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How to Make Barbecue Sauce

June 7, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Austin 0 Comments

How to Make Barbecue Sauce

If you need to have barbecue sauce on your barbecued meats, then you, as a Southern friend says, “just ain’t makin’ good Q.” But if want to accompany those ribs or that brisket with a delicious companion sauce that helps to bring out each of the complex flavors found in slow cooked meats, then you’re in the right place. Barbecue sauce seems to run in the veins of some Texans.

In fact, there are more barbecue joints in Texas than any other state in the country. Your culinary career would do well to include some good old-fashioned barbecue tricks of the trade, like a spicy sauce to go with that famous Texas brisket.

A Sauce for Every Taste

Barbecue and barbecue sauces are a rich Austin, Texas culinary tradition. Some of the country’s best barbecue can be found inside the city’s borders. But barbecue isn’t just a Texas tradition. There are many variations of excellent barbecue sauces found around the country. These regional sauces are characterized by the choice of the main ingredient. They are:

  • Tomato – Texas and Kansas City
  • Vinegar – Eastern Carolinas and Texas
  • Mustard – South Carolina
  • White (Mayo)– Alabama and the Gulf Coast
  • Asian – Asian is popular fusion fare, even for BBQ

Each has its own adherents that say their sauce is the best. But just like you need to use the right tool for the right job, you must always use the right sauce for the right barbecue. Different meats, different cuts, and different cooking styles all call for different types of sauces. From mop sauces to finishing sauces to dipping sauces, there’s a lot to learn.

Basic Barbecue Sauce Recipe

If you’re confused about what is what in the world of barbecue sauces, we’ve put together this basic recipe that will go well with chicken, pork, or beef.


  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup steak sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 medium cloves of garlic, crushed or minced


  • Mix all dry ingredients in a small bowl
  • In a large bowl mix all the wet ingredients, except the oil
  • Sauté onions in a large saucepan with the oil over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes or until translucent
  • Add the garlic for the last minute or two
  • Add the dry ingredients and cook for another 2-3 minutes
  • Add the wet ingredients and simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for 15 minutes
  • Strain to remove onions and garlic

The sauce is ready to serve immediately, but an overnight stay in the refrigerator will give the ingredients a little time to come together.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in Austin, Texas. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Austin for more information. 

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures. Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.


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