Try this delicious, made-from-scratch Kansas City barbecue sauce! Use it on ribs, pork, chicken, or serve it on the side.
This tomato-based sauce has a little sweet, a bit of heat, and a touch of tanginess—just the right combination to pull off a sensational barbecue. This recipe pairs beautifully with our Kansas City Rub! Make a double batch of this barbecue sauce, split it in half, use a portion for basting smoked pork ribs or chicken, and save the other half to serve as a table sauce. Win-win!
- Brown sugar
- Cider vinegar
- Paprika (not smoked)
- Chili powder
- Cayenne pepper (adjust the amount to suit your tastes)
- Granulated garlic (sub with garlic powder if needed)
Note on Butter
- Why butter? Butter is an excellent tool for making a silky sauce. Most barbecue sauces contain acidic ingredients like tomato and vinegar. Adding the butter at the end of cooking will tame these flavors and give it a nice creamy texture. When I say creamy, I don’t mean a literal cream sauce. If you are lactose intolerant, try a vegan, or lactose-free butter spread instead.
How to Make Kansas City Barbecue Sauce
- Simmer all Kansas City sauce ingredients (except butter) in a medium saucepan, and stir through. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will be thick.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of butter until melted.
- Allow the sauce to sit for 15-20 minutes. Use immediately, or place into a jar or plastic airtight container for storing. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 10 days after preparation.
- If using this barbecue sauce for basting, let it cool for 10 minutes before applying it to the meat.
- When serving as a side sauce, let the mixture cool a little longer.
Kansas City Barbecue Sauce
- 2 cups ketchup
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 tablespoons paprika (not smoked)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use less if desired)
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Add all ingredients (except butter) to a medium saucepan, and stir through. Let sauce come to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be nice and thick.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of butter until melted through. Let the sauce sit for 20 minutes. Use immediately, or place into a jar or airtight container for storing. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 10 days after preparation.
- If using the same day. Let sauce cool for at least 10 minutes before applying on to the meat. If serving as a side sauce, let the sauce cool a little longer.