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It seems summer is here – well for today anyway. So it’s time to get outside and start cooking on wood. But the one thing that can make-or-break a good BBQ is the BBQ sauce? The US prides itself on its BBQ heritage, so we’ve looked at 9 different recipes that hail from 9 different States in America, plus we’ve thrown in one from Jamie Oliver for good measure. Let’s take a look at its history.

BBQ Sauce Heritage

Some people think BBQ sauce dates back to the first American colonies in the 17th century and there are references to it in both English and French literature across the next couple of centuries.

South Carolina mustard sauce, a type of barbecue sauce, can be traced to German settlers in the US in the 18th century.

The first commercially-produced barbecue sauce was made by the Georgia Barbecue Sauce Company in Atlanta, Georgia. However, it wasn’t until Heinz introduced their take on it in 1940 that it gained mass appeal. However, here’s the earliest written recipe that’s been found for BBQ sauce -

1/. The First Recorded BBQ Sauce Recipe - Mrs. Howard's Barbecue Sauce from 1913 

1/4 pound butter
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon tabasco sauce
Dash of cayenne
Chopped parsley
2 tablespoons tomato catsup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1 tablespoon tomato sauce

Tomato Sauce

1/4 cup oil, crisco, or butter
1/2 cup chopped onions

Cook gently then add

1/2 cup green peppers
1/2 cup celery
1/2 cup carrots
2 1/2 cups tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf

Simmer 1 hour, stirring often or until as thick as cream. Use plain or strain.

Courtesy of


2/. St Louis BBQ Sauce

This is a less thick sauce to most recipes which some people might prefer to a thicker, more sticky consistency.


2 cups ketchup
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar
1⁄4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon instant minced onion
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon cayenne


  1. In a medium size saucepan, combine all the ingredients, adjust heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove from heat and cool. Store in refrigerator tightly covered. The sauce is better if allowed to sit 24 hours before using

Courtesy of

3/. Memphis BBQ Sauce

Traditionally, Memphis BBQ was served without any sauce. However, there are no fixed rules when it comes to BBQ so a sauce from the region has been developed.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, smashed
3 cups ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup steak sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground celery seed
Kosher salt


Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the ketchup, 1 cup water, the vinegar, brown sugar, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, mustard, celery seed and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the onion is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the liquid smoke. Strain the sauce, pressing on the solids to extract any liquid.

Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

4/. Kansas City BBQ

Kansas City is renowned for its BBQ and hosts a world-famous BBQ competition each year. Generally, the meat is smoked and their BBQ sauce is amongst the most popular in the US.


2 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 cups ketchup
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, chili powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

Transfer sauce to the jar of a blender and blend until smooth. Let cool to room temperature, transfer to a jar and store in refrigerator for up to a month.

Courtesy of

5/. Traditional Texas BBQ Sauce

Texas food is hugely influenced by its proximity to Mexico and its BBQ sauce is no different, as you’ll find out with this spicy recipe.


1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder


In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 15-20 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Yield: 1-3/4 cups.

Courtesy of

6/. Mamas Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce

From cakes to candies, Coca-Cola, the ubiquitous American soft drink, also makes a great addition to BBQ sauce.


1 cup ketchup
¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup Coca-Cola
¼ cup brown sugar, loose
½ teaspoon hot sauce


Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan over medium to low heat.

Allow to boil for about 5 to 10 minutes until reduced and thickened.

Remove from heat and pour into cleaned jars and store in the refrigerator for several months or use immediately.

Courtesy of

7/. Deep South BBQ Sauce

A hint of spice, nice and sweet plus a French influence gives this BBQ sauce its unique tang.


1 (12 ounce) bottle of chili sauce
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1/3 cup of ketchup
3/4 cup of brown sugar
10 turns of the pepper grinder
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger, optional
1/2 teaspoon of Creole or Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon of dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
1/4 teaspoon of onion salt
1/4 teaspoon of garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon of yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon of hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon of Kitchen Bouquet
1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon of Liquid Smoke
1 teaspoon of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of pure cane syrup or sugar


Whisk together all of the ingredients and conbine over a low heat for about 5 minutes.

Cook's Notes: This makes about 1-1/2 cups of sauce, so increase ingredients as needed. Add two tablespoons to 1/4 cup of Maker's Mark or Jack Daniels, for variety.

Courtesy of

8/. Spicy Mexican BBQ Sauce

Hot spicy food is beloved of the Mexican culture, so here is a sauce inspired by their tastes.


2   jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
4   garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp (15 mL) chili powder
2 tsp (10 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) cayenne pepper
2 tsp (10 mL) ground coriander
2 cups (500 mL) ketchup
1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh lime juice
1/4 cup (50 mL) brown sugar


Place jalapeños, oil and garlic into a (2-qt./1.9-L) Saucepan. Cook over medium heat 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and coriander; cook 1 minute or until fragrant. Stir in ketchup, lime juice and brown Sugar. Cover, bring to a simmer and remove from heat.

Cover and refrigerate some of the sauce for serving. Using BBQ Basting Brush, brush remaining sauce over surface of beef, pork or poultry every 5 minutes during last 10-15 minutes of baking, broiling or grilling.

Courtesy of

9/. Guinness BBQ Sauce

OK so Guinness is from Ireland, but the Irish have a strong footing in the US and this is a sauce created for a Saint Paddy’s Day BBQ celebration.


1 1/2 cups Guinness® Extra Stout
1/2 cup Chili sauce (I used Heinz)
1/2 cup Brown sugar
2 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Tabasco sauce
1 Tbsp Honey
1 tsp Garlic salt


  1. Add the beer and garlic salt to a medium sauce pan and whisk to combine.
  2. Heat the pan over medium heat, add the remaining ingredients, and whisk to combine.
  3. Simmer until the sauce is reduced by half (about 15-20 minutes) and set aside to cool.
  4. Brush it on your meat of choice during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.

Courtesy of

10/. Jamie Oliver’s Epic BBQ Sauce

You tried the rest, now try the best – or is it? We’d love to know which of these recipes is your favourite.

For the paste
1 medium onion , peeled and quartered
10 cloves garlic , peeled
2 fresh red chillies , stalks removed
olive oil
Herbs and spices
10 sprigs fresh thyme or lemon thyme , leaves picked
10 sprigs fresh rosemary , leaves picked
1 small bunch fresh coriander
10 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
6 cloves
To finish
2 oranges , zest and juice of
200 g soft brown sugar
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
200 ml tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons English mustard
200 ml apple juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Blitz the onion, garlic and chillies together in a food processor until you’ve got a really fine paste. Pour a lug of olive oil into a pan and gently fry this paste for 5 minutes on a low heat to really get the flavours going.

While that’s happening, add all your herbs and spices to the food processor, then peel in strips of orange zest using a speed peeler (you don’t want any white pith) and blitz up really well. Add this puréed mixture to the pan and cook for another minute. Add the sugar, stir in well and cook for a few more minutes, until it begins to dissolve and you get a thick brown paste. Pour in 285ml of water and cook for 2 more minutes, then squeeze in the juice of both your oranges and add all the remaining ingredients. Stir well and bring everything to the boil, then turn down the heat a touch and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken slightly.

Pour the sauce slowly through a fine sieve into a large bowl and get rid of any larger bits left behind in the sieve. Rinse the sieve and pass the sauce through the sieve again so it’s really silky.

Leave to cool completely, then either divide the sauce between jars or get marinating straight away. Once it’s in the fridge, you’ll have about a week or so to use up the rest of the sauce. If you want to keep it for longer, you’ll have to sterilize some jars. It’s dead easy. Either put them in the sink along with their lids and cover them completely with boiling water from the kettle; or fill a really large pan with water, bring it to the boil, then immerse the jars and lids and continue to boil for 10 minutes; or, if you’ve got a good dishwasher with a really hot cycle, run them through that.

Pour the sauce into your sterilized jar, screw the lid on tightly, and immerse the jar completely in a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes. Let it cool, then put it into the fridge or a cool dark cupboard until you need it. It should keep for about 6 months, no problem.

Courtesy of

The team at There's A Beer For That have chosen a delicious selection of beers to partner perfectly with a variety of BBQ favourites. For more beer selections, visit