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Barbecue Sauce: My Go To Favorite for Barbecue at Home

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  • Author: Laura Davis, adapted from The Southern Living Cookbook
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x


This versatile sauce is sweet, tangy, spicy and full of flavor. Use it on meats, veggies, sausages and burgers.


  • 1/2 cup water (fruit juice such as orange or peach can substituted)
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup
  • 2/3 cup of dark brown sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon of molasses
  • 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoon of lemon juice or 1/2 of a large lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure chili powder (ground new Mexico, chipotle or your favorite)
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika or sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon or pinch of garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon or pinch of Mexican oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon or pinch of ground cumin



  1. Place all together in a sauce pan and gently simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until well combined. Now all you have to do is decide what meat or veggie to use it for. Nice.

How I barbecued the chicken in this post:

  1. I bought a few chicken thighs and legs (our favorite) seasoned them with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Allow them to marinate in the lemon juice for about 20 to 30 minutes. ( I usually don’t add fat to thighs and legs since they already have plenty but will lightly oil the grill before cooking.)
  2. Heat or prepare your grill and sear the chicken and allow to cook until almost done. This should take 30 to 45 minutes according to the heat of your grill. Brush them several times with the sauce and allow the sauce to thicken on the meat which will take another 10 to 15 minutes to do. Watch for flair ups if your grill is still very hot. If you are using a propane grill then place the chicken on a flat pan or foil while you are saucing the chicken.
  3. Enjoy.


Adapted from The Southern Living Cookbook 1987.

This recipe easily doubles.

The chili powder is optional. My preference is pure ground chili powders such as chipotle, New Mexico or pasilla. If you are not into a spicy sauce then leave off the chili powder altogether or add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne for a touch of heat. I do like mine spicy so I might be a little heavy handed to some. Remember, if you are sensitive to spicy foods take it slow, you can always add more later.

Use peach juice or fresh orange juice in place of the water for a touch of fruit flavor in the sauce.

Enjoy and Happy Barbecueing!

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
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