Deliciously Tangy: Southern Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Darlings, if you’re up for a real treat, then you’ve come to the right place! As a Southern chef with a passion for creating delectable dishes on a budget, I am thrilled to share with you my recipe for “The Frugal Gourmet’s” Southern Barbecue Sauce. This sauce is a timeless classic that’s perfect for any occasion and can make any dish stand out.

Now let me tell you, there’s no need to break the bank in order to savor the taste of gourmet southern barbecue. This recipe calls for ingredients that are easy-to-find and affordable, making it ideal for those who desire the perfect balance of taste and value.

But let me make one thing clear: this isn’t just any barbecue sauce. Oh no, darlings. This is the “Frugal Gourmet’s” Southern Barbecue Sauce recipe – a sauce that packs a punch of flavors with every bite. One taste of this sauce, and you’ll be transported straight to the heart of the South where the flavors are big, bold and down-home delicious.

So come on y’all, grab your apron and let’s get cooking! In this recipe article, I’ll be sharing step-by-step instructions and tips on how to prepare this mouthwatering sauce in the comfort of your own home. Trust me darlings, you won’t regret it.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

“the Frugal Gourmet’s” Southern Barbecue Sauce

Friends, let me just come right out and say it: this barbecue sauce recipe from “The Frugal Gourmet” is a game-changer. It’s got all the classic southern barbecue flavors you know and love – tangy vinegar, smoky liquid smoke, zesty Worcestershire sauce, and a little bit of heat from chili powder and crushed red pepper flakes.

But what really sets this recipe apart is the balance of sweetness. The combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar, along with a dollop of prepared yellow mustard, gives this sauce just the right amount of sweetness to complement the other flavors without overpowering them. And the addition of tomato paste and beef broth gives it a rich, savory depth that will have you licking your fingers clean.

But that’s not even the best part – this recipe is SO easy to make. You don’t have to spend hours simmering it on the stove or fussing over complicated ingredients. All you need are a few basic pantry staples and about 20 minutes of your time. And trust me, it’s worth it.

So why will you love this recipe? Because it’s delicious, it’s easy, and it’s versatile. Whether you’re slathering it on ribs, using it as a dipping sauce for chicken wings, or drizzling it over roasted veggies, this sauce will take your meal to the next level. So go ahead and give it a try – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredient List

 Sweet, smoky, and tangy, this southern barbecue sauce is the perfect condiment for your grilled meats.
Sweet, smoky, and tangy, this southern barbecue sauce is the perfect condiment for your grilled meats.

Get Ready to Savor the Flavors with “The Frugal Gourmet’s” Southern Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Get your taste buds ready for some bold flavors infused with southern charm with this gourmet Southern Barbecue Sauce recipe. Here is a quick list of all the ingredients you’ll need to prepare this exquisite dish:

  • 3 cups beef broth: An essential element in making flavorful and wholesome barbecue sauce.

  • 1 1/2 cups tomato paste: The key ingredient that gives the barbecue sauce its characteristic savory flavors.

  • 1 1/4 cups white vinegar: The acidic ingredient that helps to balance out the sweetness of other components.

  • 1 cup brown sugar: This adds in a touch of sweetness and caramelization that balances the acidity and spices.

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar: This will add just enough sweetness to satisfy your sweet tooth!

  • 1/4 cup prepared yellow mustard: A crucial ingredient used in almost every barbecue sauce recipe.

  • 5 tbsp Worcestershire sauce: This brings in depth and complexity of flavor, adding a tangy and slightly sweet taste.

  • 3 tbsp chili powder: Brings a smoky, earthy flavor to your sauce with just enough heat to make it interesting.

  • 2 tbsp salt: Provides a great overall flavor balance when combined with brown sugar, granulated sugar, and tomato paste.

  • 2 tsp liquid smoke: Another essential component that works as an excellent flavor booster. Provides smoky notes without using an actual smoker!

  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes: Adds heat to your sauce without overpowering other ingredients.

Prepare yourself for a barbecue sauce frenzy by ensuring you have all these delicious ingredients on hand.

The Recipe How-To

 This recipe is perfect for all your barbecue needs; ribs, chicken, pulled pork, and more.
This recipe is perfect for all your barbecue needs; ribs, chicken, pulled pork, and more.

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of this “Frugal Gourmet’s” Southern Barbecue Sauce Recipe. Once you have gathered all your ingredients, prepping is a breeze, and you’re good to go! Follow these straightforward steps to make your gourmet southern barbecue sauce.

Step 1: Sautéing the Spices

Start by heating up a large saucepan over medium heat with 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. Once it reaches the optimal temperature, add in two tablespoons of chili powder and one tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes. Then stir for about thirty seconds until the spices become fragrant.

Step 2: Mixing the Wet Ingredients

Next, add three cups of beef broth, one cup of tomato paste, one cup of white vinegar, and one cup of prepared yellow mustard into the sautéed spices mixture. Stir together gently over medium heat to blend everything until smooth and integrated.

Step 3: Adding the Sweeteners

Gradually pour in three-quarters of a cup of brown sugar and half a cup of granulated sugar into the mixture while continuously whisking. Once both sugars have entirely dissolved, seasoning your sauce with one tablespoon of salt.

Step 4: Infusing Smokiness

Now it’s time to give your barbecue sauce that unique smoky flavor associated with southern barbecue. Add in two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and two tablespoons liquid smoke flavor to stir steadily until it’s fully mixed.

Step 5: Simmering It All Together

Reduce the stove temperature to low heat, cover your pot and let all ingredients simmer together for an hour or more until the sauce reaches your desired thickness level. Don’t forget to keep stirring intermittently throughout the process.

Finally, taste the sauce to adjust the spices and seasoning, then take it off the heat to allow for it cool down. Once cooled, pour your homemade “Frugal Gourmet’s” Southern Barbecue Sauce into an airtight container so you can keep it fresh and usable for weeks.

Substitutions and Variations

 The balance of flavors in this sauce creates a harmonious blend of sweet and savory flavors with a nice mellow finish.
The balance of flavors in this sauce creates a harmonious blend of sweet and savory flavors with a nice mellow finish.

My darlings, I understand that sometimes we don’t always have everything on hand for a recipe. Fear not, for there are some substitutions and variations you can make to this Southern Barbecue Sauce recipe.

If you prefer a spicier sauce, add a tad bit more crushed red pepper flakes or chili powder. If you like it less spicy, feel free to go easy on the red pepper flakes or omit them altogether.

For those who do not have Worcestershire sauce readily available in your kitchen, try using soy sauce instead. It will lend a similar umami flavor to the sauce. Additionally, if you don’t have liquid smoke, use smoked paprika instead, but use it sparingly as it can be overpowering if too much is added.

If you’re looking to cut down on sugar intake without sacrificing taste, reduce the amount of brown sugar and granulated sugar or try swapping them out with honey or maple syrup. For a vegan option, replace the beef broth with vegetable broth.

And my dears, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to take this barbecue sauce to new heights, consider adding in some bourbon whiskey or horseradish for an extra kick of flavor.

The sky’s the limit with this Frugal Gourmet’s Southern Barbecue Sauce recipe! So go ahead and make it your own with these easy substitutions and delicious variations.

Serving and Pairing

 It's not too spicy, but it has a little bit of a kick that keeps you coming back for more.
It’s not too spicy, but it has a little bit of a kick that keeps you coming back for more.

When it comes to serving the Frugal Gourmet’s Southern Barbecue Sauce, there is no shortage of delicious options. This gourmet southern barbecue sauce is perfect for adding flavor and depth to almost any dish that you could think of. It is a versatile sauce that can be used to marinate meats, as a dipping sauce or condiment, or even as a topping for burgers and hot dogs.

A classic way to showcase the bold flavors of this southern barbecue sauce is by simply slathering it on some smoked ribs or chicken. This will undoubtedly elevate any BBQ dish and will have your guests coming back for seconds. Additionally, while beef and pork are commonly used, it can be incredible with grilled vegetables such as zucchini or even tofu.

For those who love seafood, this recipe for gourmet BBQ sauce will nicely complement shrimp and is superb for baked salmon providing a caramelized crusty layer. You can also spice up a hummus middle eastern dish by adding this barbecue sauce to roasted chickpeas for an elevating umami taste.

When it comes to pairing the Frugal Gourmet’s Southern Barbecue Sauce with other foods, cold beverages are important. I suggest serving this delicious sauce alongside your favorite ice-cold beer or soda for refreshing relief after the spicy kick of red pepper flakes. Alternatively, you may pair it with Bourbon-based cocktails like Old Fashioned, Mint Julep, Manhattan, Kentucky Mule.

In conclusion, frugal gourmet southern barbecue sauce is a great addition that helps elevate traditional dishes into mouth-watering meals everyone would love to talk about. No wonder why every barbecue enthusiast should keep this gourmet southern barbeque sauce close at hand!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This barbecue sauce has the perfect consistency, making it easy to brush onto your meats or as a dip on the side.
This barbecue sauce has the perfect consistency, making it easy to brush onto your meats or as a dip on the side.

You can easily make this Frugal Gourmet’s Southern Barbecue Sauce ahead of time and store it in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator. The flavors will deepen and intensify over that time, making it even more delicious.

To reheat, simply warm it up on the stove or in the microwave, stirring occasionally until it is heated through. If the sauce has thickened in the fridge, it may be necessary to add a bit of water or beef broth to thin it out.

If you want to freeze your barbecue sauce for later use, make sure to let it cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. It will keep well in the freezer for up to three months. When you’re ready to use your frozen barbecue sauce, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat as described above.

In addition to using this sauce as a marinade or glaze for meats and vegetables, you can also try using it as a dipping sauce for fries, chicken nuggets or even grilled cheese sandwiches.

This Southern Barbecue Sauce recipe is a keep-your-budget-and-taste-buds-happy type of recipe. It’s perfect for those weeknights when you want to enjoy some delicious homemade BBQ without breaking the bank or spending endless hours in the kitchen.

Tips for Perfect Results

 One taste of this sauce and your taste
One taste of this sauce and your taste

Preparing the perfect barbecue sauce may seem daunting, but with these tips, you can achieve a delicious result and impress your guests. Follow these recommendations to ensure your Frugal Gourmet’s Southern Barbecue Sauce Recipe comes out perfectly every time.

Firstly, make sure to measure all ingredients carefully to avoid throwing off the proportions of this complex sauce. Each ingredient plays an essential role in the sauce’s flavor profile and striking the right balance can make a significant difference in the final taste.

When adding spices like chili powder and red pepper flakes, keep in mind that a little can go a long way. These ingredients add depth and spice to the sauce but overdoing it can quickly turn your dish into an uncomfortably hot experience.

Moreover, cooking times also play a crucial role in developing flavors. Simmering the sauce for an hour or two lets all ingredients meld together and results in a rich brown color. A longer simmering time also helps thicken the sauce, making it adhere better to meats.

Pay close attention to stirring frequently throughout the cooking process, especially at the bottom of the pot. The sugar content in the sauce may settle and get burnt if left unattended for too long.

Lastly, for those looking to cut down on sodium intake, reduce saltiness by minimizing or omitting table salt without compromising flavor. Instead, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke contribute natural umami flavors while granulated sugar mellows out sharpness without completely taking away sweetness.

By following these tips and tricks, you’ll elevate your Southern Barbecue Sauce recipe to gourmet levels while keeping it economical using one of ‘the Frugal Gourmet’s’ recipes. Serve up some piping hot ribs or chicken wings or pair it with frugal gourmet hummus – a Middle Eastern dish made with 15 oz chic peas – for added flavor.


As you prepare this Frugal Gourmet’s Southern Barbecue Sauce recipe, you may have questions that arise. It’s natural to have some uncertainties and concerns, so we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you through the process. From ingredient substitutions to preparing in advance, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn more.

How do you make cheap BBQ sauce taste better?

When you try a barbecue sauce that lacks flavor, it can be disappointing. However, it’s easy to enhance the taste with simple ingredients. Cumin, garlic, onion powder, and peppers are classic choices to spice up a bland sauce. If you want to add a bit of tanginess, you can mix in some Worcestershire sauce or yellow mustard. As a chef specializing in Southern-style cooking, I recommend these two ingredients as my go-to options for giving a boost to a lackluster sauce.

How to make BBQ Sause?

Let me share with you a lip-smacking recipe of the classic southern-style BBQ sauce. Simply toss in some brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, water, and Worcestershire sauce into the blender. Don’t forget to add a pinch of mustard, paprika, salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce to ignite the flavors. Zap it until it’s smooth and then sit back, relax, and savor the deliciousness of this finger-licking good BBQ sauce.

What gives BBQ sauce its distinct flavor?

When it comes to barbecue sauce, the classic taste can be found in several different sweet profiles. The most commonly used sweetener in barbecue sauce is brown sugar. However, other sweet flavors can also be utilized such as blackstrap molasses, honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, sorghum, or even sodas.

What’s the best BBQ sauce in the world?

In this recipe article, we’ll be exploring some top-notch BBQ sauce options that’ll make your taste buds sing with joy. From Smoke Kitchen’s Sweet BBQ Sauce to Kosmos Q’s Cherry Habanero BBQ Sauce, we’ll cover a variety of delicious options for your next barbecue feast. Get ready to dive into the flavors of the South with these scrumptious sauces!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, I strongly recommend “The Frugal Gourmet’s” Southern Barbecue Sauce Recipe to anyone who wants to experience the authentic taste of Southern-style barbecue. This recipe combines the perfect balance of brown sugar, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke to create a mouth-watering explosion of flavor. Plus, it’s adaptable to various dietary needs and preferences.

Not only is this recipe easy to make and budget-friendly, but it’s also versatile enough to be used on all your favorite BBQ dishes. From ribs to brisket to pulled pork, “The Frugal Gourmet’s” Southern Barbecue Sauce Recipe is the perfect addition to any backyard cookout or family dinner.

So why settle for an average store-bought BBQ sauce when you can elevate your culinary game with this gourmet Southern barbecue sauce? Impress your friends and family with this frugal yet flavorful recipe that’s sure to become a staple in your kitchen. Trust me; you won’t regret it!

"the Frugal Gourmet's" Southern Barbecue Sauce

“the Frugal Gourmet’s” Southern Barbecue Sauce Recipe

This is the only barbecue sauce I use for "Pulled Pork" barbecue. From Jeff Smith's first cookbook, "The Frugal Gourmet", 1984 One recipe is enough for about 10 lbs. of meat. It keeps well in a jar in the fridge. If you don't have liquid smoke, try adding some smoked paprika.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 1 quart
Calories 1014 kcal


  • 3 cups beef broth (or 3 cups water and 3 beef bouillon cubes)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar (cider will do, also)
  • 1/8 cup liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder


  • Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.
  • Simmer SLOWLY uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
  • (approx 1 1/2 to 2 hrs.) (Watch it closely because it will burn if your heat is too high).

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 1382gCalories: 1014kcalCarbohydrates: 224.8gProtein: 22.2gFat: 8.6gSaturated Fat: 1.5gSodium: 9269.7mgFiber: 14gSugar: 189.9g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Brunch, Easy, Potluck, Sauces, Spicy, Stove Top, Weeknight
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