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17 Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipes That Rival Your Favorite BBQ Joint

If you're a fan of barbecue, you know that the sauce sometimes makes the meal. While Texans would argue that the best needs no barbecue sauce at all, barbecue sauce plays an important role in barbecue culture across America's Barbecue Belt (Missouri to Texas to North Carolina to South Carolina, and the list goes on). While there isn't a steadfast combination that makes the best barbecue sauce, most have a similar base: tomatoes (ketchup or purée), vinegar, sugar, spices and flavors. That's where your creative culinary genius comes in.

You can add your favorite booze or even fruit to a sauce to make it your own. Just think of flavors that go together like apples and pork or mustard and chicken. Once you start pairing flavors you can combine to create any sauce you like.

Need some inspiration? These 17 homemade barbecue sauce recipes are a good start.

1. Alabama White Barbecue Sauce


White barbecue sauce is a North Alabama favorite. It has a tangier flavor and can be used as both a basting sauce and dressing for sandwiches, chicken and ribs.

The flecks of black pepper add depth to the sauce, and feel free to add a few dashes of onion powder to get a more complex flavor that plays up the vinegar flavors of barbecue. Get the recipe here.

2. Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Save some of your favorite bourbon to make this rich and smoky sauce with. When it comes to BBQ recipes, the best all have a component of alcohol, so why not bring that your barbecue sauce recipe?

Paired with everything from pork ribs, chicken wings, or chicken breasts, this easy BBQ sauce recipe is a winner. Has maple syrup ever steered you wrong? Get the recipe here.

3. Cherry Barbecue Sauce

This sauce goes from frozen to fragrant in just 15 minutes. Frozen cherries muddle down in a hot pan with aromatics like onion and garlic for a sauce that is both tangy and sweet.

A sweet sauce pairs surprisingly well with barbecued meat. For a more complex flavor, swap in apple cider vinegar for the white vinegar. Get the recipe for this homemade BBQ sauce here.

4. Chocolate Chile Barbecue Sauce

Cocoa and chile powder come together in this spicy sauce that is ideal on rich meats like brisket and ribs. Whether you're cooking up Kansas City-style barbecue at home or good ol' Texas style, this sauce pairs perfectly.

For a little more zing, add a dash of cayenne pepper and baste away! Get the recipe here.

5. Sweet Barbecue Sauce

If you like your sauce on the sweet side, this recipe is for you. Brown sugar is the base and flavor additions like ground mustard, paprika and salt add depth.

Get the recipe here.

6. Spiced Rum BBQ Sauce

Love the flavor of spiced rum? Cook it down with onions, ginger, molasses and a few other ingredients for a sweet and spicy caribbean take on barbecue.

Slather this on kebabs, especially ones stacked with sweet red onions. Get the recipe here.

7. South Carolina BBQ Sauce


This mustard-barbecue sauce is a staple for South Carolina BBQ. Here, we've paired it with the most supple pork you'll ever eat.

Take it one step further and cook it down low and slow in the slow cooker for luscious BBQ pulled pork. Get the recipe here.

8. Blueberry BBQ Sauce

Blueberries are for more than just jam. Cook them down for a delicious sauce perfect for your backyard BBQ. Get the recipe here.

9. Mustard and Rosemary Barbecue Sauce

Two kinds of mustard come together in this rich sauce accented with the flavor of rich rosemary.

This would pair deliciously with any kind of grilled chicken. Rosemary always works so well with poultry. Get the recipe here.

10. Roasted Strawberry Barbecue Sauce

If you're trying to figure out what to do with all those ripe summer strawberries, this luscious sauce is your answer. Get the recipe here.

11. Apple Cider Barbecue Sauce

This is the perfect sauce to make in the fall when you've got an abundance of apples and cider on hand.

To up the ante, add a dash or two of bourbon. What could really go wrong? Get the recipe here.

12. Garlic Green Chile Barbecue Sauce

A healthy helping of fresh green peppers give this sauce some flavorful heat. Just smother it on everything, you won't be able to help yourself.

Get the recipe here.

13. Herbed Horseradish Barbecue Sauce


If you want some spice without heat, then horseradish is the ingredient you have been searching for. Tang without tongue-burning tingling, it provides just enough zing to perk up any recipe.

Get the recipe here.

14. Bacon Barbecue Sauce

Any bacon lover will appreciate this full-bodied bacon BBQ sauce.

Ideal for anything smoked, it also makes a pretty great gift when you jar and label it. Get the recipe here.

15. Korean Barbecue Sauce

Korean BBQ is some of the most delicious in the world. And the sauce, made with mirin and sriracha, has something to do with it.

Get the recipe here.

16. Watermelon Barbecue Sauce

Watermelon not only provides your daily servings of fruit and vegetables, it makes for a great sauce,too. Get the recipe here.

17. Bourbon Orange Coriander Barbecue Sauce

If you like to smother your chicken, pork, and ribs in something rich and tangy, this bourbon-based sauce highlighted with fresh citrus will make you very happy.

Get the recipe here.

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