Spicy Barbecue Sauce

One of my Epicurious friends inquired about favorite barbecue sauce recipes today among our Facebook group.  My favorite store-bought is Trader Joe’s Bold & Smokey Kansas City Style – not too sweet, just the right amount of spice and smoke flavor, and no HFCS.  Try finding a brand without high fructose corn syrup in your supermarket, other than TJ’s or WF, and it’s like trying to find real maple syrup at any breakfast spot outside Vermont.


I never use barbecue sauce for very long on the grill – all that wonderful flavor will burn off.  Instead, I prefer a slow indirect grilling process for ribs or chicken, and then brush it with the sauce at the very end, with more on the side for dipping.

When I do make my own barbecue sauce, it’s a spicy recipe that can be tamed to your taste.  This can be put together quickly, simmered for about 45 minutes, and will keep for weeks in the fridge if you don’t get around to using it right away:



2 tbsp canola or sunflower oil

1 large onion finely chopped

1 large garlic clove chopped

1-1/2 cups organic ketchup

6 tbsp molasses

1/4 cup Worcestershire

1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 tbsp chili sauce (Sambal Oelek or Sriracha are both good to have on hand for adding spice to a dish


1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

dash of Tabasco

1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder (optional)

Salt & pepper to taste


Sauté onions and garlic in canola oil until slightly golden. Add remaining ingredients, stir and simmer about 45 minutes. Makes about 3-1/2 cups


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