BBQ Sauce Recipes with Style

BBQ sauce recipes have as many styles as there are BBQ. Some are thick and some are thin and watery. Some are sweet, some are sour, and some are hot and spicy. What a better choice for your own special recipe.  After all, the sauce is boss... right?

Sauces usually flavor meats at the end of the cooking process. Most of them usually have sugar, which can burn. That is why they usually call for you to put it on during the last 30 minutes or less of cooking time. These sweet sauces are also used as a dipping sauce.

Styles of the Big Guys

Different regions of the country have their own style of BBQ sauce. There are five major styles. They are as follows:



vinegar based
not too spicy
not too sweet


tomato and vinegar based
not too spicy
not too sweet

St. Louis

tomato and vinegar based

Kansas City

tomato based
not too spicy


medium to thin
tomato based
not too sweet

OK. OK. I know there are more than that.

But these are in the big league. They are the most well known. There are many many other small sub-groups around the country (not to mention the world). There are a slew of them in the state of Georgia alone. But, we can't mention them all.

The vinegar based barbecue sauces are the thinner ones (like Carolina and Memphis style). They are used more often during cooking because they are less likely to burn. A mop sauce is one that is used as a basting sauce applied with a brush or mop during cooking. Mops are very thin and mostly based on vinegar or fruit juices.

Thicker sauces ( like Kansas City style ) are usually sweeter and generally applied after cooking to avoid burning. Texas style is tomato based and usually spicy. St. Louis style hits the middle. It's not thick or thin, vinegar and tomato based, and both sweet and spicy. I've got to tell you... there are more varieties of a barbecue sauce recipe than you can shake a stick at.


Ingredients for BBQ sauce recipes are not as simple as the acid, oil, and seasonings of a marinade. They will definitely have seasonings; but they may or may not have an acid or an oil.

The most common styles of BBQ sauce have vinegar, tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, or combinations as a base. Some of these following ingredients are common if not standard in some BBQ sauce recipes. Feel free to add whatever you like, or whatever you think might give it a good or unique flavor.

chili peppers (of all types)
brown sugar
soy sauce

Well, you get the idea (and this is only a few).

Spices come from all parts of the globe. Chili peppers alone are grown all over the world. It just goes to show the variety of possibilities when you decide to create an original recipe of your own.

A Basic BBQ Sauce Recipe

Here is a basic recipe for BBQ sauce for you to consider.

1/4 c cider vinegar
1/2 c ketchup
1/2 c water
3 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black peper

Combine all ingredients
Mix well
Refrigerate until use

It can't get any more simple than that.

The vinegar/ketchup base can vary greatly from one recipe to the next. Those base ingredients could have a different ratio. The amounts could be increased or decreased, or be something completely different (like tomato sauce). Changing any of the other flavorings and seasonings is entirely up to you, your taste, and your imagination.

With some recipes for BBQ sauce you will simply mix up the ingredients and use it immediately (as above). Others will require you to heat it first.

Be aware that using something like ketchup (catsup) will give you a different flavor depending on which brand you use. Heinz (my favorite) tastes different than Hunt's or other brands.

Let's say this is not your style. If this doesn't suit your taste, go a different direction.

For instance, you may want a more sweet KC style of sauce . That's good. It's very common that people crave a sweeter sauce. As a matter of fact, I prefer a certain amount of sweetness too. So... start small. Begin with some

1 c tomato sauce (or ketchup if you prefer)
1/2 c molasses
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pepper

Heat this while you are combining ingredients. The molasses will thin down and make it easier. If it is too thick add a little vinegar to thin it as needed.

If you like, you could add a touch of hot sauce, curry powder, or liquid smoke. It's your sauce, you know. Make it like you want.

I suppose you have noticed that I use brown sugar and molasses quite often in my ingredients. Longhorn Luke does too when he makes his drunk butter .

I do know that many people must have a sugar free BBQ sauce to be able to enjoy it. I am just used to using what I like. However, there are ways to create delicious sugar free versions of your favorite BBQ sauce recipes. The sugar free BBQ sauce page might help.

Linda has also provided some information about diabetes to me that might be of interest to some of you. She helps promote awareness on healthy eating habits and its associated benefits.

Go Forth and Create

As you make changes, taste along the way. If you make major changes to a recipe, do it in small batches and take notes. If you hit on a good one (like another K.C. Masterpiece), you will want to duplicate it (and sell it if it's really good).

When it comes to BBQ sauce recipes, there really are no rules or limitations.

Feel free to sautee onions and garlic before adding liquids.
Toast your seasonings before use.
Roast peppers if you would like.
Simmer the sauce for a while.
Strain it or even puree it if that's what turns you on.
Just make a batch and have fun.

Good luck to you. And don't worry about the imperfect ones. Get another drink and try again.

What Makes Your Style of BBQ Sauce
so Great?

Is your preferred style of BBQ sauce better than all the rest? Is it so good, that it's ridiculous?

You already know why it's so much better than the others... Teach us why!

What it is about your style of BBQ sauce that makes it superior? Is it simply the taste? Is it the texture, tangyness, a special ingredient, or what?

If you've got a recipe, show the world!

Some sauces are best with a certain kind of food, while others are good with everything. Some styles are only in certain parts of the country, and others are worldwide. What's so great about yours?

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Great BBQ Sauce Styles of Others

Click on the links below for THE best styles of BBQ Sauce. These were all written by other visitors to this page...

Lexington type sauce 
Lexington Vinegar Sauce: 2 cups apple cider vinegar 3/4 cup ketchup 1/3 cup Honey 1/4 cup packed brown sugar 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon …

uncle tom's pig and chicken 
simple and it works!!

still workin' on it ... 
Not the best because it is ( just not right to me )... but everyone praises my chicken and ribs. I cook outside year round. I hope to have yall somthing …

Stage Coach Sauces Carolina Barbeque is the BEST 
This is the best Carolina Style BBQ Sauce I have ever had - the only problem is I can only get it when I am in Florida or when I call the company. And …

Midwest is best!!!! 
We in the real midwest (Oklahoma) have the best of all worlds (Kansas city, St. Louis, Texas, and a little bit of the south). We like it sweet, hot, …

1,000,000 BBQ lovers cant be wrong!  
My sauce lathered and layered onto a perfectly roasted rib or smoked brisket has a sweet/ tangy almost candy like 1st taste but once you swallow the Heat …

Exclusive NY Style BBQ 
Makes 2 Servings 1/2 cup vinegar lots of ketchup 1/2 cup hot sauce 2 Tbls sugar 2 Tbls brown sugar 1 tsp salt 3 tsp chili powder 1 Tbls garlic …

Doctored KC Style 
Taste, taste, taste. That's the measure of what makes BBQ sauce great. Most Kansas City styles of BBQ sauce are just a little bit too sweet for me. …

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