Hickory Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Hickory Barbecue Sauce

Ray Katchatorian / Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 20 servings
Yield: 1 1/4 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
22 Calories
1g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 22
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 128mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 14mg 0%
*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.)

Summertime and grilling your favorite foods, what could be better than that? To jazz up those meats a good hickory barbeque sauce is an absolute necessity. This is a good, thin barbecue sauce that relies more on vinegar and beer than on tomatoes for its base. It's likely you have most, if not all, of the ingredients needed to make this sauce right in your pantry. This smoky yet sweet, with a bit of spice from the red pepper, sauce takes around 20 minutes to make from start to finish. Once you've made this homemade bbq hickory sauce, you're sure to keep this on hand rather than running to the store to buy one. Customize this recipe to your preferences if you want, from making it spicier or sweeter, that's up to you. You can also omit the liquid smoke if preferred. 

Use this sauce on beef brisket, chicken, and pork. It's great on pulled pork sandwiches and hamburgers, or to use for dipping french fries in, too.

When using this sauce, be careful and never apply utensils that have been used to spoon the sauce from the container, if you do, the sauce is only good for that one-time use and any leftover will have to be discarded.


  • 1/3 cup beer

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid hickory smoke, optional

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Stir ingredients—beer, red wine vinegar, ketchup, oil, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, red pepper, and liquid smoke, if you're using—together in a small saucepan. Bring to a high simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Stir often and watch for burning. Adjust heat accordingly.

  3. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes before using. 

  4. Store unused sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week after preparation.  Warm slightly before using.

Recipe Variations

Too spicy? Leave out the red pepper, or cut the amount in half to use.

Too smoky? Simply leave out the liquid smoke.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Any sauce that has not been used can be stored in a glass jar or container for up to one week.  Before using, you should heat it in a saucepan on the stove until it is just warm.
  • Homemade bbq sauce can be frozen for up to six months. To freeze, pour the cooled sauce into a freezer container or zip-top freezer bag. When you want to use it, simply defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

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