn’t give it away). I’m not a fan of those cloyingly sweet barbecue sauces, but I also don’t like ones that taste like a bottle of vinegar. This one is the best of both worlds and is a great recipe to have because it will please almost anyone. It takes less than 20 minutes to make this sauce, and I promise it’s time well spent. You can do so many different things with it (I’ve got a couple recipes to share soon), and it keeps in the refrigerator for a week. Eric was recently away on business for several days, and I made pretty much every dinner around this barbecue sauce. This time of year can be hectic, so I’m planning to make a jar of this to have on hand to toss with shredded chicken on the nights I know will be particularly crazy. Also, if you’re gifting anyone a grill for Christmas, this could be a fun little extra to include.

Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce

  • YIELD: about 1½ cups
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered

  • ¼ cup water

  • 1 cup ketchup

  • 5 tablespoons molasses

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 1½ teaspoons liquid smoke (optional but recommended)

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1

    Place the onion and water in a food processor, and pulse for about 30 seconds, or until the mixture is slushy. Press through a fine mesh strainer into a large measuring cup. You should have ½ cup of liquid. Discard the solids.

    Add the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, liquid smoke, hot sauce and pepper to the onion water. Whisk until well combined.

  • 2

    Heat oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Once shimmering, add the garlic, chili powder, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the liquid mixture and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Cool to room temperature before serving or storing. Sauce can be refrigerated, in an airtight container, for up to 1 week.

  • Love this! Cook’s Illustrated always does such a great job. I’m with you- I like a nice, balanced BBQ sauce but most of the ones I find are too sweet or too vinegar-y. This looks perfect! I can’t wait to try it!

  • Homemade barbecue sauce is one of my favorite tricks! It’s SO much better than store-bought, it’s not even funny. I usually use the classic Joy of Cooking recipe–but this version sounds like a perfect way to mix it up. 🙂

  • This is definitely an improvement on my BBQ sauce recipe, which is mostly ketchup and sugar 😉 I look forward to trying.

  • Yum! This sounds delicious. I think I may make this for my dad as part of his Christmas gift 🙂 Thanks for the great idea!