Kansas City Rib Sauce

Kansas City Rib Sauce
Kansas City Rib Sauce. Sabrina S. Baksh
  • 25 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 2 cups (serves 16)
Ratings (50)

This is a rich, thick, tomato-based barbecue sauce recipe in the Kansas City style. You get that traditional combination of sweet with a touch of heat in a dark, rich sauce.

Pork ribs are a traditional part of Kansas City barbecue, which also embraces beef ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and more. Kansas City pork ribs are given a slightly spicy rub, smoked "low and slow," then finished with a thick tomato-based barbecue sauce. This sauce will be very familiar to you as it has become the style typically produced for bottled barbecue sauce.

With this recipe, you won't be stuck picking up a store brand that may have high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener, artificial smoke, and other ingredients you may prefer to avoid. It uses ketchup, so you will need to choose which ketchup to add. You may have an organic brand you prefer. Or, even better, your own homemade ketchup. Feel free to adjust the heat by changing the amount of cayenne called for in the recipe.

This recipe will make enough sauce for one rack of ribs. Double or triple the recipe if you are making more slabs.

What You'll Need

  • 3 tablespoons/45 milliliters olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup/240 milliliters ketchup
  • 1/4 cup/60 milliliters water
  • 1/4 cup/60 milliliters cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup/60 milliliters brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons/30 milliliters paprika
  • 1 tablespoon/15 milliliters chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon/5 milliliters cayenne

How to Make It

  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and cook over medium-high heat for 20 seconds. Take care not to burn the garlic.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients—ketchup, water, cider vinegar, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne, and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer on low for 13 to 15 minutes until thickened. Stir occasionally. Watch for burning and reduce the heat or take it off of the burner, if needed.
  1. Remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes before using on ribs.
  2. Prior to using the sauce on the ribs, set some sauce aside for a table sauce.
  3. Store any unused sauce (that hasn't come into contact with uncooked meat) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week after preparation. The sauce can be made up to one week in advance. Simply reheat the sauce on the stovetop or in a microwave to use within 5 minutes.

If you are brushing the ribs with sauce, it should only be done while they are on low heat. The sugar in this sauce will burn at temperatures above 265 F, so this sauce should not be used for grilling. Usually, the sauce is added in the last hour of smoking.

The side dishes you would typically see with Kansas City barbecue include baked beans, French fries, and coleslaw.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 68
Total Fat 3 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Unsaturated Fat 2 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 154 mg
Carbohydrates 11 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Protein 1 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)