Make Your Own BBQ Sauce

Make Your Own BBQ Sauce

Make Your Own BBQ Sauce

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

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

  • Too many ingredients
  • Too complicated
  • 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 – look no further.  This one is fab.  It’s thick.  It’s easy.  It only has 5 ingredients.  And it takes 20 mintues.

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:

  • Maple Syrup (or brown sugar)
  • Ketchup (Yes, you can use homemade)
  • Dry Mustard
  • Pepper
  • 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 like “liquid smoke.”  Even the name sounds unappetizing to me.  Who wants to drink smoke?  How do they make smoke into a liquid anyhow?  Gag.

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 & it will be everything smokey you have ever wanted.  Yum!

First put 1 cup of ketchup in a sauce pan.

BBQ Collage

Add 1 1/2 cups maple syrup (or brown sugar), 2 tsp dry mustard, 1/4 tsp pepper and 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar.  Whisk it all together.  It will look like thin ketchup and you will think that it is not BBQ sauce.

Trust me, it’s gonna change.  It’s going to be thick and rich and wonderful.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it roll.

bbq 5

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.

bbq ribs Collage

First I salt & pepper both sides of the rib racks.  DH is the griller around here, so he takes it from there.  Once the ribs are fully cooked he brushes on the first coat of BBQ while they are on the grill.  This cooks the BBQ sauce further and creates a gorgeous, caramelized coating on the ribs.

Bring them in the house and slice the ribs apart.

bbq 12

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 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.

I have been eating my burgers with lettuce, tomato and ketchup.

I have a new love.

BBQ Bacon Sliders, will you marry me?

bbq 13

BBQ Bacon Sliders my way…

You totally need to eat one.


BBQ Venison Sandwiches

deer leg

Yes, I use a Sawzall in my kitchen. Yes, it’s clean. Yes, I need a bigger pan.

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 & 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.

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Print Recipe
BBQ Sauce
If you want a sweet, tangy, slightly spicy sauce - look no further. This one is fab. It's thick. It's easy. It only has 5 ingredients. And it takes 20 mintues.
Course Preserves
Course Preserves
Recipe Notes

Combine all ingredients in a saucepot.  Stir.  Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until desired thickness.  Stir often while cooking to prevent scorching.

For more spice add a dash of cayenne pepper.

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2 Responses

  1. Dorie George
    September 15, 2018
    • CJ
      September 15, 2018

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