25 Delicious Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipes

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barbecued ribs and barbecue sauce on wood cutting board
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You'll want to have a few barbecue sauces on hand this grilling season to slather onto meats and veggies. The right one can turn even bland ingredients into something unique and boldly flavored -- and it’s good to remember that homemade barbecue sauce is healthier, tastier, and cheaper than store-bought. Arm yourself for the summer grilling season with these 25 recipes for barbecue sauces that will take meals to the next level.

Carolina Vinegar Barbecue Sauce
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This tangy, light sauce is vinegar-based with a few seasonings, making for what may be the cheapest sauce to adorn grilled meats. This quick and easy recipe is also super-low calorie, balancing out other rich elements of traditional barbecue. 

Recipe: A Fork’s Tale

Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce
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Mustard is one of the cheapest ingredients and provides bold flavor that is long-lasting on the palate. 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

Peach Habanero Barbecue Sauce
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Habanero is becoming a popular chili for its intense heat as well as fruity and floral flavor. In some areas, chilies may be expensive, so using just one of something that packs a lot of punch is an easy way to incorporate the flavor without going over budget.

Recipe: Food Babbles

Peach Barbecue Sauce
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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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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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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 by cooks who are feeling experimental. 

Recipe: Southern Living

Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce
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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 it body and a rich Texas flair. 

Recipe: Taste of Home

Mississippi-Style Barbecue Sauce
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This sauce has everything and 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 to customize to your taste.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Cajun Barbecue Sauce
Photo credit: Mettus/shutterstock

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 Barbecue Sauce
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This recipe is dedicated to the belief 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 is sweet while having 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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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

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

Recipe: Food & Wine

Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce
Photo credit: Elena Veselova/shutterstock

This thick, rich 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 backyard parties. 

Recipe: Serious Eats

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

Recipe: Taste of Home

Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
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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
Photo credit: Michelle Lee Photography/shutterstock

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

Recipe: Pampered Chef

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

Recipe: Allrecipes

Mango Curry Barbecue Sauce
Photo credit: Santhosh Varghese/shutterstock

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

Recipe: Food Faith Fitness

Chinese Barbecue Sauce
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Indulge in the sweet and sticky experience of Chinese barbecue without having to rely 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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Another way to get smokiness 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 Barbecue Sauce
Photo credit: boomette1/flickr.com

Anyone who has tried a recipe using coffee to bring out the flavors in beef chili or steak knows the two make quite a pair, drawing on the rich earthiness from 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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Often more tart and aromatic than sweet, raspberries do well in savory recipes. This recipe uses aromatic garlic and rich, minerally molasses to highlight the bright overtones of raspberries, adding a hint of freshness to the otherwise classic sauce. Use fresh summer berries or frozen. 

Recipe: Taste of Home

Miso Barbecue Sauce
Photo credit: MariaKovaleva/shutterstock

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 versions. Miso stays good in the fridge for months, making it an ideal go-to condiment to add savory flavor to dishes.

Recipe: Key Ingredient

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