St Louis barbecue sauce is thin, and its flavor is tangier than Kansas City style sauces. St. Louis barbecue has a variety of influences, so this sauce varies from pitmaster to home chef. We have nailed down our favorite version for you to try the next time you smoke, grill, or bake a rack of pork ribs.
St Louis style of barbecue is characterized by grilling and saucing. Because this sauce contains some sugar, it can burn at higher temperatures. Use it only when the meat is cooking over low heat or slather on toward the end of cook time.
Origin of St Louis Barbecue Sauce
The origin of this barbecue style starts with a grocer by the name of Louis Maull of St. Louis. He got his start selling groceries out of a horse-drawn wagon in the late nineteenth century. Thirty years later, he debuted Maull’s Barbecue Sauce, two decades before H.J. Heinz bottled his first sauce. Maul’s St. Louis barbecue sauce had none of the liquid smoke you might find in Kansas City-style barbecue sauces. He even boasted upward of twenty ingredients in his sauce. Our recipe keeps the number much lower!
- Apple cider vinegar
- Brown sugar
- Yellow mustard
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper
Making St. Louis Barbecue Sauce:
- In a medium saucepan, bring all of the St Louis barbecue sauce ingredients to a simmer over medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low if it starts to bubble too wildly. The sauce should be thin but not watery.
- Remove saucepan from heat and let barbecue sauce cool for 15 minutes before using.
- To use: Start applying sauce on during the last 45 minutes of cooking time. Baste every 15 minutes until the meat has cooked through.
- If you make it ahead of time, store it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for one week. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
St. Louis Barbecue Sauce
- 2 cups ketchup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne use less if preferred
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a medium saucepan, bring all of the sauce ingredients to a simmer over medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook for 15-20 minutes. Reduce to low if it starts to bubble too wildly. Sauce should be thin, but not watery.
- Remove saucepan from heat and let barbecue sauce cool for 15 minutes before using. If making ahead of time, store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week, or 3 months in the freezer.