Great Barbecue Sauce Recipes
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25 Finger-Licking Barbecue Sauce Recipes

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Great Barbecue Sauce Recipes
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Sauce Panache

Slathering homemade barbecue sauce onto meats and veggies instead of opening a bottle can take your grilling to the next level. The right sauce can turn even bland ingredients into something unique and boldly flavored — not to mention that homemade barbecue sauce is generally healthier, tastier, and cheaper than store-bought. Arm yourself for the summer with these 25 barbecue sauce recipes.

Related: 10 Money-Saving Tips for the Backyard Grill Master

North Carolina Vinegar Sauce
North Carolina Vinegar Sauce by Joshua Bousel (CC BY-NC-SA)

Carolina Vinegar Barbecue Sauce

This tangy, light sauce is vinegar-based with a few seasonings, making what may be the cheapest sauce for adorning grilled meats. This quick and easy recipe is also super-low in calories, balancing out other rich elements of traditional barbecue. 

Recipe: A Fork’s Tale

Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce
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Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce

Mustard is a cheap ingredient that provides bold, long-lasting flavor. Unique to the Carolinas, this style is tangy and tart with a subtle sweetness that comes from brown sugar and honey.

Recipe: Self Proclaimed Foodie

Mango-Peach-Habanero Barbecue Sauce
Mango-Peach-Habanero Barbecue Sauce by Isabelle Boucher Follow (CC BY-NC-ND)

Peach Habanero Barbecue Sauce

Habanero is becoming a popular chili for its intense heat combined with fruity and floral flavors. In some areas, chilies may be expensive, so using just one that packs a lot of punch is an easy way to avoid going over budget.

Recipe: Food Babbles

Peach Barbecue Sauce
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Ketchup Barbecue Sauce

Looking to use up ingredients already in the house? Start simple and use ketchup as the base of a barbecue sauce. 

Recipe: Food Network

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
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Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Canned chipotles in adobo take a simple sauce to the next level with their intense smoke, mild heat, and pungent umami flavor. Starting from canned tomatoes, rather than a prepared condiment, makes the recipe super cheap. 

Recipe: Delightful E Made

Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce
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Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce

This style is probably what most people associate with a classic sauce for ribs and pulled pork. The recipe essentially spices up a bottle of ketchup, which could be homemade if you're feeling experimental. 

Recipe: Southern Living

Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce
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Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce

Texas is generally known for rubs rather than sauces. Along with a handful of inexpensive seasonings such as mustard, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce, it's the butter in this recipe that gives the sauce body and a rich Texas flair. 

Recipe: Taste of Home

Mississippi-Style Barbecue Sauce
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Mississippi-Style Barbecue Sauce

This sauce has everything but the kitchen sink, which creates layers of flavor that are especially good on meats that don't have a lot of flavor on their own, such as chicken breasts. Since there are so many elements, feel free to play around with omitting or adding ingredients to customize to your taste.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Cajun Barbecue Sauce
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Cajun Barbecue Sauce

Spicy Cajun seasoning kicks up the flavor profile of anything, including sauces. This thick and intensely pungent condiment is based on low-cost vegetables such as peppers and onions with a host of fiery spices. 

Recipe: Louisiana Travel

Bacon BBQ Sauce
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Bacon Barbecue Sauce

This recipe is dedicated to the belief that everything is better with bacon. In addition to being delicious, adding bacon to the sauce is a money-saving hack — it gets the flavor into everything without having to use as much of the real thing in the dishes themselves.

Recipe: The Kitchen Whisperer

Pineapple Barbecue Sauce
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Pineapple Barbecue Sauce

Pineapple combines sweetness with a lot of natural acidity, which mimics the flavors of many barbecue sauces and makes it a natural pairing. The fruity flavor lends a tropical feel to any dish. 

Recipe: The Recipe Rebel

Honey Barbecue Sauce
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Honey Barbecue Sauce

Sweetness is a key component in many sauces, and honey is a particularly flavorful type of sweetener. This recipe makes use of brown sugar and molasses for extra complexity.

Recipe: Taste of Home

Wild Blueberry Sauce
Wild Blueberry Sauce by Scott Veg (CC BY)

Blueberry Barbecue Sauce

The combination of barbecue sauce and blueberries may sound unlikely, but it provides incredible depth of flavor. This recipe is cheapest and best when made with summer-ripe blueberries, although a bag of inexpensive frozen blueberries also works well.

Recipe: Food & Wine

Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce
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Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce

This thin, versatile sauce relies on mostly whole ingredients and spices rather than prepared condiments, making it extra-cheap to whip up. Even though it is low-cost, a jar of homemade sauce makes a nice gift or addition to a backyard party. 

Recipe: Serious Eats

Buffalo Barbecue Sauce
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Buffalo Barbecue Sauce

Combine two popular sauces into one by making a hybrid Buffalo-barbecue sauce. Making your own Buffalo sauce will bring the cost down even more.

Recipe: Serious Eats

Smoky Barbecue Sauce
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Smoky Barbecue Sauce

Using a smoky sauce can reduce the amount of hardwood and charcoal needed to attain classic barbecue char. The shortcut of adding liquid smoke is inexpensive, thanks to the intensity of just a small amount. 

Recipe: Taste of Home

Bacon Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
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Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

This Bourbon-infused sauce is full of classic southern flavor with hints of sweet, toasty vanilla. The alcohol cooks off in the process, making this safe for the entire family while retaining a bit of a kick. 

Recipe: Allrecipes

Mexican Barbecue Sauce
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Mexican Barbecue Sauce

Mexican sauces are popular now, and so much more flavorful and less expensive when made from scratch. The Mexican flavor profile comes together with the additions of inexpensive lime, cumin, and jalapeño.

Recipe: Pampered Chef

Korean BBQ Sauce
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Korean Barbecue Sauce

Taking all of 10 minutes to prepare at home, this sauce provides the flavors of a Korean feast, including soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and sesame. 

Recipe: Allrecipes

Mango BBQ Sauce
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Mango Curry Barbecue Sauce

Adding a bit of sweet and fruity mango and aromatic spicy curry creates so many flavors in one sauce that it makes virtually anything taste good. Use this sauce to spruce up foods other than meat, including rice and noodles, to create inexpensive meals. 

Recipe: Food Faith Fitness

Chinese Barbecue Sauce
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Chinese Barbecue Sauce

Indulge in the sweet and sticky experience of Chinese barbecue without relying on expensive takeout. Many of the ingredients stay good in the fridge for a long time, which means a one-time expense translates into many batches of sauce. 

Recipe: Cooking Light

Smoky Scotch Barbecue Sauce
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Smoky Scotch Barbecue Sauce

Another way to get a smoky flavor into a sauce is by using peaty Scotch whisky, which has a characteristic smokiness even once the alcohol burns off. A small amount goes a long way, and it doesn't have to be an expensive bottle to have a lot of smoke. 

Recipe: Smoking Meat Forums

Coffee BBQ Sauce
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Coffee Barbecue Sauce

Anyone who has tried a recipe using coffee to bring out the flavors in beef chili or steak knows that the two make quite a pair, drawing on the rich earthiness of each ingredient. Adding a small amount to sauce creates a similar depth of flavor for barely any added cost. 

Recipe: Genius Kitchen

Raspberry Barbecue Sauce
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Raspberry Barbecue Sauce

Often more tart and aromatic than sweet, raspberries do well in savory recipes. This one uses aromatic garlic and rich molasses to highlight the bright overtones of raspberries, adding a hint of freshness to an otherwise classic sauce. Use fresh summer berries or frozen. 

Recipe: Taste of Home

Miso Barbecue Sauce
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Miso Barbecue Sauce

Miso paste is full of umami, with a salty tang that also provides healthful probiotics. A small amount offers enough flavor to replace a lot of the sodium found in store-bought sauces. Miso stays good in the fridge for months, making it an ideal go-to condiment for adding savory flavor to many dishes.

Recipe: Key Ingredient