13 BBQ Sauces You Can Make at Home

11 bbq sauces you can make at home

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The “secret sauce” that you grab off the shelf at the local food store might be tasty, but it is not actually a secret at all, let’s be honest.

But if you make your own barbecue sauce, you can create something worth guarding with your life.

Whether you are after a sauce that is spicy, sweet, or somewhere in between, this list will provide you with plenty of ideas to create something unique for your next barbecue.

The best homemade barbecue sauce recipes

1) Our own general-purpose BBQ sauce

homemade bbq sauce

This is our go-to, good on everything barbecue sauce. It’s easy to make, doesn’t require any complex ingredients and hits the perfect balance between sweet and spicy.

Best of all it’s easy to tweak so if you like a little more kick in your sauce you can just add extra cayenne.

This sauce will stay good in the fridge for several weeks (and I’ve been known to use some after several months).


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 ½ cup apple juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Check out the complete recipe here.

2) Meathead Goldwyn’s Classic Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce

Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce

When people talk about barbecue sauce, most are thinking of Kansas City style sauce. So mastering a great Kansas City style sauce is the perfect place to start if you want to make sauce at home.

This sauce has layers of sweetness, tartness, and heat. There is also room to add some smoke flavor as well if you are a fan.


  • 2 tablespoons American chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup yellow ballpark-style mustard
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup steak sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 1/4 to 3/4 cup honey (see note below)
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (you can use light brown sugar if that’s all you have)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 medium cloves of garlic, crushed or minced

The high acid content of this sauce means you can store it for months in the fridge, so get the full recipe here, make a big ol’ batch and you will have your own sauce at the ready whenever you need it.

3) White Alabama Sauce (Perfect With Chicken, Turkey and Pork)

a jar of alabama white sauce with a spoon in it and ingredients around the outside

The beauty of making your own sauces is you can create something delicious that other folks may never even have thought was a ‘thing’.

White barbecue sauce is a perfect example. The people who live in northern Alabama have been making this delicious sauce all this time, while some of us never even knew white barbecue sauce even existed!

Tangy and creamy, this sauce is commonly served with smoked chicken but can be used to baste your meat toward the end of a cook and is also fantastic as a dipping sauce.

In fact, your options aren’t limited to meat—use it as a dip for chips or as a salad dressing.

You can get the recipe here.

4) Competition Worthy Barbecue Sauce (It’s So Good It’s Still Kinda Secret)

Award Winning BBQ Sauce Recipe

A sauce very similar to this one has won competitions. So the creator of the recipe isn’t prepared to give away the exact recipe, and who can blame them. They have kindly shared the “gist” of it though, so you can go on to create a winning recipe yourself.

This recipe provides the perfect platform from which to branch into different styles of sauces. Simply dial up or down the amount of cayenne, vinegar or honey, and brown sugar.

Whichever direction your taste buds take you, this recipe will provide you a well balanced base from which to begin your adventure.


  • 1c Ketchup
  • 2/3c Brown Sugar
  • 1/2c Beer
  • 1/2c Soda
  • 1/3c Real Maple Syrup or Molasses
  • 6oz Tomato Paste
  • 3 tbs Mustard
  • 3 tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbs Sea Salt
  • 1 tbs Dry Mustard
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tbs Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbs Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne

Grab the recipe here.

5) Homemade Cranberry BBQ Sauce

sliced turkey on a plate with cranberry sauce

This Cranberry sauce is made with fresh cranberries on your Smoker or Grill.

The flavors are fresh and tart with a little or a lot of heat from some hot sauce.

It’s a great condiment to have on hand because it not only is an awesome side for turkey or ham but goes great with pork or on a grilled cheese sandwhich.


  • 12 oz bag cranberries
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp Worstershire Sauce
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 orange juice only
  • ½ cup brown sugar

You can get the recipe here.

6) Vinegary Carolina Barbecue Sauce

Carolina barbecue sauce

If you are a fan of what people from the Carolinas call ‘barbeque’ (pulled pork with a vinegar based sauce) then this is sure to be your go to recipe.

It is easy and cheap to make, and once you have made one batch, you may never buy barbecue sauce from the store again.

If you have not eaten barbecue Carolina style barbecue before, then I strongly suggest you give it a try. Why not this weekend?


  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Here is the recipe. You may never think of barbecuing in the same way again.

7) Chocolate Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Chocolate chipotle barbecue sauce

Don’t be deceived by the word ‘chocolate’ in the title. This is not some gimmicky sweet sauce that is nice but… not very barbecue.

The addition of chocolate makes this sauce thick and rich and compliments the spices. It is very grown up, and it doesn’t taste like chocolate (apologies if that is what you wanted).

You can use this sauce on all meats, but it really stands out when used with chicken and pork. Try it out as a dip for your chips as well while you are at it.


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons chipotle chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle of beer
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt

If you still can’t imagine how this works, check out the recipe and give it a go.

8) Kansas Style Sauce – Perfect for Pulled Pork

Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce for Pulled Pork or Other BBQ

We have already featured a Kansas style sauce in this list. But the beauty of barbecue sauce is that there is still a lot of room for difference, even among sauces of the same ‘style’.

This sauce has been carefully crafted so as not to be overpoweringly sweet, as can happen sometimes with Kansas style sauces.

This recipe goes particularly well with pulled pork. But you may think its a winner with some other meat. The fun is in the experimentation.


  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 can (15 ounce) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons dark molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons steak sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

If you are after a Kansas style sauce, why not give this well balanced recipe a try, you can get it here.

9) Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce (If You Are a Fan of Sweet and Tangy Sauces, Give This One a Go)

Carolina mustard bbq sauce

Similar to the Carolina mustard sauce we mentioned earlier in our roundup, this sauce is vinegar based. But, for those who love an extra hit of tang, this recipe delivers with the addition of mustard.

This sauce had its roots in South Carolina but has made its way north. And no wonder! The sweet, tangy, golden colored sauce is a great addition to pork or chicken.


  • 3/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

You can almost taste the mustardy flavor just looking at the yellow color of this sauce. Grab the recipe here and test for yourself if it tastes just as good as it looks.

10) Whiskey Peach Barbecue Sauce

Whiskey peach barbecue sauce

This sauce barely needs an introduction, as the name itself says a lot about the sweet, spicy flavor you can expect.

This sauce is versatile, but a great place to start is to try it with chicken, ribs, or as a dip.

While you may think this sauce will just be sweet sweet sweet, the whisky adds a savory edge, and the spices thrown in the mix mean this sauce comes out really well balanced.


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup peach preserves
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup whiskey
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey’s Sweet BBQ Rub

See for yourself how this mix works by trying it out. You can find the recipe here.

11) Texas Style Barbecue Sauce

Texas style bbq sauce

You can travel all over America by trying different regional sauces, and it is time to pay a visit to Texas. Texas style barbecue sauce is famous for being a perfect mix of sweet and heat, with a tomato base.

This recipe should keep in the fridge for around 2 weeks, so make a big batch and enjoy barbecuing whenever the mood takes you, knowing you have a great sauce on hand.

You can slather this sauce onto anything really, and it is so tasty you will be slapping it on thick.


  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Amp up the cayenne pepper if you like things really spicy, or tone it down if that’s not your style. This recipe leaves you plenty of room to move.

12) Quick and Easy Barbecue Sauce

Emerils quick and easy barbecue sauce

This is another Carolina style sauce (can you tell we are fans?)

The standout of this recipe, however, is that it is so quick and easy to prepare!

Being Carolina style, it has the characteristic tang, and it also has a kick. So you won’t be sacrificing taste for speed.

But seriously, all you have to do to prepare this sauce is put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. That is it. In fact, I think it is easier to make this sauce than it is to drive to the store and buy some.


  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Get the recipe here.

13) Apple Butter Sauce (Good Enough to Eat by the Spoonful)

Apple butter bbq sauce

This is another sauce that is surprisingly easy to make and undeniably tasty.

A balanced sauce that is equal parts sweet, spicy and smokey, it will be a great complement to anything you cook up – burgers, pulled pork, chicken. Or you could just eat it straight out of the jar!

The apple adds the perfect amount of sweetness, along with some interest. Some cayenne, paprika and mustard add spice, smoke and tang and already you can see the beginnings of a well balanced and versatile sauce.


  • 1¼ cups apple butter
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tsp liquid smoke
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 cup (about 1 medium) onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp paprika

Check out the recipe here, and make sure you lick the spoon.

Wrapping It Up

Making a delicious barbecue sauce is not hard, nor will it eat up a lot of your time.

But it will yield great results.

Most of these sauces will keep in the fridge, and you can customize them until you have your very own ‘secret recipe’ to guard with your life.

What do your think of our list? Are there any other styles of sauce you would like to see added? Make sure you let us know in the comments section below. And if you enjoyed this article, be sure to share!

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