Homemade BBQ Sauce

Reader Contribution by Candi Johns
1 / 8
2 / 8
3 / 8
4 / 8
5 / 8
6 / 8
7 / 8
8 / 8

 BBQ Sauce is one of those things that we often buy at the store, but it is easy to make. Unlike ketchup, homemade BBQ sauce will only take you 20 minutes, and it will taste better than anything from a bottle. And it will probably be healthier for you, since it won’t contain any preservatives or extra stuff.

There are a lot of tempting BBQ sauce recipes on the Internet.

Here’s the problem with (most of) them:

1. Too many ingredients
2. Too complicated
3. Too much time

This BBQ sauce will not disappoint (unless you want firecrackers in your mouth — then you should get another recipe … or just add some red pepper). If you want a sweet, tangy, slightly spicy sauce, then look no further. This one is fab. It’s thick. It’s easy. It only has 5 ingredients. And it takes 20 minutes.

This, people, is my love language.

How good is it?

We had friends over for dinner. We served bacon-BBQ-venison burgers on homemade slider buns. Everyone swooned. Everyone “oooooohed.” Everyone “aaaaaaahed.” Everyone wanted the recipe.

And I didn’t have one.

It was one of those desperate, I need BBQ and don’t have any kind of moments where you grab some things & throw it together.

For the next week my family put that treasured, mysterious, homemade BBQ sauce on everything they ate. Burgers, chicken, ribs, sandwiches. It was a BBQ-fest.

When we were down to the last couple of tablespoons, my daughter’s best friend said, “I can’t believe you don’t know how you made this — it’s the best BBQ sauce I’ve ever eaten in my life.”

Later, my oldest son said, “We have the best BBQ in the world in our refrigerator but no one knows how to make it.”

OK, fine. I’ll try to do it again.

I knew the ingredients I used, I just didn’t know the measurements. The good news is that I made another batch before the last 2 tablespoons were gone from the magic sauce so I could do a taste comparison. And I have it. And you can make it. And you will have the best BBQ sauce in the world in your refrigerator.

Here’s what you’ll need:

• 1-1/2 cups maple syrup (or brown sugar)
• 1 cup ketchup (yes, you can use homemade)
• 2 teaspoons dry mustard
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

That’s it. If you don’t have a jug of real maple syrup, you can use turbinado sugar, or some variety of brown sugar instead.

If you think I forgot the smoke part — I didn’t. I don’t want to eat “liquid smoke.” I want my “smoke” flavor to come from the smoke source — the grill (or smoker). Not from bottles of liquid. So don’t worry. When you brush this magnificent sauce on your ribs, it will not leave you wanting to drink smoke. Just grill the ribs, then add the sauce, and it will be everything smokey you have ever wanted. Yum!

1. Put 1 cup of ketchup in a sauce pan.

2. Add 1-1/2 cups maple syrup (or brown sugar), 2 teaspoons dry mustard, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar. Whisk it all together. It will look like thin ketchup. Trust me, it’s gonna change. It’s going to be thick and rich and wonderful.

3. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it roll.

4. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. The color will deepen. The sauce will thicken. What looked like ketchup 20 minutes ago is now a thick, rich, sweet, tangy BBQ sauce.

That’s it!

If you happened to use turbinado or some sort of brown sugar, your sauce will be a little darker in color than the pic above … and it will be fabulous. I’ve made it both ways (with maple syrup and with turbinado sugar). The turbinado/brown sugar variation produces a thicker sauce & doesn’t require as much simmering to get to that thickness. Using maple syrup will require more simmering and patience. Whichever version you decide to go with, it will be great.

Now, you need something fabulous to brush this wonderful sauce onto …

Ribs! Ribs! Ribs!

Oh yes. Oh my. Ribs are spectacular around here.

Since we raise all our own meat, we don’t get ribs very often.There are a limited amount of ribs on any given animal. This makes “rib night” kinda like Christmas. It’s a big deal.

It would be a shame to ruin rib night with some store-bought, mediocre BBQ sauce. When we eat a rack of ribs, it’s got to be perfect.

We serve more BBQ sauce with the ribs in the house for those (also known as everyone) who want more sauce on their ribs.

Bacon BBQ Sliders

BBQ Bacon Slider, the “Kids’ Way.” No onions, chives, or other toppings to get in the way.

If a food has ever almost made me cry, this may be it.

Maybe it was the homemade, yeast slider buns. Maybe it was the ground-venison burgers marbled with lard. Maybe it was the caramelized red onions from the garden. Maybe it was the homegrown, thick-sliced bacon. Maybe it was the homemade, maple, BBQ sauce.

Whatever the reason, I’m pretty sure every burger I eat for the rest of my life is going to have bacon and BBQ sauce on it. I have been missing out.

BBQ Bacon Sliders, my way …

You totally need to eat one.

BBQ Pulled Venison Sandwiches

Deer leg, you have met your fate.

Because the front legs are so skinny and lifeless on deer, many hunters just toss them aside for the coyotes to eat. Some processors don’t even fool with those lanky front deer legs — it’s just not worth the effort for the meat … unless you cook the entire leg whole. Then you are talking.

We always save our front deer legs. It is one of my favorite meals and can feed a crowd.

For smoked, BBQ venison, first cook the deer leg in the oven for 6-8 hours. Finish in a smoker for 1-2 hours. Pull meat off leg & add the BBQ sauce. You’ll be happy you did.

To get weekly updates, tips and recipes subscribe via email (here), or on Facebook (here), or on Twitter (here) or on Instagram (here).


Need Help? Call 1-866-803-7096