Who doesn't love a sweet barbecue sauce? Whether it is to top your burger, pulled pork, bbq chicken, or using it as a delicious dip for french fries, having a favorite bbq sauce that you can easily whip up is a must. Having a go-to sauce that you can make in a quick 20 minutes to provide great flavor to all your barbecue dishes is a necessity if you want to be the king of the grill and host a bbq.
We use barbecue sauce all year but in the summer it seems like we go through gallons of it. It can be hard to find a store-bought sauce that isn't full of high-fructose corn syrup and other additives so we prefer to make our own. This recipe is a favorite of our whole family and we tend to double or even triple it when we make a batch. The older members of the fam also like this sriracha bbq sauce and hot honey bbq sauce which bring a little heat.
There are many ways you can vary this great sweet bbq sauce to your own tastebuds so make sure to read through our section on variations. Enjoy!
Ingredients for Sweet BBQ Sauce Recipe
Tomatoes - Canned crushed tomatoes are all you need. If you have fresh tomatoes or want to use smoked tomatoes you can do that too. Several bbq sauces use ketchup as a base, I like to start from scratch with tomatoes. This is the base for the bbq sauce.
Apple Cider Vinegar - This is a key ingredient that helps to balance the sweetness and acidity. If you don't have apple cider vinegar, you can substitute red wine vinegar or even balsamic.
Smoked Paprika - This is one of my favorite seasonings. It adds a great smoky richness to the sauce.
Sugar - This is how we get the sweetness. A combination of white sugar and brown sugar creates the sweetness in this bbq sauce.
Remaining Ingredients - These remaining ingredients are important to balance all the flavors. Tomato paste, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, and of course salt.
How to make Sweet BBQ Sauce
There is really only one step here. Combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Give it a taste as you go, so if you want to change anything you can. If you were using crushed tomatoes or even whole tomatoes, use an immersion blender when you are done cooking to thoroughly blend all the ingredients. You can also use a whisk to ensure all the ingredients are combined and none of the spices or sugar have clumped up.
Variations on Homemade BBQ Sauce
This is a great sauce that can easily head in different directions if you want to provide some options to your pantry.
Spicy - Sriracha sauce is a great way to kick up a bbq sauce. You can also go with ground cayenne pepper or even crushed red pepper flakes to add some heat.
Sweeter - Add some honey, maple syrup, or just more sugar if you are looking for an even sweeter sauce.
Fruit - Fruit is a great way to help balance the heat. Peaches and mango are a creat add to combine when kicking up some heat in the sauce. Cranberries can also give bbq some tartness that will pair well with smoked turkey, or grilled chicken.
How to store Homemade BBQ Sauce
The goal is to keep it in an airtight container. I like to use a mason jar and store it in the refrigerator. Just pop it out of the fridge anytime you use it and pop it back in when done. It will keep in the fridge for up to a month.
How to use Homemade Barbecue Sauce
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 3 oz tomato paste
- ½ c brown sugar
- ½ c white sugar
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 TBS smoked paprika
- 2 TBS apple cider vinegar
- Combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Pour into a mason jar and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use.