Beer Barbecue Sauce

Beer Barbecue Sauce

Diana Rattray

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Yield: 2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
71 Calories
1g Fat
15g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 71
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 329mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 19mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 174mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Barbecue sauce is ubiquitous at American cookouts, but consider it also a go-to sauce that can be used in a variety of ways beyond coating cuts of succulent beef, chicken, and pork. Our beer-based barbecue sauce is a delicious and easy-to-make preparation that you can have at hand in your fridge and use on traditional choices like burgers, wings, or shredded beef or pork, but also on other preparations like pasta salads, sandwiches, and wraps. The sky is the limit when you have a flavorful sauce like this one in your kitchen arsenal. Ready in half an hour, the sauce keeps well for about two weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.

Barbecue traditions have been around for centuries and are a statement of the blending of local and foreign traditions and ingredients. Start with the cooking devices indigenous people in the West Indies used to cook their game on an open flame. Add the introduction of pigs into the Americas after the New World was conquered by the Spanish and the combinations of flavor and spice that enslaved people from Africa brought with them and tried to reproduce with the ingredients they had at hand. Barbecue sauces used on meats have evolved over the centuries depending on what's available, but they're all bold, spiced, tart, and earthy. Some use lime juice and some vinegar because that's what was available. Some added mustards, molasses or sugar—or both—and some were tomato based. Nowadays, you can see the differences depending on the area of the United States you live in.

Be mindful that this barbecue sauce contains alcohol and as such shouldn't be offered to kids or adults that need to abstain from alcohol for health, dietary, or personal reasons. Contrary to popular belief, cooking alcohol doesn't always evaporate all of it, but the longer you cook recipes that have added alcohol like beer or wine, the more the alcohol content in the preparation reduces. That said, it takes a long time for all alcohol traces to be gone, so inform your guests about the ingredients. Finally, because the sauce has Worcestershire sauce, which usually contains anchovies or fish sauce, this sauce isn't suitable for vegans or vegetarians, unless the Worcestershire you are using is vegan or you replace it with soy sauce or tamari. In that case, proteins like tempeh, tofu, or seitan can be coated with the delicious sauce.


  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, or unsalted butter

  • 1 cup beer

  • 2 cups ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

  • 2 tablespoons molasses

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large saucepan, cook the onion in the vegetable oil or butter until tender.

  3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.

  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer, frequently stirring, for about 20 to 30 minutes, until thickened and reduced to about 2 cups. 

  5. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

  6. Use to make pulled pork, on grilled chicken, or as a condiment for burgers. Enjoy!


  • To keep spattering to a minimum, use a deep saucepan and cover loosely with a mesh spatter shield.