• Jessica Sherry

How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce Like a Boss

I’m seriously NOT trying to be a fifties housewife, spending all day in the kitchen and making everything from scratch. Course, IDK… heels, pearls, fire-engine-red lipstick, an A-line dress with a crinoline—I could rock that look. It’d hide my child-bearing hips and, bonus, I might reach things on the top shelves easier. Hmmm.

ANYWAY, when we play around in the kitchen and discover that something’s easier to make than we thought, we try it, at least. And sometimes, it becomes a household staple.

Making our own BBQ sauce came about that way… and probably because we needed it and didn’t have it and didn’t feel like doing a Publix run (When will Amazon have instant delivery, huh? What's the hold up?).

Turns out, we had everything we needed to make it in our pantry. And you probably do, too.

Besides, it's another awesome way to get creative in the kitchen! Channel your inner Swedish Chef (or any chef that makes you happy). Make YOUR BBQ sauce--the way YOU like it. BBQ requires no skill to make (a plus for me, surely) and it's a forgiving condiment for experimenting. That's what we've done. If you’re watching your sugar or salt, adjust as you see fit. We find many of store-bought BBQs to be overly sugary, so we toned down the sugar in ours.

With a little trial and error, here’s the recipe we’ve catered to our likes—though you should know, we have the pallets of rabid raccoons the night before garbage day. Hmm, there's an image you want before trying a recipe...

What You Need (for BBQ sunshine):

BBQ Sunshine
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar. OR 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar and 1/4 Cup Honey. I’ve also substituted the honey for 1/4 a cup of Agave Nectar. This tastes fine, but since we were using the sauce for grilled chicken thighs, honey or brown sugar caramelizes better. So IF grilling, THEN go for Brown Sugar/Honey.

  • 1 1/2 Cups Ketchup

  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar. You could also use red wine vinegar here, but we like the taste of apple cider better.

  • 1/2 Cup Water

  • 2 TBSP. Worcestershire

  • 2 1/2 tsp. Yellow Mustard

  • 2 tsp. Paprika

  • 1 1/2 tsp. Pepper

  • 1/2 tsp. Liquid Smoke. This is optional, but we like adding the smoky flavor and we always have it on hand.

  • 1 TBSP. Hot Sauce, or to taste.

  • A sprinkle of red pepper flakes will add a little zing, if you're into that kind of thing.

Notice anything missing from this recipe? Yeah, you did. MOST recipes call for 2 teaspoons of salt, but guess what, you crazy salt heads? You don't need it. 1 teaspoon of table salt contains 2,325 mg of sodium. The American Heart Association says we should have absolutely no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, but good, health-conscious grown ups should keep it to 1,500. Sodium's sneaky, too. It's in everything. So while you're not going to guzzle the BBQ sauce, if salt CAN be cut out, then why not?

What You Do:

  1. Um… combine all the ingredients.

  2. Blend. Duh.

  3. Taste. Adjust flavorings, if needed. Maybe you like it sweeter or spicier. That's okay. You do you.

  4. Use for dipping or slather on your meats. Yikes, that sounds... saucy.

That’s it. To blend, use your blender, food processor, or those rippled biceps you’ve been working on. We have an immersion blender now, like bosses, so we mix everything in a plastic container with a lid, zap it a few times, and abraca—pocus! It’s a BBQ party (do a BBQ dance). You can store your sauce in the fridge for… well, a while. At least a week. Ours is usually finito by then because we're BBQ fiends.

We rarely buy BBQ sauce anymore. It’s cheap and tasty enough off the shelf, but it’s more fun making our own and playing around with the ingredients. The older and cooler I get and the more cooking shows I watch, the more comfortable I am being creative in the kitchen. It’s a playground, most days (but not like my scene playground; that's different... and just for me, so back off).

How about you? How do you get creative in the kitchen? Share your ideas below!