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BBQ Sauce Recipe

4.75 from 16 votes
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posted: 06/15/19

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This BBQ Sauce Recipe is easy to throw together and absolutely delicious! Fast to make and with ingredients you already have on hand, you are going to make this homemade bbq sauce all the time.

Pair this BBQ sauce recipe with my Chicken Rub for the perfect grilled bbq chicken.

up close of bbq sauce recipe in a wide mouth ball jar with it dripping down the side and grilled bbq chicken in the background

The other day, I shared with my my Chicken Rub recipe, which is a great dry rub that makes chicken on the grill so flavorful. And if you wanted to stop with just that, you absolutely could. But! If you don’t, I have for you this amazing homemade bbq sauce that compliments the rub perfectly. Made with ingredients that I bet you already have, this sauce comes together in under 30 minutes and is perfect for all your summer grilling!

How to Make BBQ Sauce

  1. Combine Ingredients: Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil: After being over medium heat for a few minutes, large bubbles will start to appear.
  3. Reduce to a simmer: You should turn the heat down after it boils and allow it to simmer, seeing only intermittent bubbles.
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes: This allows the sauce to thicken and the flavors to develop.

For the full instructions and measurements be sure to see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

  • brown sugar
  • ketchup
  • apple cider vinegar (see note)
  • paprika
  • onion powder
  • black pepper
  • worcestershire sauce
  • kosher salt
READER REVIEW

“This is the only BBQ sauce you will ever need, better than store bought and so easy to do!”

brushing homemade bbq sauce recipe onto a chicken drumstick with an orange brush

How to Use This Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

Traditionally, bbq sauce is meant to go on the meat after it has been completely cooked. It isn’t really meant to be part of the cooking process. You can see this in the making of my Honey BBQ Ribs.

That said, I do have two recipes in which I use BBQ sauce as the part of the liquid for cooking, and they did in fact turn out amazing.

Can you guys tell that I have a thing for honey bbq?

Can You Use this BBQ Sauce as a Marinade?

You guys, I’m all about breaking rules. Especially when it comes to cooking. It should be a fun creative process that makes you really happy.

Generally speaking, no. You don’t use BBQ Sauce as a marinade. It goes on after the cooking has happened.

If you do want to use this bbq sauce recipe as a marinade, don’t allow the meat to sit for more than a half hour. There is quite a bit of vinegar in this recipe, which acts as an acid and will break down the meat. If you let it sit too long it will break down the meat too much.

rectangular white plate piled with chicken drumsticks covered in easy homemade bbq sauce recipe

Apple Cider Vinegar in BBQ Sauce

Speaking of vinegar, lets talk about it. The tang in this recipe comes from apple cider vinegar. In fact, in the 2 1/2 cups that this recipe makes, 1/2 a cup is vinegar. Plus you have the acidity of the ketchup.

That’s a lot of tang guys. I love the flavor of it. I think it balances the the sweetness and the smokiness of the other flavors perfectly. That said, if you are worried it will be too acidic, I would start with 1/4 cup, taste it and add more vinegar until you get to taste you want or 1/2 cup, whichever comes first.

How Long Can You Store BBQ Sauce

The vinegar and sugar in this recipe both act as natural preservatives, so this easy homemade bbq sauce recipe should keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Things to keep in mind:

  • It should be stored in an air tight container.
  • Keep it in the refrigerator.
  • If the sauce looks as though it has separated, it should be tossed.
  • Obviously if there are signs of mold it should be discarded.
  • When using this homemade bbq sauce avoid brushing cooked meat, and then dipping the brush back in the container, introducing bacteria to the sauce. Rather, pour some from the jar into a bowl and brush from there.

Can this Recipe be Canned?

This recipe has a high acidity level and has not been tested with canning.

spoon dipping into a mason jar full of easy homemade bbq sauce

Other Great Homemade Recipes

If you try this recipe, come back and let me know what you think! I love hearing from you!

up close of bbq sauce recipe in a wide mouth ball jar with it dripping down the side and grilled bbq chicken in the background
4.75 from 16 votes

BBQ Sauce Recipe

Serves: 10 servings
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
This BBQ Sauce Recipe is easy to throw together and absolutely delicious! Fast to make and with ingredients you already have on hand, you are going to make this homemade bbq sauce all the time.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar packed
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Instructions

  • Combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serving: 0.25cup Calories: 167kcal (8%) Carbohydrates: 43g (14%) Protein: 1g (2%) Sodium: 577mg (25%) Potassium: 177mg (5%) Sugar: 40g (44%) Vitamin A: 700IU (14%) Vitamin C: 1.7mg (2%) Calcium: 340mg (34%) Iron: 0.4mg (2%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
up close of bbq sauce recipe in a wide mouth ball jar with it dripping down the side and grilled bbq chicken in the background

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BBQ Sauce Recipe

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions

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  1. JJ says

    Just made this for some oven baked BBQ chicken, that I want to be a little special, and HOLY. SMOKES. I used half the vinegar for my preference; and because I like a slight heat, I subbed 1 tablespoon of the ketchup w/ a half Tbsp each of Thai chili paste & Thai sweet chili sauce – this is the perfect blend of sweet, tangy, spicy, and so thick! Next time I might try a tiny touch of liquid smoke too, just for kicks :) Thanks so much for this recipe – never going back to bottled!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Glad you liked it.

  2. Jacqueline Buchanan says

    There are 4 of us in the household so I’m inquiring as to how much would be good for us when baking about 6-8 drumsticks?

    • Lisa Longley says

      The full batch of this would definitely be enough. Though you could probably get away with making a half batch, I would encourage you to make the whole thing because I think you will really like it and enjoy it on other things too.

  3. Em says

    Hey!I’m super excited to make this as my daughter has multiple allergies and store bought bbq sauce has been a bit scary for us to introduce. My question is that I’m going to be using this in a crockpot recipe and since this will be cooking for 8 hours with the meat do you think I need to follow the directions and bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 min before adding to the crockpot or can I just mix all ingredients and throw in to cook with the recipe. I’m figuring you can but I figured I’d see if you’ve done that before with success or not :)

    • Lisa Longley says

      I actually just developed a recipe using this sauce in a crockpot with meat and you don’t need to boil it first. It’s not as thick, but it gives the meat a great flavor!

  4. Valerie says

    4 stars
    Love the zing of the vinegar! I added 1 tsp. ground mustard and 1 tsp. chili powder. Not major changes, but I like those flavors in BBQ sauce.

  5. Chris says

    5 stars
    This is the only BBQ sauce you will ever need, better than store bought and so easy to do!

    • Lisa Longley says

      So glad to hear you liked it, Chris!

  6. Paula says

    5 stars
    This was awesome! Followed some of the suggestions and cut the ACV in half and used a 1/4 cp Thai sweet chili sauce for some of the ketchup as it like sweet spicy. So good and easy! No more store bought for me!

  7. VIKKI says

    (CAME OUT SO GOOD. WE LOVE IT.

    • Lisa Longley says

      So glad to hear this Vicki!

  8. Erin says

    I Would like to try another BBQ sauce but My boyfriend has issue of “sweet baby rays” sauce. I’m hoping you have a whole different of bbq sauce.
    Thanks
    Erin

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hi Erin! I you are asking if this is better than Sweet Baby Rays, I would say that it definitely is. It has a deeper flavor and is not as sweet in my opinion.

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