This sauce is really the best. Truly. Add it to shredded chicken breasts (or a store bought rotisserie chicken for something easy and quick) and put it on a hamburger bun for the greatest chicken sandwich, add it to grilled corn for a little “extra” touch.
It’s quick and easy, and you’ll likely already have all the ingredients in your cabinet already. Homemade BBQ Sauce is just a few minutes away!
I like to experiment with the sauce depending on my application. If it’s going on something with a little extra sugar (like sweet corn) or something fatty and rich (like pulled pork butt) I like to amp up the vinegar component for an extra contrast. If it’s going on something simple and light, like chicken, I prefer to keep it pretty much as is. Too much vinegar can make the flavor and mouthfeel taste dry – and that’s exactly what BBQ sauce is not supposed to do!
All that to say – make this sauce your own! That’s what cooking is all about. Make it per the recipe, and if you want some extra vinegar (or sugar) try adding just a touch (like a teaspoon at a time) to see if you like it heavier or lighter.
Sometimes I’ll also add a touch more spices like dried guajillo or ancho chili. If you have these, and like them, try them out. If you don’t – don’t sweat it! You’ll still have a great BBQ sauce that will be more of the classic style we all know and love. Those extra chilis just add some extra smokey or spicy elements, but aren’t needed to make a shoe-in blue ribbon winner.
First, you’ll make the spice blend. Then you’ll make the sauce with a base of chicken stock (or veggie, or last resort, water). If using water, add slightly less than the liquid called for, and an extra tablespoon of ketchup in order to have a thicker sauce. The gelatin and sugars in stock give a thicker mouthfeel and speed up the thickening process.
When reducing, feel free to set on medium high heat and once you initially whisk everything together, simply let it boil down keeping an eye on it every once in while. It should take about 10 minutes to reduce. You don’t have to stir often or worry about the bottom scorching.
Look for the sauce going from a thicker liquid to almost velvety. See below. The first photo I took right after whisking all the ingredients together. The bubble come up and it looks exactly like boiling water. The second photo, the bubbles look more sticky or more like a caramel almost. You can also know when you’re at about half way by watching the liquid line on your pot (another benefit of not stirring too much, you can easily see where the liquid was at when you started).
Once it’s ready to go, turn off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes before pouring into the desired container of choice. Especially if you are using a plastic container. Once cool enough to handle, pour into an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Homemade Barbecue Sauce
Yield: ~ 1.5-2 Cups
2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Tablespoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon all spice
1.5 teaspoons Oregano or Marjoram
1 teaspoon Dried Ancho Chili Powder (optional)
1 teaspoon Dried Guajillo Powder (optional)
combine all ingredients together and set aside.
1.5 Cups Chicken Stock (or vegetable stock)
1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
Spice Rub (from above)
3/4 Cup Ketchup
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- Combine all ingredients together and turn on medium high heat.
- Reduce by half.
- Once ready, let cool and pour into airtight container. Can reserve for up to 7 days in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer.