Mastering 10 BBQ Sauce Recipes: Easy, Quick, and Healthy

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You know as well as I do that no BBQ dish is complete without a BBQ sauce. And while you can easily get store-bought sauces, there’s nothing quite like making your own at home. 

So, if you want to shake things up and make your sauces more gourmet, I’ve got you covered.

You won’t even need any fancy equipment or expensive ingredients to make any of these 11 recipes. I guarantee that everything on this list is easy, quick, and healthy!

1. Homemade BBQ Sauce for Ribs: Classic BBQ Sauce 

This homemade BBQ sauce is an absolute classic. Plus, it’s perfect for any main course rib dishes you have planned for your next backyard barbecue. 

To start, you’ll need one cup of ketchup (any brand will do), a quarter cup of brown sugar and molasses, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and two tablespoons of the smoky Worcestershire sauce.

Aside from these basic ingredients, you can also add a squeeze of lemon juice, a teaspoon of smoked paprika, a teaspoon of garlic powder, and a teaspoon of onion powder for added flavor.

Mix your ingredients in a saucepan and let them simmer for no more than 17 minutes. After the timer is up, try it out.

If you think the flavor’s not quite there yet, adjust the ratio of your seasoning until you’re satisfied.

2. Spicy BBQ Sauce

Next, we’re taking it up a notch but adding the element of spice. 

This spicy BBQ sauce recipe is the perfect blend of tangy and a little sweet with just the right amount of heat.

Start by getting a cup of ketchup, a quarter cup of brown sugar, a quarter cup of molasses, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.

To make this sauce extra spicy, add a tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce (like Tabasco or Sriracha), a teaspoon of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and a pinch of black pepper.

You can also add a quarter cup of cayenne pepper to intensify the heat even more. But of course, this step is optional. 

Then, you know the drill: mix them all in a small pot or saucepan for 15 minutes. 

Before serving your sauces, it’s important to give them a taste test first to see whether you’ve achieved your desired heat. 

If not, you can make your BBQ sauce spicier by increasing the amount of cayenne pepper and chili powder.

Now, if you’ve accidentally made your BBQ sauce too hot, try adding more honey and tomato sauce to balance out the spice. 

3. Homemade BBQ Sauce for Chicken: Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce

If you’re a fan of sweet and tangy sauces, this homemade BBQ sauce recipe is right up your alley.

All you need to do to make this concoction is to blend a cup of ketchup, half a cup of brown sugar, and a quarter cup of honey and apple cider vinegar. 

To this mixture, add two tablespoons of molasses and Dijon mustard, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and a teaspoon of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.

Whisk them in a saucepan and leave them on low to medium heat for around 10 to 15 minutes.

At the ding of the timer, you should have a thick homemade BBQ sauce perfect for grilled chicken breast, fried chicken, or even crispy chicken wings.

4. Mustard-Based BBQ Sauce

We can’t talk about sweet and tangy recipes without putting a spotlight on this mustard-based sauce. 

Did you know that mustard-based sauces started as a regional delicacy in areas like Carolina and Georgia? But because of their accessibility, they have gained popularity in other parts of the world.

The reason these mustard sauces are so sought-after is that they have a unique flavor profile that pairs well with grilled meats and veggies.

So, here’s how you make this sauce at home. Combine a cup of yellow mustard and a quarter cup of honey, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. 

Add two tablespoons of ketchup, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of garlic powder and onion powder, and a drizzle of salt and pepper. 

If you want to spice it up, go ahead and add a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper before stirring the sauce in the pan and letting it simmer for about 15 minutes.

5. Homemade BBQ Sauce for Pulled Pork: Vinegar BBQ Sauce

Now, if you’re craving for something a little more sour, here’s my tried-and-tested vinegar BBQ sauce recipe. 

For this, you’ll need to blend two types of vinegar, mainly a cup of apple cider vinegar and a fourth cup of white vinegar. 

That’s not all. You also have to add other ingredients, like a quarter cup of brown sugar, a tablespoon of ketchup, and half a tablespoon of hot sauce to balance out the acidic flavor.

Since I like a little bit of heat in my sauce, I also put a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder in the mix. 

Whenever I make this sauce at home, I usually pair it with my crispy pork belly because I like how the saltiness of the pork complements the tartness of the vinegar. 

6. Honey BBQ Sauce

If you don’t have a penchant for sour sauces, but rather have a sweet tooth — even when it comes to savory dishes — this is a quick homemade BBQ sauce recipe for you.

To make this honey BBQ sauce, you need a cup of ketchup, half a cup of honey, a quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar, two tablespoons of molasses, and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard.

For the spices, add a teaspoon of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and the staples: salt and pepper. 

By now, you know how it goes. Blend your ingredients in a saucepan and heat for 15 minutes. 

Keep in mind that honey has a very concentrated flavor, so I recommend starting with a small amount. You can add more as you go along to get the sweetness of your sauce just right. 

7. Homemade BBQ Sauce Without Ketchup: Bourbon BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauces naturally have a hint of smokiness that pairs well with any grilled recipe. But if you want to make this smokiness more pronounced, you have to give this bourbon BBQ sauce a try.

As you can probably tell by the name, the key ingredient of this recipe is bourbon, which has complex flavors that result from their barrel aging process. 

Because of this, bourbon adds a rich and smoky depth to the sauce that you can’t achieve with any other ingredient. 

Let’s start by making the base of this homemade sauce.

Combine a cup of tomato puree (which acts as your ketchup substitute), half a cup of bourbon whiskey, and a quarter cup of brown sugar.

To this base, pour two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and molasses, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and a teaspoon of black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. 

Let the ingredients bubble for around 20 minutes. 

When you get a thick consistency, take it off the heat and serve with a plate of slow-cooked beef brisket, bacon-wrapped appetizers, and good old hamburgers.

While this recipe already packs a lot of flavor, I usually like to take it a step further and add a bit of liquid smoke and smoked paprika to bring out the smoky essence of the whiskey. 

Give it a try and tell me what you think of it.

8. Homemade BBQ Sauce With No Sugar

As you probably know by now, many BBQ sauces make use of sugars — primarily brown sugar. 

Because of this, if you’re trying to cut down on your sweets, many of these recipes will not work. Do you know what will? This homemade BBQ sauce with no sugar.

With this recipe, you’ll still enjoy all the goodness a regular BBQ sauce has to offer (just without the unnecessary sugars).

So, if you want to give this a go, here’s what you need to do.

Get yourself a cup of tomato sauce (make sure it has no added sugar), a quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, and two tablespoons of Dijon mustard. 

Then, put them all in a saucepan.

Pour a tablespoon of onion powder, garlic powder, and smoked paprika into the mix. If you want it with a little heat, you can add a teaspoon of chili powder, ground cumin, and black pepper. 

If the mixture comes out too thick for your liking, add a quarter cup of water to thin it out.

Whisk the ingredients over medium heat until they’re well combined. Once your sauce is bubbling, lower the heat and stir the mixture occasionally to avoid any clumps. 

As a sugar-free tomato-based sauce, this is perfect for those who are following a keto or low-carb diet. 

9. Pineapple BBQ Sauce

There’s no question that these popular BBQ sauce variations are amazing for any barbecue. But sometimes, I like to go out of my comfort zone and bring two unusual flavors together. 

In this particular scenario, it’s pineapple and tomato.

Are you adventurous enough to give this sauce a chance? Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what you need to do to make this at home.

First, you’ll need a cup of pineapple juice, half a cup of tomato puree, a quarter cup of brown sugar, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and a tablespoon of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

Then, grab a teaspoon of garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and half a teaspoon of ground ginger, salt, and pepper.

Blend these ingredients in a pan, let them simmer for about 20 minutes, and enjoy!

For me, this sauce captures the essence of tropical flavors. It’s refreshing, zesty, and smoky at the same time. So, if you ask me whether pineapple goes in BBQ sauce, my answer is always YES!

10. Chipotle BBQ Sauce

For this last recipe, we’re pulling out all the stops because it’s my favorite Chipotle BBQ sauce recipe.

You probably know Chipotle as a popular fast-food chain in America, but did you know that Chipotle is also a type of jalapeño that’s primarily used to season Mexican or Mexican-inspired cuisine?

That said, if one day, you decide to make pork belly tacos or grilled chicken burritos, you can make this chipotle BBQ sauce on the side to pair with your Latin dishes.

It’s easy. To start, get a cup of tomato ketchup, a quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar, two tablespoons of brown sugar, and two minced Chipotle peppers soaked in adobo sauce. 

Then, add the essential ingredients BBQ sauce ingredients. These include a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and a teaspoon of garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika.

Give these ingredients a good mix and let it bubble in the saucepan for about 15 to 20 minutes. Once your sauce thickens, try it out, and adjust the flavor to your liking. 

On average, Chipotle peppers have about 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), which may be too hot to handle for some of you. 

As such, I always advise people to start small and adjust the amount of peppers as they go along. After all, it’s easier to add heat than it is to take it away.

Which Homemade BBQ Sauce Are You Going To Make? 

Whether you prefer the classic BBQ sauces or the more creative style dips, this list is all you need to elevate the flavors of your next BBQ grill.

You have several options in front of you, and it’s only a matter of time before you find one that you’ll keep making again and again. 

So, which sauce are you going to try now?

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