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Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce

Have you ever been midway through making dinner when you discover you don’t have a key ingredient on hand? Well, this has happened to me all too many times. In the moment, I’m mad at myself for not checking beforehand. In the end, though, I’m usually quite happy with the creative ways in which I fill the void.

This homemade barbecue sauce is a wonderful example. I started making this sauce years ago on a day I needed barbecue sauce and didn’t have any. While I’ve tweaked it a bit over the years, it still has the same perfect blend of sweet, tangy, and smokey flavors.

This sauce is the ideal condiment for so many things. Baste it on grilled chicken, pork, or ribs of any kind. Splash it on a burger or even on a pizza. Its versatility is endless.

I use this sauce exclusively for family favorites like my Southern Baked Beans, Slow Cooked Barbecue Pulled Pork, Barbecue Rubbed Country Ribs, and BBQ Pork Belly.

Here are quick tips for preparing and using this sauce.

  • This sauce will eventually go bad even though it has vinegar in it, which is a natural preservative. For that reason, I recommend you prepare and use what you need for a recipe. You can store any remaining sauce for future use. For best results, you’ll want to pour prepared sauce in a tightly sealed container, preferably a mason jar or a special glass food storage jar. Store the container in the refrigerator for up to a month. Discard if the sauce develops an odd odor or taste.
  • You can freeze this sauce, if desired; however, you may find it loses quality when doing so. Cool completely and store in an airtight, freezer friendly container or bag for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator when you’re ready to use.
  • For the spicy food connoisseur, feel free to add more cayenne pepper to turn up the heat.
Annete's Cooking
Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce

Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce

Recipe by Annette (•‿•)

This homemade barbecue sauce has the perfect blend of sweet, tangy, and smokey flavors that’s perfect on chicken, pork, beef, or ribs of any kind. Splash it on a burger or even on a pizza. Its versatility is endless.

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  • 1 4-ounce 1 stick butter

  • 1-1/2 cups 1-1/2 ketchup

  • 1 cup 1 water

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon 1 cumin

  • 2 teaspoon 2 garlic powder

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon 1 lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons 2 soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon 1 liquid smoke

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Dijon mustard

  • 1 cup 1 honey

  • 1/8 teaspoon 1/8 cayenne pepper

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  • Stir in ketchup and water until combined well with butter.
  • Add all remaining ingredients to pan and bring to boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

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