How to Make Barbecue Sauce From Scratch

BBQ Sauce - Close Up Barbecued Chicken
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Barbecue sauce is largely personal: Some like it thick and sweet, others like it thin and tangy. Just like the different styles of barbecue, it varies from state to state.

“It took us 30 tries to get this sauce where we wanted,” says Philip Moseley, co-owner of Blue Oak BBQ in New Orleans.

The version he and partner Ronnie Evans settled on for saucing their oak-smoked chicken and ribs didn’t come together until they uncovered the key secret ingredient: Sprite. Unlike store-bought sauces, it’s neither gloppy nor overly sweet.

Try it yourself. We have a feeling this barbecue sauce will become a mainstay at your cookouts this summer.

Degree of Difficulty: Easy

Total Time: 20 minutes

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Prep time

5 min.

Cook time

15 min.

  • 1½ cups ketchup
  • 1 cup Sprite
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1½ tbs onion powder
  • 1½ tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tbs black pepper
  • 2 oz Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup mustard
  • ½ oz cider vinegar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup brown sugar
Combine ketchup and Sprite in a tall pot and warm over medium heat.
Add salt, onion and garlic powders, and black pepper, stirring to dissolve, then add Worcestershire, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and brown sugar.
Continue to stir as sauce begins to bubble. Remove from heat when it hits a high simmer. Cool to room temperature, transfer to a glass jar or plastic container, and store in fridge. It’ll keep for about three weeks.