Smoky BBQ Sauce

SMOKY BBQ SAUCE

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This is the best-ever homemade Smoky BBQ Sauce recipe! Once you try it, you’ll never want to buy store-bought BBQ sauce again! Ella and I both agree that it’s the best barbecue sauce we’ve ever had and it’s incredibly easy to make. Can you tell we are excited about this recipe?

Simply mix all the ingredients, simmer the sauce, let it cool, and enjoy! Also, we give you a sugar-free option! The flavors are perfectly balanced, with sweet and smoky notes shining through in each mouthwatering bite. It’s the perfect addition to chicken, burgers, pork, and more! We hope you love this barbecue sauce as much as we do!

Why You Will Love This Barbecue Sauce

  • It’s the perfect balance of sweet, smoky, and tangy flavors.
  • It is delicious and easy to make!
  • You can make this BBQ sauce sugar-free.
  • This barbecue sauce is the perfect addition to so many meals!
  • It’s our favorite barbecue sauce ever – it’s so much better than store-bought!

What Is Barbecue Sauce Made Of?

Barbecue sauce is made with a tomato base, either tomato sauce or ketchup. We made this homemade barbecue sauce from scratch with a can of tomato sauce. In addition to the tomato base, it contains vinegar. Rather than using apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, we added red wine vinegar for an incredible flavor. We sweetened this barbecue sauce with brown sugar, but you can easily make it sugar-free with your favorite sugar-free sweetener. We added spices such as garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika to give this sauce the ultimate depth of flavor. The hickory liquid smoke and chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce add a mild smoky heat.

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients for BBQ sauce
  • Tomato Sauce: Use one can of tomato sauce as the base of the sauce.
  • Vinegar: The red wine vinegar adds depth and complexity to the flavor of this BBQ sauce. It enhances the smoky and spicy elements of the sauce and makes it more flavorful.
  • Chipotle Peppers: Finely chop the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. They add another dimension of flavor and smokiness.
  • Onion Powder: Add onion powder for flavor.
  • Garlic Powder: The garlic powder adds additional flavor.
  • Smoked Paprika: A touch of smoked paprika adds to the sweet and smoky flavor.
  • Liquid Smoke: The hickory liquid smoke makes this BBQ sauce smoky and brings it to the next level!
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Enhances the flavor of the sauce.
  • Brown Sugar: Sweeten with brown sugar or a 1:1 sugar-free sweetener.
  • Salt: A small amount of salt to enhance the flavor.

How To Make Smoky BBQ Sauce

Step 1: Add the tomato sauce, red wine vinegar, and finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to a saucepan. Then, add the onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, hickory liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and salt to the saucepan.

Smoky BBQ sauce ingredients in saucepan

Step 2: Thoroughly mix all the ingredients.

Mixed BBQ sauce in saucepan

Step 3: Simmer the sauce over low heat on the stove to allow the flavors to meld. Stir occasionally so the sauce doesn’t burn.

Step 4: After simmering the sauce, let it cool and enjoy! Or, store it in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Barbecue sauce in jar

What To Serve With BBQ Sauce

There are so many ways you can serve this homemade BBQ sauce! Here are some ways to serve it:

  • Grilled Meat: Serve it with pork, ribs, chicken, steak, brisket, or chicken wings. 
  • Beans: Add it to baked beans. For a vegetarian option, use vegetarian baked beans.
  • Pulled Pork: Serve this barbecue sauce with pulled pork or pulled chicken.
  • Chicken: We used this BBQ sauce recipe to make slow cooker BBQ chicken!
  • Burgers: Add it to your favorite burgers such as our healthy chicken burgers.
  • Sandwiches: This BBQ sauce is perfect for making pulled pork sandwiches topped with our healthy coleslaw.
  • Veggies: Brush some of this BBQ sauce on vegetables. 
  • Pizza: Use this sauce as the base of a BBQ chicken pizza.
  • Dipping Sauce: It makes for a great dipping sauce! It’s a delicious dip for fries, onion rings, and chicken nuggets. 
  • Marinade: Use it as a marinade for vegetables or meat.
BBQ sauce on chicken sandwich

Expert Tips

  • Smooth Sauce: Finely chop the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce so they are evenly distributed throughout. If you want your sauce completely smooth, blend all the ingredients in a blender. Then, pour the sauce into a saucepan and simmer it on the stove. This step is optional as they are already finely chopped and we don’t mind a few bits of chipotle peppers. Or, maybe it’s just that we don’t want to wash the blender! Either way, it will come out perfect.
  • Simmer On Low: Simmer this BBQ sauce on low so it doesn’t burn. It is important to simmer the sauce so all the flavors meld together.
  • Let It Cool: After simmering the sauce, let it cool completely before serving.
  • Don’t Add Too Much Liquid Smoke: The hickory liquid smoke is important for adding smoky flavor to the sauce. However, don’t add too much, you only need one teaspoon.

Storage Instructions

Refrigerate: Store leftover homemade barbecue sauce in an airtight container or Mason jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Freeze: For longer storage, freeze it for up to three months in an airtight freezer-safe container or bag. Then, thaw it in the fridge overnight before enjoying it again.

Variations

  • Make It Sugar-Free: To make this barbecue sauce sugar-free, substitute the brown sugar with a sugar-free sweetener such as brown monk fruit.
  • Spicy: This BBQ sauce is mild in terms of heat. To make it spicy, consider adding a touch of chili powder or ground cayenne pepper.
  • Adjust The Sweetness: We found that this barbecue sauce is balanced and has just the right amount of sweetness. However, feel free to adjust the sweetness to your liking if you prefer a sweeter sauce.
  • Make More BBQ Sauce: You can easily double this recipe to make more sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does Homemade Barbecue Sauce Last?

This homemade smoky barbecue sauce lasts up to one week when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Can I Add Liquid Smoke To My Barbecue Sauce?

Yes, adding liquid smoke to barbecue sauce enhances the smoky flavor and gives it a rich, authentic taste. We used hickory liquid smoke in this recipe for a smoky flavor profile. It’s important to start with a small amount of liquid smoke since it is potent. One teaspoon is the perfect amount for this recipe.

Is This Barbecue Sauce Gluten-Free?

This barbecue sauce can be made gluten-free. Swap the Worcestershire sauce for a certified gluten-free Worcestershire sauce.

Is Barbecue Sauce Vegan?

Traditional barbecue sauce is most often not vegan. To make this homemade barbecue sauce vegan, use a vegan Worcestershire sauce since traditional Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies.

More Recipes To Try Next!

If you try this recipe please be sure to leave us a comment and star rating ★★★★★ letting us know how it turns out for you.

SMOKY BBQ SAUCE

Recipe by Shawna
5.0 from 1 vote
Course: SidesCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

12

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Calories

27

kcal

This is the best-ever homemade Smoky BBQ Sauce recipe! The flavors are perfectly balanced, with sweet and smoky notes shining through in each bite.

Cook Mode

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Ingredients

  • 15 oz can of tomato sauce

  • 1/3 CUP red wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke

  • 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/3 CUP brown sugar or sugar substitute

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  • Add the tomato sauce, red wine vinegar, finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, hickory liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and salt to a saucepan.
  • Thoroughly mix all the ingredients. *For a super smooth sauce without any chunks of chopped chipotle peppers, blend all the ingredients in a blender, then pour in a saucepan.
  • Simmer the sauce over low heat on the stove for 10-20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Stir occasionally and ensure the sauce doesn’t burn.
  • After simmering the sauce, remove it from the heat. Then, let it completely cool and enjoy! Or, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Each serving is about 3 tablespoons of barbecue sauce.
  • WW Points™: 1 point per serving using brown sugar; 0 points per serving using a sugar-free sweetener
  • To see your WW Points™ in the WW app for this recipe click here! Or, please manually add the ingredients to the recipe builder.
  • Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently. It could vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used.

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Nutrition Facts

12 servings per container


  • Amount Per ServingCalories27
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 0.1g 0%
    • Saturated Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 324mg 14%
  • Potassium 135mg 4%
  • Total Carbohydrate 6.6g 2%
    • Dietary Fiber 0.8g 0%
    • Sugars 5.8g
  • Protein 0.6g 0%

    * The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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