Homemade BBQ Sauce: 5 Classics With a Kraft Copycat!

Baton Rouge in the summer is a funky place.  Between the searing heat and completely random summer thunderstorms the weather has forced me to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

I spent the time making batch upon batch of homemade bbq sauce trying to find recipes that were different than anything I could get at the store.  The project was a lot of fun and all came together over the past few days when the weather broke and I got to do some field trials with my grills.

I threw a lot of recipes down the drain (not a fan of pineapple in sauces) but found a few that were absolute winners.  Here are five of my favorite homemade bbq sauce recipes; I hope you enjoy!

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Sauce #1: Morning Brew BBQ Sauce

I really, really love coffee.  The only reason I go to bed at night is so I can get up and drink coffee in the morning.  The only reason I endure a horrible commute into the office is because they have an endless supply of good coffee.

Coffee and grilling are two of the things that make me happy so of course I had to put these guys together.

Coffee BBQ Sauce

This homemade bbq sauce is excellent with beef and a little too powerful for anything else.  You can use this both as a marinade and as a basting sauce.

The brown sugar adds a nice balance to the bitter coffee and the ancho + chili powder combination really pops with beef.  I used this as a basting sauce while grilling some Flanken cut beef short ribs.  I was using high heat and didn’t have any problem with the sugar scorching.  The flavor was outstanding.

Beef Ribs with Homemade BBQ Sauce

I would not hesitate to use this as a marinade for tri-tip, chuck roast or brisket.

This homemade bbq sauce is on the thin side and the solids will settle to the bottom of the jar so make sure you shake it up before using.

The key with this bbq sauce is to use it either before or while you are grilling so the sauce has time to work into the beef.  You don’t want to use this as a standalone dipping sauce.

Morning Brew Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe: Bring all ingredients to a boil then simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Stir often to keep solids from settling to the bottom of the pan and burning.

  • 2 cups brewed coffee
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbls Worcestshire sauce
  • 2 Tbls chili powder (Mexene)
  • 1 Tbls granulated onion
  • 1Tbls granulated garlic
  • 1 Tbls ancho chile powder

Sauce #2: Better Than Kraft BBQ Sauce

This homemade bbq sauce is the closest to “store bought” bbq sauce of the bunch.  The addition of chili powder and black pepper gives this homemade bbq sauce a little bit of bite but not so much that it scares the kids.

Sweet and Spicy Homeade BBQ Sauce

I was grilling chicken thighs and brushed this sauce on a few minutes before the chicken was done.  You don’t want to put this sauce on too early as it will scorch pretty easy.  This has a great color and a flavor to match.

Grilling Chicken Thighs

I mixed this bbq sauce 1:1 with some Louisiana hot sauce and made a mighty fine sauce for some grilled hot wings.

Grilled chicken wings

This bbq sauce is delicious hot or cold and can be used as a standalone dipping sauce.  This will work great with chicken and pork and would be a nice addition to a grilled hamburger.

Better than Kraft Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe:  Bring all ingredients to a boil then simmer for 15-20 minutes.

  • 1 ½ cups ketchup
  • ½ cup water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbls cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbls Worcestshire sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder (Mexene)
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Sauce #3: Freaking Awesome BBQ Sauce

Butter is the star of this silky bbq sauce and this stuff is dangerous.  We were eating this by the spoonful and that’s only because we were too embarrassed to use straws.

Favorite Homemade BBQ Sauce

There isn’t much sugar in this bbq sauce so you can use it as a marinade or as a basting sauce and not worry about the sauce scorching.

The first time I used this bbq sauce I brushed it onto some thin cut pork chops I was grilling over high heat.  The color on the chops was incredible and the bbq sauce was the star of the show.

Have a dish of this bbq sauce on the side and you will be dipping everything into it.

Pork chops with homemade bbq sauce

I used this sauce as a marinade for some chicken thighs (four hours) and grilled them up over direct heat.  The results were even better than with the pork chops.

Grilling chicken thighs

In order for this homemade bbq sauce to completely come together I had to use a hand blender.  When I was simmering the bbq sauce the vegetable oil separated from the tomato base and no amount of whisking would fix the problem.  I busted out my hand blender and 30 seconds of pulsing created a beautiful emulsion that held nicely.

I need to give plenty of credit to Paul Kirk as this bbq sauce is an adaptation of his Kansas City Rib Doctor Chicken Sauce (pg 170, Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue Sauces)

Freaking Awesome Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe: Bring all ingredients to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Process with a hand blender to emulsify.

  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 oz tomato paste (1 small can, Contadina)
  • 6 Tbls butter
  • ¼ cup Worcestshire sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tbls seasoned salt (Lawry’s)
  • 1 Tbls Louisiana style hot sauce
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp granulated onion

Sauce #4: Marvelous Mustard BBQ Sauce

This homemade bbq sauce will not be a hit with everyone but certain people will love it!  The flavor of this bbq sauce is similar to honey mustard and is a variation on the classic Carolina mustard bbq sauce.

Homemade mustard bbq sauce

I haven’t had the pleasure of sampling a mustard bbq sauce in the Carolinas so I can’t speak to how close to authentic I got with this recipe.  I can tell you that it went great with some pulled pork and would be an excellent dip for pretzels and French fries.

mustard sauce on pulled pork

Marvelous Mustard Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe: Bring all ingredients to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

  • 1 cup yellow mustard
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbls butter
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Louisiana style hot sauce
  • ½ tsp granulated onion
  • ½ tsp granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Sauce #5: Alabama White BBQ Sauce

There was no way I could write about homemade bbq sauce and not include something about an Alabama white sauce.  I have never seen anything close to this in a grocery so making it yourself is the only route to go.

Alabama white bbq sauce

The flavor of this bbq sauce if extremely similar to Ranch dressing and is traditionally used to coat grilled chicken.  I can happily report that chicken and white bbq sauce is an excellent combination!

White sauce on chicken thighs

This is another homemade bbq sauce that is much easier to make with a hand blender.  I simply loaded all of the ingredients into the “smoothie cup” that came with mine and blended for a minute until all lumps were gone.  A whisk will work just fine for bringing this bbq sauce together but the hand blender is much more fun.

Alabama White Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe:  Whisk or blend all ingredients until well incorporated then let rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour allowing the flavors to marry.

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbls white sugar
  • 1 Tbls black pepper
  • 1 Tbls granulated garlic
  • 2 tsp prepared horseradish

These five recipes will change your grilling game!


  1. Jason

    Just made a batch of the white sauce. Gonna be good on some chicken wings for supper. Thanks !

  2. Patrick Taylor

    I look forward to trying these, also purchased the book you recommended . one sauce I am trying to make is something close to the sauce used by firehouse subs. Cannot find a starter base to begin with. Any suggestions?

    • David

      Patrick, I hope you love the book. It was one of the first bbq books I bought and was a great investment.

      I believe Firehouse Subs uses Sweet Baby Ray bbq sauce. Here is a link to the best clone recipe I could find.

  3. Courtney

    Hello! If I were to can these, how long would they last in the fridge?

    • David

      Courtney, I am sorry but I have no expertise around canning.

      • Sheryl Pagenstecher

        I put my homemade barbecue sauces in the smallest canning jars…and freeze them…except for the Alabama white sauce. I find that they last a LONG time…and by only pulling out small batches at a time…they defrost quickly and there is “just enough for two to three people. I love your sauces…thanks for sharing!

        • David

          Great tip, Sheryl! Thanks for the idea 🙂

  4. Steph

    How long do they stay good in the fridge?

    • David

      I pitch anything I don’t use after two weeks.

  5. Cat

    Hey, looking at the white sauce recipe. What’s the difference between “white sugar” and granulated sugar??

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