Barbecue Sauces Recipes

Memphis Barbecue Sauce

The Spruce

Barbecue sauces come in various flavors, colors, and styles. The ten barbecue sauce recipes that we bring you in this collection represent all the different approaches to this classic sauce that you'll find in restaurants and stores around the world.

Although the sauces have similar bases, each one shows off the subtleties in flavors and spice from its particular region.

  • 01 of 09

    St. Louis Barbecue Sauce

    St. Louis Ribs
    Ernesto Andrade/Flickr

    St. Louis is at the crossroads of barbecue and blends many influences; known for its grilled ribs, its style differs from others mainly for the quick method of cooking used versus the many hours of smoking seen elsewhere.

    St. Louis-style barbecue sauces are thinner and tangier than those served in Kansas City. This recipe presents the perfect combination of flavors to make St. Louis barbecue: simmer ketchup, water, vinegar, sugar, mustard, onion, garlic, cayenne, and salt for 20 to 30 minutes. Its medium thickness and flavor, not too overpowering, make this a great sauce for all tastes.

    This sauce is best when made the day before. Keeps in the fridge for 1 week.

  • 02 of 09

    Memphis Barbecue Sauce

    Memphis Barbecue Sauce

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

    Traditionally, Memphis barbecue is served without sauce, but since there are no real rules in barbecue, several Memphis BBQ joints have sauces available, either on the side or by special order.

    This recipe captures the flavors of Memphis barbecue in a fantastic sauce that has sweetness, vinegar, and a hint of heat. The ingredients include brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chili, and paprika, but the secrets to this sauce are butter and molasses, which make it silky and sticky at the same time. Cook for 20 minutes and let cool for another 20 before using.

    Keeps in the fridge for 1 week.

  • 03 of 09

    Kansas City Barbecue Sauce

    Barbecue ribs
    Pam McLean/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

    Kansas City sauces are the most popular on the market. This one, so much better than bottled, has all the richness you want in a great barbecue sauce. The perfect combination of tangy and sweet works with everything and you can kick up the heat if your taste demands.

    This classic, sticky barbecue sauce has a ketchup base and uses sugar and molasses to achieve the thickness it's famous for. Add vinegar, spices and a generous teaspoon of cayenne (more or less to taste) and cook for 30 minutes. The sauce should be cooled off before using.

    Keeps in the fridge for 5 days.

  • 04 of 09

    Texas BBQ Sauce

    Brisket with barbecue sauce

     Pinghung Chen

    Eastern Texas barbecue is a melting pot of flavors from around the world and its sauces are usually thinner and less sweet. The secret to this recipe is the beef bouillon (or beef dripping in the classic recipe) which gives it a savory property that makes it great for brisket and top quality sliced meats.

    Add the beef bouillon to the classic ketchup, vinegar, and sugar base halfway through the cook. The secret is to let the sauce cool off and then blend it at high speed until creamy. Use it on any type of beef, pork, or poultry.

    Keeps in the fridge for 1 week.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Southern Barbecue Sauce

    Southern Barbecue Sauce
    Regarding BBQ Inc.

    The barbecue sauces of the deep South have a tangy flavor that makes them pop out on anything they're added to. Our recipe has a distinctive flavor thanks to the lemon juice and Tabasco.

    While this tomato and vinegar-based sauce is perfect for pork, use it on all meats and poultry.

    Let cool off before using. Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

  • 06 of 09

    Chinese Barbecue Sauce (Char Sui)

    Chinese Barbecue Sauce (Char Siu)

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

    Char Sui is the classic Chinese sauce used on ribs. This take on a BBQ sauce has none of the typical American ingredients but is incredibly flavorful and sticky, with a touch of sweet and a lot of depth.

    In a double-boiler cook sherry, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar, garlic, black bean paste, and five-spice. The hoisin sauce, a savory sauce made out of soybean paste, garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, chiles, and sugar, gives this BBQ sauce a lot of character and a really beautiful dark color.

    This sauce can be used on any beef cut, pork or poultry, but use it during the last minutes of cooking.

    Keeps in the refrigerator for 1 week.

  • 07 of 09

    Coca-Cola Barbecue Sauce

    Coca Cola Can Gabion Wall
    Hazysunimages / Getty Images

    The sweet, sharp flavors of cola add great color and sweetness to BBQ sauces, but before you start, pour the soda in a bowl and let it go flat before cooking with it to avoid the carbonation making a mess when you heat it up.

    Mix a dark cola with ketchup, white vinegar, and sugar. Add spices, including a discrete amount of chili powder and cook for 10 minutes. Let cool before using.

    Because of the high sugar content of this sauce, do not use it on your meats on the grill, it will burn fast. Use it as a table sauce.

    Keeps in the fridge for 1 week.

  • 08 of 09

    Honey-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

    Bourbon BBQ Sauce
    DebbiSmirnoff / Getty Images

    Rich and deep in flavor, this barbecue sauce uses ​jerk seasoning to give it heat while the honey adds sweetness. This classic preparation uses 2 cups of honey and tomato paste instead of ketchup. Vinegar-free, it uses mustard to add acidity and cayenne and Tabasco for heat. Adjust the spice as needed.

    There's no cooking needed, simply mix all the ingredients and let stand at room temperature before using.

    Keeps in the fridge for 2 weeks.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    BBQ Rum Sauce

    BBQ Rum Sauce
    Regarding BBQ Inc.

    This tomato-based barbecue sauce leaves out the ketchup and goes with tomato sauce for a richer, deeper flavor. Green chilies give the sauce a bite and the rum adds a delicious sourness tamed by the sweet molasses and brown sugar.

    Use this sauce for all types of beef, poultry, and pork. Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil before removing from the stove. Let cool before using.

    Keep in the fridge for 1 week.