Memphis Barbecue Sauce

Bill Boch/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
    33 mins
Ratings (26)

Traditionally, Memphis Barbecue is served without a sauce. However, since rules are made to be broken, many Memphis BBQ Joints have sauces available, either on the side or by special order. This sauce captures the complexity of Memphis Barbecue in a rich sauce that has a mixture or sweet and vinegar with a hint of heat. A good Memphis Barbecue Sauce is thinner than most tomato based sauces.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup/240 mL ketchup
  • 1/2 cup/120 mL apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup/120 mL water
  • 1/4 cup/60 mL pureed onion
  • 2 tablespoons/30 mL minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons/30 mL butter
  • 2 tablespoons/30 mL molasses
  • 2 tablespoons/30 mL prepared mustard
  • 2 tablespoons/30 mL brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon/15 mL Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon/15 mL paprika
  • 1 tablespoon/15 mL mild chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons/10 mL dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons/10 mL dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon/5 mL salt
  • 1 teaspoon/5 mL black pepper

How to Make It

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and cook for 15-20 seconds or until it becomes fragrant.  Do not let the garlic burn or it will cause it to become bitter. Add remaining ingredients (vinegar last), reduce heat and simmer over low for 12-15 minutes. Stir every so often.

2. Remove sauce from heat and let cool for 20 minutes.

Use right away or store in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week after preparation.  

3. Rewarm sauce for 30 seconds at a time until it reaches room temperature. Serve on the side.