Memphis Barbecue Sauce

Normally, Memphis Barbecue is served without sauce. However, rules are made to be broken and this why many Memphis BBQ Joints have sauces available; either on the side or by special order. This recipe captures the complexity of this Memphis Barbecue  Sauce in a rich, flavorful sauce that holds the perfect combination of sweet, vinegar, and heat. A good Memphis Barbecue Sauce is thinner than most tomato based sauces, so keep that in mind as you prepare it.

Memphis Barbecue Sauce

Memphis Barbecue Sauce

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Course: Sauces
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: barbecue sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 2 Cups
Author: Derrick Riches


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 small yellow onion (pureed in blender of food processor)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt use more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  • Peel, and cut onion in half. Store one half for later use, and roughly chop the other half. Place it into a blender, or small food processor along with 1 tablespoon water. Puree onions.
  • In medium sized saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat. Add pureed onion and minced garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add remaining sauce ingredients, and simmer over low heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove sauce from heat and cool completely. Use right after, or store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week after preparation.
  • Before serving, bring sauce up to room temp either on stovetop or in the microwave for 45-60 seconds.


Image by: Engin_Akyurt/Pixabay

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