My Favorite Barbeque Sauce

Barbeque sauce never passed my lips until I moved to Dallas, Texas, for my first job after college. I moved a lot as a child, but never lived in any barbecue states, so to speak. I’ve lived in California, Washington, New York, and Utah, plus France, and barbecue was unheard of in these places, at least growing up.

When I first tasted barbeque sauce, I wasn’t that impressed. It was probably because I also wasn’t impressed with the meats with which they were served. Especially ribs – they’re so fiddly and messy to eat. And I thought brisket was dreadfully stringy. But looking back, I can see why many barbeque sauces didn’t appeal to me. Some are overly sweet, some are overly tangy, some are overly smokey.

Then I started making my own. Of course, some of them weren’t quite traditional, like adding rum and plums or whatnot, but it seemed to me that it was pretty darn easy to make a good, basic barbeque sauce. I especially detest the over-sweetness of purchased barbeque sauces, but that’s something you can definitely control in your own kitchen.

So now I have my own favorite barbeque sauce. I don’t know really how it began, but it evolved over time, just like all of our favorite recipes we customize as home cooks. It’s a little bit different, but I warn you it is delicious and addictive. Here’s to sharing recipes!

My Favorite Barbecue Sauce

6 ounces unsalted butter
3 – 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon, strained

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar.

Then add the seasonings.

Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or so over low heat, uncovered.

Add the vinegar and stir to combine. Simmer for one minute, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.

It’s really good with grilled chicken or slow-cooked ribs, but it’s especially good with spicy, smoked brisket!

By Published On: September 29th, 201454 Comments on My Favorite Barbeque Sauce

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Cecile September 29, 2014 at 8:10 AM - Reply

    I’m definitely going to try this! When we lived in Malta I used to make my own barbecue sauce simply because there weren’t lots of choices in Malta, as you can only imagine! I’ve never seen a sauce recipe which contains butter – I bet the addition of butter lends a lovely creaminess to the sauce. How long do you think this will keep? I know the one I used to make was only supposed to be kept for a few weeks. (If this sauce doesn’t have a long ‘shelf life’, then I’ll just share it and make others happy !)

    • chef mimi September 29, 2014 at 8:23 AM - Reply

      Wow. Malta sounds so exotic! I have no idea how long this sauce will last. I would probably freeze it after a couple of weeks. But I’ve never had any left over that long. It’s seriously that good, and probably because of the butter, even though that doesn’t seem like a BBQ sauce ingredient!

      • Cecile September 29, 2014 at 9:07 AM

        Malta was wonderful ! I’ve been feeling a bit ‘homesick’ for it lately. I’ve been back once since my husband died and I’m hoping to go back soon. I always say I leave a bit of my heart everywhere I’ve lived & I bet you find it so as well !

      • chef mimi September 29, 2014 at 10:17 AM

        Oh my gosh that’s horrible. He must have been so young.

      • Cecile September 29, 2014 at 12:40 PM

        He was young….. He was president of an international merchant bank in Malta called Fimbank. He left Fimbank in 2004 and had only one year at his beloved farm in St. Antoine de Tilly, Quebec before his cancer returned. We were supposed to have spent that year in Casablanca & he always said how glad he was that he’d had at least that one full year at his farm. If you ‘google’ both ‘Fimbank’ & ‘Claude Roy’ you will be able to see the last photo of him, which was in the Fimbank annual report.

      • chef mimi September 29, 2014 at 12:47 PM

        Jesus. I’m so sorry.

      • Cecile September 29, 2014 at 1:09 PM

        Thanks so much Mimi. It’ll be seven years in a few days…

      • chef mimi September 29, 2014 at 12:51 PM

        That was a really nice write-up on the website.

      • Cecile September 29, 2014 at 1:10 PM

        Aren’t you sweet – thanks. He was very well liked and respected – all over the world !

    • apuginthekitchen September 29, 2014 at 1:57 PM - Reply

      Cecille, I read your conversation with Mimi and just wanted to say how sorry I am for the loss of your husband, I also wanted to tell you I lived in Malta off and on for a year. Loved it there, I was in Sliema had a villa overlooking the sea, it was wonderful. I remember the fig tree in my yard, it was happy times.

      • Cecile September 29, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        No kidding – how lucky … since most of the villas have now been torn down…. which was breaking my heart when we lived there! We, too, lived in Silema – and my husband’s office was about a five minute walk, which is why we never chose to leave our flat in Silema, which overlooked Valletta and the Med. Sea. How did you come to be living there. How cool – and when did you live there. Wouldn’t it be funny if we actually knew each other OR if we knew the same people!!

      • apuginthekitchen September 29, 2014 at 5:36 PM

        I was in Malta a very long time ago, I was there with my husband who was a musician. He was working with some musicians in Malta. When I first arrived I stayed at a hotel in Valetta, can’t remember the name. It has been a long time but I have fond memories,

      • Cecile September 29, 2014 at 8:14 PM

        The hotel might’ve been Hotel Phoenicia… I would’ve loved to have seen Malta as it used to be – lucky you!! Actually – we were both lucky to have lived in Malta!!

      • apuginthekitchen September 29, 2014 at 9:15 PM

        I can’t remember the hotel. It could have been.i loved Malta. So beautiful.

      • Cecile September 29, 2014 at 4:31 PM

        I went to your ‘about’ page… guess what !? We lived in Brooklyn Heights when my husband worked on Wall Street. Our twin sons went to five schools in six years, so when we ended up in Philadelphia (Villanova, actually) we promised them they could attend middle school and high school in one place!

      • apuginthekitchen September 29, 2014 at 5:33 PM

        No kidding, I am right near Brooklyn Heights, walking distance by NYC standards. It’s beautiful there.

  2. Cecile September 29, 2014 at 8:12 AM - Reply

    P.S. – Your brisket looks ‘killer’ !!!

  3. foxress September 29, 2014 at 8:18 AM - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! It sounds fantastic!

    • chef mimi September 29, 2014 at 8:20 AM - Reply

      You are so welcome! It’s really fantasticc!

  4. Francesca September 29, 2014 at 10:16 AM - Reply

    Not popular and common in my country either. It sounds fantastic!

    • chef mimi September 30, 2014 at 8:14 AM - Reply

      No! It’s definitely an American thing!

  5. ostriche September 29, 2014 at 10:37 AM - Reply


  6. A Famished Foodie September 29, 2014 at 10:42 AM - Reply

    I have to say…I am more of a dry rub kind of girl, but I can enjoy a good BBQ sauce every so often. I’ll have to save this one for the future!

    • chef mimi September 29, 2014 at 12:49 PM - Reply

      This was a rub plus a sauce. Even better!!!

  7. Mr Fitz September 29, 2014 at 12:38 PM - Reply

    48 hours brisket? Cool! What temp?

    • chef mimi September 29, 2014 at 12:48 PM - Reply

      135 degrees for 48 hours. It’s the same for flank steak.

  8. StefanGourmet September 29, 2014 at 1:43 PM - Reply

    Great looking brisket. Interesting that you smoke after sous-vide, so far I’ve only done it vice versa. I didn’t expect butter in a bbq sauce, but am not surprised it’s tasty that way.

    • chef mimi September 30, 2014 at 8:15 AM - Reply

      That’s what makes it so unique I think. I don’t know why I didn’t smoke first. That really does make more sense from a flavor perspective.

  9. apuginthekitchen September 29, 2014 at 1:54 PM - Reply

    Your BBQ sauce sounds great, really like that you add butter, everything is better with butter IMHO. You are so right, commercial sauces are too sweet or smoky or what have you. Pretty much dislike them all but have never made my own. Looks good on your sous vide brisket.

    • chef mimi September 30, 2014 at 8:16 AM - Reply

      Thank you. This i my favorite one, but you can really creative with BBQ sauce like adding cherries or apricots or different liquors. Fun.

  10. HostessAtHeart September 29, 2014 at 8:06 PM - Reply

    I agree with you on BBQ sauces, we use what comes closest to what we like. I like the blend of spices you’ve created and will give it a try.

  11. anotherfoodieblogger September 29, 2014 at 9:49 PM - Reply

    I have a recipe for BBQ sauce from my Better Homes and Garden recipe book from 1981 that I adapted over the years to suit our tastes. I totally agree with you about the sweetness of the store-bought BBQ sauces. Blech! Plus, when you grill something with an overly sugary sauce, it burns the heck out of it! This looks like a great recipe, when we get back to grilling again in my neck of the woods I’ll have to try yours out!

  12. Elaine @ foodbod September 30, 2014 at 12:37 AM - Reply

    Looks good – can I just ask what you mean by tomato sauce? Is it a paste or passata?

    • chef mimi September 30, 2014 at 7:57 AM - Reply

      In the states we have canned tomato sauce and tomato puree, as well as whole and diced tomatoes and paste. Puree is liquid but a little more condensed, and tomato sauce is on the thinner side. They’re all from cooked and strained tomatoes, with no additional ingredients. Either sauce or puree or passata could be used – the more liquid tomato sauce would require a little more cooking time, since the resulting BBQ sauce is thick. You could always add a bit of tomato paste from a tube at the end to enrich the tomato flavor.

  13. Francesca (@LaCucinaPovera) September 30, 2014 at 2:12 AM - Reply

    I just discovered the world of homemade BBQ sauce, too. Now the store-bought stuff tastes bland to me :/ Yours looks great! Worcestershire sauce is definitely key.

    • chef mimi September 30, 2014 at 8:17 AM - Reply

      I think it is as well. Love the stuff!

  14. Frugal Hausfrau September 30, 2014 at 7:56 AM - Reply

    Looks like a lovely sauce! I grew up on KC Masterpiece, but started making my own for the same reasons you did! I just can’t pick a favorite, though…my sauces are like me kids, I guess. Some days I just like one more than another, even though I always love them!

  15. Mary Frances September 30, 2014 at 5:05 PM - Reply

    Sounds likes a tasty sauce. Personally, I’m not a fan of when it’s too sweet or has cinnamon in it.

    • chef mimi October 1, 2014 at 9:54 AM - Reply

      Now, I dislike sweet, but I’ve never heard of cinnamon in a BBQ sauce. Yuck!

  16. sakinah30 September 30, 2014 at 5:50 PM - Reply

    Reblogged this on Cappuccino.

  17. Kristi September 30, 2014 at 8:55 PM - Reply

    I love homemard BBQ sauce so much more than store bought. And, I love having another BBQ recipe to add to the collection. Thanks Mimi! Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen

  18. Choc Chip Uru October 1, 2014 at 6:29 PM - Reply

    I always thought the bottled ones from the supermarket were much too sweet as well, your homemade version of BBQ sauce seems much better :D

    Choc Chip Uru

    • chef mimi October 2, 2014 at 11:26 AM - Reply

      In the US, there’s too much sugar in every product. It’s like the manufacturers of food products think we won’t buy food unless it’s sweet. Which is why I make everything from scratch!

  19. Sue/theviewfromgreatisland October 1, 2014 at 8:20 PM - Reply

    Forget the meat, I’ll just take a bowl of that luscious sauce, please :)

  20. dianeskitchentable October 2, 2014 at 5:18 PM - Reply

    I agree with you on a homemade sauce being so much better than bottled although if I use a bottled one I like Sweet Baby Ray’s. I used to make one that had a can of Coke in it & it was really a good one. Can I find that recipe now? Of course not.

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