Impress your Guests with this Classic BBQ Sauce Recipe

Are you looking for a way to spice up your Southern-style cooking? Are you tired of the same old barbecue sauce that you find at every local restaurant? Then look no further! I present to you the ultimate Southern Barbecue Sauce recipe.

As a chef specializing in Southern cuisine, I can guarantee that this recipe will elevate your dishes to the next level. This barbecue sauce is perfect for marinating meat or as a dipping sauce. The combination of sweet and tangy flavors of brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce will leave your taste buds yearning for more.

What’s even better is that this recipe is flexible, allowing for substitutions and variations to fit your preferred taste. Whether you prefer a vinegar-based or tomato-based sauce, this recipe can turn into whatever suits your fancy.

So go ahead and try this homemade BBQ sauce with ingredients easily found in any pantry. Trust me; it will soon become your go-to sauce for all your Southern-style dishes.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Barbecue Sauce
Southern Barbecue Sauce

If you are a fan of Southern-style cuisine, then you have to try this delectable Southern Barbecue Sauce recipe. With its perfect blend of sweetness, tanginess, and smokiness, it is the ultimate sauce for any barbecue meal.

What makes this sauce so special is its unique combination of flavors. It includes classic Southern ingredients like brown sugar, cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce that give it that distinctive taste. Moreover, the hints of dry mustard and lemon juice add an extra zest and tang to the sauce.

One of the great things about this recipe is how versatile it is. While its tomato-based flavor profile makes it perfect for classic Southern BBQ dishes, it also pairs well with other meats like pulled pork or grilled chicken. You won’t be able to resist dipping your meat in this flavorful golden concoction.

Another reason you’ll love this recipe is that it’s effortless to make. With easy-to-find ingredients and straightforward cooking directions, anyone can whip up a batch of homemade BBQ sauce in no time.

Don’t settle for less than the best – embrace the bold flavors and rich history of Southern barbeque culture by making this delicious sauce a part of your next meal. Your taste buds will thank you.

Ingredient List

 This sauce will make your taste buds sing with happiness!
This sauce will make your taste buds sing with happiness!

Before we can start cooking our southern barbecue sauce, let’s get our ingredients ready! Here is what you’ll need:

Sauce Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Olive oil (for sautéing)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 medium-size onion, chopped
  • 2 medium-size celery stalks, chopped

This recipe makes a tomato-based bbq sauce that has both sweet and tangy flavors with just the right amount of smokiness. You can expect a hint of tartness from the apple cider vinegar and the freshness of the lemon juice. The sweetness will come from the brown sugar with a bit of heat added by the dry mustard and black pepper.

The Recipe How-To

 Add a little bit of southern charm to your grilling game!
Add a little bit of southern charm to your grilling game!

Now that we have the ingredients ready, it’s time to start cooking our Southern Barbecue Sauce. This recipe has a vinegar-based approach which makes it different from tomato-based sauces commonly found in Kansas City or Memphis-style barbecue. But don’t worry, the result is still as delicious and flavor-packed as any barbecue sauce out there.

Step 1: Sauté the Vegetables

Before anything else, we need to sauté our celery and onion with olive oil until they become soft and translucent. This will bring out their sweet flavors and lend a subtle vegetable taste to our sauce. Sauteing is an important first step in making sure all ingredients are cooked perfectly and consistently.

Step 2: Combine Ingredients

After sautéing the vegetables, add all the other ingredients to your pot — ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, some lemon juice, dry mustard & salt, and pepper flakes if you like a spicy kick. Stir everything together until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

Step 3: Simmer & Wait

Once everything is mixed well, it’s time to bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat for at least an hour. However, if you have more time, it’s best to let it simmer for 2 hours or more. This will help all the flavors come together and make your sauce thicker and richer.

Step 4: Blend It Up or Leave It Chunky

After letting your sauce simmer for however long you decide, now is the time when you can customize the texture of your sauce based on personal preference. If you like a smooth and silky texture, blend up your sauce in a blender until it’s pureed nicely. But if you like your southern barbecue sauce chunky, leave it as it is and enjoy the delicious bits of veggies and spices.

After you achieve the perfect texture for your sauce, let it cool down and transfer to an airtight container. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or even freeze it if you want to make a bigger batch for later.

Now that you know how to make authentic and delicious Southern Barbecue Sauce, you can impress your dinner table with this sauce anytime.

Substitutions and Variations

 Nothing beats the tangy and sweet flavors of this classic sauce.
Nothing beats the tangy and sweet flavors of this classic sauce.

When it comes to making Southern Barbecue Sauce, there are a few different ingredients you can use to switch things up and create a unique twist on this classic recipe. Whether you’re looking for a way to reduce sugar or add some extra heat to your sauce, here are a few substitutions and variations you can try out:

– Reduce the sugar: If you want a barbecue sauce that’s less sweet, you can cut down on the brown sugar in this recipe. Start by using half of the suggested amount and see how it tastes. You can always add more if needed.

– Add some heat: If you prefer a spicier sauce, you can add some red pepper flakes or hot sauce to this recipe. Try adding 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes or a few dashes of hot sauce to start.

– Swap out the vinegar: This recipe calls for apple cider vinegar, but you could also use white vinegar or red wine vinegar instead. Each type of vinegar will give your sauce a slightly different flavor profile.

– Try different types of mustard: The dry mustard powder in this recipe gives the sauce a tangy flavor, but you could also experiment with using other types of mustard. For example, South Carolina-style barbecue sauces often use a combination of yellow mustard and apple cider vinegar.

– Mix up the ketchup: While many classic barbecue sauce recipes call for tomato-based ketchup, you could also use other types of fruit-based ketchup if you’re feeling adventurous. Pineapple ketchup or even pumpkin ketchup could add an interesting twist!

Overall, don’t be afraid to get creative and make this Southern Barbecue Sauce recipe your own. Experiment with different ingredients and ratios until you find the perfect flavor combination that suits your taste buds!

Serving and Pairing

 Bring the taste of the South to your backyard barbecues!
Bring the taste of the South to your backyard barbecues!

Southern barbecue sauce is a versatile condiment that can be served with a variety of meats and dishes. It adds a delightful tangy, smoky flavor to the meal, making it perfect for summertime cookouts or picnics. One of the best ways to serve southern barbecue sauce is as a dipping sauce for pulled pork, chicken, or beef brisket. Simply place the meat on a plate or in a sandwich, and have the sauce on the side for people to add as much as they like.

You can also use southern barbecue sauce as a marinade for your meats before grilling, baking or roasting. Brushing the sauce onto your meat frequently while cooking will give it an extra burst of flavor and allow it to caramelize beautifully on the outside.

Southern-style sides such as macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, baked beans complement BBQ dishes very well. Watermelon slices are another refreshing addition to serve with BBQ.

Pairing wine with barbecue dishes can be quite challenging. I suggest going with a red wine that has ripe fruit flavors like Zinfandel or Shiraz. However, keep in mind that barbecue sauces are usually tangy and sweet, so you don’t want your choice of wine to conflict with these flavors.

For beer lovers: wheat beers and light lagers pair well with BBQ dishes due to their crisp taste and low bitterness factor.

Lastly, remember to have Southern hospitality when serving this dish: encourage guests to enjoy more BBQ sauce if they want and enjoy their meal together!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A true masterpiece of southern-style cuisine.
A true masterpiece of southern-style cuisine.

The great thing about this Southern BBQ sauce recipe is that you can make it ahead of time, store it in the refrigerator, and enjoy it for days to come. This homemade BBQ sauce will last up to one week in the fridge, so feel free to make a big batch and have it ready whenever you need it.

When storing the sauce, be sure to let it cool down completely before transferring it to an airtight container. I recommend using glass jars or squeeze bottles for easy pouring and dispensing. Label the container with the date you made the sauce so you can keep track of its freshness.

To reheat the BBQ sauce, simply pour it into a small saucepan and heat over low heat on your stovetop, stirring occasionally until heated through. You can also microwave the sauce for 30-second intervals, stirring in between each interval until the desired temperature is reached.

If you prefer to freeze your homemade BBQ sauce for later use, you can do so as well! Just pour it into a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to six months. Thaw the sauce overnight in the refrigerator before using it again.

Overall, this Southern-style BBQ sauce is perfect for those who love to prepare meals in advance or entertain guests on short notice. With its versatile taste and long-lasting storage options, you’ll be able to enjoy Southern-style BBQ all year round!

Tips for Perfect Results

 This sauce will take your BBQ recipes to the next level.
This sauce will take your BBQ recipes to the next level.

To create the perfect southern-style barbecue sauce, it’s important to pay attention to the tiny details. Here are some tips that will help you achieve the best results:

1. Use fresh ingredients – for the best flavor, use fresh and high-quality ingredients. Don’t use any sauce ingredients that have been sitting in your pantry for too long.

2. Measure accurately – make sure you measure all your ingredients accurately and follow the recipe instructions closely.

3. Brown the onion and celery – when sautéing the onion and celery, cook them until they are caramelized and golden brown. This adds depth of flavor to your sauce.

4. Add sugar in stages – add sugar gradually to taste, as different people have different levels of sweetness. Start with less, then add more if needed.

5. Adjust salt levels – salt helps to bring out the flavors in a dish, but too much can ruin it. It’s best to add salt gradually and taste as you go along.

6. Blend well – mix all the ingredients well using a whisk or wooden spoon to ensure that everything is combined evenly.

7. Simmer on low heat – For deeper flavor and thicker consistency, simmer your sauce low and slow for at least 30 mins. Stirring occasionally can prevent burning.

8. Strain sauce (optional) – for a smoother texture, strain your sauce through a fine-mesh sieve before storing or serving.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating an incredibly flavorful southern-style barbecue sauce that will make any BBQ dish shine!


As with any recipe, you may have some questions or concerns before diving in. This section will address the most frequently asked questions regarding our homemade southern barbecue sauce recipe. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced cook, we hope these answers will help ensure that your sauce turns out perfectly every time. So, let’s get to it!

What is traditional Southern BBQ?

I’ve got a mouth-watering, classic southern-style feast on my plate. It features succulent pulled pork, hearty brisket, creamy macaroni and cheese, charred roasted corn, and buttery Texas toast.

What is in redneck BBQ sauce?

John Rich, the popular country singer, has introduced Redneck Riviera BBQ sauce, which is made using genuine sugar, apple cider vinegar, tomato puree, and an exclusive blend of spices to give it an authentic All-American flavor. This sauce is designed for those who enjoy working and playing hard. Find a store near you.

What’s the difference between Kansas City BBQ sauce and Carolina BBQ sauce?

When it comes to barbecue, there are various regional styles that boast their own unique flavor profiles. One such style is known as Kansas City BBQ, which is characterized by a delectable blend of sweetness and tanginess thanks to its tomato-based sauce. On the other hand, Carolina BBQ is a well-loved style that favors spiciness and utilizes vinegar as the base for its sauces.

What’s the difference between Kansas City barbecue sauce and Memphis barbecue sauce?

Memphis style cooking is a well-known and unique BBQ style that is famous for its thinner, spicier, and less sweet sauce in comparison to the Kansas City Style. Devotees of Memphis BBQ either dip their meat in the sauce or drizzle it over the meat after serving.

What’s the difference between BBQ sauce and Texas BBQ sauce?

According to Hey Grill Hey, Texas-style barbecue sauce takes a different approach compared to traditional sauces, as it starts with tomato paste instead of ketchup for a stronger foundation.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, there’s no going wrong with a delicious homemade Southern barbecue sauce recipe. With this recipe, I hope I’ve shown you how to create the perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavors, using a combination of key ingredients like ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and more.

While there are many variations of barbecue sauce across America – from Kansas City to Memphis to Carolina – there’s something uniquely special about the South’s classic and hearty style. Once you’ve tasted the deep richness and complexity of Southern barbecue sauce, you’ll never go back to bland store-bought alternatives again.

By creating your own homemade barbecue sauce, you’ll be able to control the flavors to suit your tastes perfectly. Whether you prefer a sweet heat or a tangy mustard-based sauce, the possibilities are endless. Plus, by using fresh ingredients and avoiding any artificial additives or preservatives, you’re choosing a healthier option for yourself and your family.

So why wait? Grab your apron, your measuring cups, and get started on making your very own Southern-style barbecue sauce today! Trust me; it’ll become an instant household favorite that everyone will be asking for at every summer cookout.

Southern Barbecue Sauce

Southern Barbecue Sauce Recipe

This is great for all meat types.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine Southern American
Servings 3 cups
Calories 253.4 kcal


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • In skillet, brown the onion and celery in the butte.
  • Add all ingredients and simmer on low for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 915gCalories: 253.4kcalCarbohydrates: 49.6gProtein: 3.1gFat: 7.4gSaturated Fat: 4.3gCholesterol: 17.4mgSodium: 2066.1mgFiber: 1.3gSugar: 42.2g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Easy, Sauces, Stove Top
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