Big, Bold, and Spicy Texas Barbecue Sauce

Texas barbecue sauce
Bill Boch/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 48 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
17 Calories
0g Fat
4g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 48
Amount per serving
Calories 17
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 80mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 3mg 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.)

Maybe you have a hankering to make your own Texas-style barbecued brisket at home on your own smoker. Or maybe you live outside driving range to get the kind of Texas barbecue people stand in line for, like the award-winning Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, and you have no choice but to try your hand at making some award-worthy stuff of your own. 

The flavor of this great Texas barbecue sauce is big and bold, like the state it's named for. Not as thick or sweet as its Midwestern relatives, this spicy barbecue sauce is traditionally used with beef, just the thing for that homemade brisket.


  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons ​ Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Whisk together the ketchup, vinegar, sugar, water, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin and cayenne in a saucepan, bring to a low simmer and turn off the heat.

  2. Let the sauce cool to room temperature. This can be used as a basting sauce toward the end of the cooking time of your meat or brushed on after barbecuing, with additional sauce served on the side.

Barbecued Brisket

Making barbecued brisket is more than cooking dinner. It's a commitment. It means hours tending a hot smoker; it takes about an hour per pound to get the brisket done to a turn. It means having a wood fire in the smoker. It means keeping a steady eye on the fire and adjusting the vents as needed to keep it even. It means tinkering with the sauce to make it just the right consistency and flavor. It means adding it at just the right moment to sink into the meat and become part of it, making a crusty top. When a meat thermometer reads 195 to 203 F, it's done. After you let it rest for about 15 minutes, you can relax and enjoy just about the best eats on Earth.

Serving Suggestions

Barbecued brisket is good all by itself, totally bare, with maybe a bit of barbecue sauce as a condiment if you want another shot of that flavor. If you're watching your carb intake, this is the way to go. It's most commonly piled high on a big hamburger bun, with sauce or not. Serve with potato salad; slaw; french fries; pasta salad with peppers, onions, and cheese; or baked beans. It's sacrilege in Texas to put slaw on a brisket sandwich, but if you like a little Carolina with your barbecue, nobody's looking.