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Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce Recipe


Ribs with Kansas City BBQ sauce
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4.67 from 743 votes
Try this authentic Kansas City-style BBQ sauce recipe and you'll never use the bottled stuff again.

Serve with: a local Kansas City beer.


Course:
Sauces and Condiments
Cuisine:
American

Makes:

Servings: 6 cups

Takes:

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

Notes:
Optional. If you are cooking indoors, or if your meat does not have a lot of smoke flavor, or if you just want more smoke flavor, you can add 1/3 cup of liquid smoke to this recipe.
About the vinegar. I like my sauce tart. Trust me, although it may taste tart from the bottle, it is perfect on meat. If you are not big on vinegar, cut it in half.
About the honey. The recipe above is to my taste but I have found that most people like it better if I add another 1/2 cup of honey for a total of 3/4 cups.
About the steak sauce. There are many different brands and they all have different flavor profiles, but what we want here is the meaty depth of savoriness that they call umami, so use whatever you have on hand.
About the hot sauce. A simple sauce like Tabasco is all you need. I like the chipotle flavored version.
About the oil. You may use butter or bacon fat for a bit more flavor, but keep in mind, they can get rancid with time, and they will likely shorten shelf life to about 1 week. Use a bottled vegetable oil and it can keep months.
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works. 
Secret optional ingredient. Add 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste. This exotic ingredient isn't really that exotic. It shows up on the ingredient lists of a lot of great BBQ sauces. It has a sweet citrusy flavor and really amps up a sauce. If you can't find it in an Indian or Asian grocery, it is available online. Click the link and order it from Amazon.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page

Method

  • Prep. In a small bowl, mix the American chili powder, black pepper, and salt. In a large bowl, mix the ketchup, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, lemon juice, steak sauce, molasses, honey, hot sauce, and brown sugar. Mix them, but you don't have to mix thoroughly.
  • Finely chop the onion and crush or mince the garlic cloves.
  • Cook. Over medium heat, warm the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and sauté until limp and translucent, about 5 minutes. Crush the garlic, add it, and cook for another minute. Add the dry spices and stir for about 2 minutes to extract their oil-soluble flavors. Add the wet ingredients. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes with the lid off to thicken it a bit.
  • Taste and adjust. Add more of anything that you want a little bit at a time. It may taste a bit vinegary at first, but that will be less obvious when you use it on meat. I recommend you run with my recipe the first time and then you can make it your own. Strain it if you don't want the chunks of onion and garlic. I like leaving them in, they give the sauce a home-made texture.
  • Serve. You can use this sauce immediately as you would any other BBQ sauce, but I think it's better when aged overnight. You can store it into clean bottles in the refrigerator for a month or two.