Homemade Bold & Smoky Barbecue Sauce: BBQ Sauce Recipe

Homemade Bold & Smoky Barbecue Sauce: BBQ Sauce Recipe

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If you're looking for simple, wholesome versions of ketchup, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, hot sauce, sauerkraut, and dipping sauces other than barbecue sauce, you can find them (and so much more) in our two books on homemade condiments and pantry staples. Restocking the Pantry (available for instant download) focuses on homemade condiments and The DIY Pantry (available at booksellers worldwide) focuses on both homemade condiments and DIY pantry staples.

Homemade Bold & Smoky Barbecue Sauce: BBQ Sauce Recipe

This BBQ sauce recipe is a long-time favorite of our family and the ONLY slow part about it is making the onion juice – and that takes all of five minutes, so this homemade barbecue sauce is well worth the effort!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Condiments & Pantry Staples
Cuisine: American


To make the onion juice:

  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons water

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup blackstrap molasses
  • ¼ teaspoon hot sauce, more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted coconut oil


  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Optional ingredients for fermenting the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons whey OR sauerkraut brine, optional


  • Make the onion juice. Place the onion in a blender with the water and blend until slushy. An immersible blender makes this especially easy. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth, squeezing it until you obtain 1/2 cup juice.
  • Whisk wet ingredients. Whisk onion juice with ketchup and other wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • Cook the sauce to thicken and blend flavors. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in garlic and spices and cook until fragrant. Whisk in wet ingredient mixture and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the mixture thickens, about 20-30 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving.
  • Ferment the sauce (optional). To give the sauce a probiotic kick, stir in the whey or sauerkraut brine and let sit at room temperature for 1-2 days, then refrigerate.
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