Homemade Smoky Barbecue Sauce: A Flavorful Condiment for Grilling

Homemade smoky barbecue sauce adds depth and richness to grilled meats, sandwiches, and more. This recipe combines sweet, tangy, and smoky flavors to create a versatile sauce that’s perfect for basting, dipping, or drizzling. Whether you’re slathering it on ribs, brushing it on chicken, or serving it as a dipping sauce for fries, this barbecue sauce is sure to elevate any dish with its deliciously complex flavor.

Preparation Time:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Total time: 30 minutes


  • 1 cup (240ml) ketchup
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) molasses
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for heat)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water (adjust to desired consistency)


1. Prepare the Base:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the ketchup, apple cider vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper (if using), salt, and black pepper. Set aside.

2. Cook the Aromatics:

  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the finely chopped onion and minced garlic to the saucepan.
  • Sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

3. Combine and Simmer:

  • Add the prepared sauce base to the saucepan with the cooked aromatics.
  • Stir to combine all ingredients thoroughly.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened to your desired consistency.
  • If the sauce becomes too thick, you can add water, a tablespoon at a time, to reach the desired consistency.

4. Adjust Seasoning:

  • Taste the barbecue sauce and adjust the seasoning if needed. Add more salt, pepper, or spices to suit your taste preferences.

5. Cool and Store:

  • Remove the saucepan from heat and let the barbecue sauce cool to room temperature.
  • Once cooled, transfer the sauce to a clean, airtight jar or bottle for storage.

6. Serve and Enjoy:

  • Use the smoky barbecue sauce immediately as a basting sauce for grilled meats, a dipping sauce for fries, or a condiment for sandwiches.
  • Store any leftover barbecue sauce in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Cooking Tips:

  • For a smoother sauce, you can purée the cooked sauce using an immersion blender or regular blender before storing.
  • Adjust the level of sweetness by adding more or less brown sugar or molasses according to your taste preferences.
  • For a spicier barbecue sauce, increase the amount of cayenne pepper or add a dash of hot sauce.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe:

  • Customizable Flavor: Adjust the ingredients and seasonings to suit your taste preferences and create your perfect barbecue sauce.
  • Versatile Usage: Use this sauce as a marinade, basting sauce, dipping sauce, or condiment to enhance the flavor of a wide variety of dishes.
  • Homemade Goodness: Homemade barbecue sauce allows you to control the quality of ingredients and customize the flavor to your liking.


Homemade smoky barbecue sauce is a flavorful condiment that adds depth and richness to grilled meats, sandwiches, and more. With its perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and smoky flavors, this sauce is sure to become a staple in your kitchen. Whip up a batch today and elevate your favorite dishes with the deliciousness of homemade barbecue sauce!

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