Weekend Project: Make Your Own BBQ Sauce!

(Image credit: Elizabeth Passarella)

We can taste it right now: smoky, rich, slightly sweet, slightly tangy, and a hint of hot spice. That’s our ideal barbecue sauce, and this time of year, we want it on just about everything. We’ve discovered that making it ourselves isn’t very hard, and preparing a big batch is the perfect project for a weekend afternoon! Do you make your own BBQ sauce?

Though we probably shouldn’t have been all that surprised, we were still shocked to discover that one of the main ingredients in our favorite go-to brand of barbecue sauce was none other than corn syrup. Starting right then, we’ve been making it ourselves. And now that we’re in the habit, we like having control over the ingredients and flavors that go into each batch. It’s fun to tweak the recipe and change it up every now and again!

Making barbecue sauce is as simple as combining ingredients in a pan and then letting the sauce slowly simmer. The longer you can let it simmer, the more the flavors of all the ingredients will combine and melt into each other. The end result is a thick, deeply-flavored sauce that can be used as a marinade, a condiment, or a dipping sauce.

Homemade barbecue sauce will be fine in your refrigerator for several weeks. We usually make a double or triple batch and freeze what we won’t use in that time. If you’re feeling industrious, you can also can your barbecue sauce to keep it preserved for months. Jars of homemade BBQ sauce make a very-welcome holiday gift, too!

We found our favorite barbecue sauce in a recipe for pulled pork:

The sauce is smoky and tangy with a nice kick- exactly what we said we liked in a barbecue sauce! (Also, try the pulled pork if you make this recipe. It’s divine.)

Here are a few other recipes for barbecue sauce to use as inspiration:

What is your ideal barbecue sauce?

(Image: Elizabeth Passarella for the Kitchn)