Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce
Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce

I'm about to utter some barbecue blasphemy here--I've never been a big fan of barbecue sauce! There, I've said it and I can only imagine the legions of BBQ masters howling over their pits at the profanity of my statement! But what I should have said is until now...until this wonderful sticky spicy concoction to which store bought brands can't hold a hog tailed candle!!

For years we've always bought various store brands of barbecue sauce that have left me decidedly underwhelmed. Some have that smoky flavor which I'm not too fond of, some are too sweet, some too salty and all are filled with lots of artificial stuff which I try to avoid as much as possible. I don't know why it never occurred to me to make my own, but sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake. The good news is that this has now been remedied and with the official BBQ season rapidly approaching, I now have a huge jar of this amazing sauce all ready to go whenever the BBQ urge strikes. It's filled with all sorts of pantry staples--ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, etc and is a little bit sweet, a little bit tangy and has a definite kick to it without being too overwhelming. Plus, it's pretty easy to make and will last for months in your refrigerator. As I'm writing this, my husband is slathering some on chicken and firing up the grill..YUM!

Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce

Makes about 6 1/2 cups--enough to fill two large mason jars

Prep Time: 45 minutes (only about 15 minutes of active time)


  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butte or 1 cup vegetable oil (I wouldn't use olive)

  • 1 large sweet onion, very finely chopped

  • 2 1/2 cups ketchup

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar

  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

  • Juice of 2 lemons

  • 1-2 tablespoons black pepper (stick to 1 tablespoon if you want this on the less spicy side)

  • Pinch or two of sea salt

The Recipe

1.  In a medium saucepan, melt the butter (or oil) over medium high heat. Add the onions and simmer for 5-7 minutes until onions are tender and translucent. Add the ketchup. vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar, lemon juice and pepper. Stir to combine.

2.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat to low and simmer at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes until the sauce is well combined and the flavors have had a chance to meld together. Taste and add salt and more pepper if necessary. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Sauce will last several months. Just give it a little stir before you use it.


Note:  Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, Y'all by Virginia Willis


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