This BBQ Sauce recipe is a Kansas City-style barbecue sauce that is the perfect blend of sweet and tangy with a hint of a smoky flavor. Try this homemade sauce on my Barbecue Chicken Tenders next time!

Dipping Brush into BBQ Sauce in a Jar

BBQ Sauce

There are many barbecue sauces out there, but this homemade sauce is probably the most well-known flavor of the sauce. It is a Kansas City Barbecue sauce, which means it is tomato-based (ketchup) and is made with vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, and lots of spices. It is also a thicker barbecue sauce compared to other varieties. I love it on my BBQ Chicken Wings.

Unsulphured vs. Sulphured Molasses

You may have noticed I recommend unsulphured molasses for this recipe. So, why choose unsulphured molasses over sulphured? Unsulphured molasses (regular molasses) is richer, thicker, and sweeter than sulphured. It is made with fewer preservatives because it is made with more mature sugarcane. Sulphured molasses has added sulfur dioxide to the younger sugarcane, so that can alter the flavor of the recipe.

There is also a variety of molasses called blackstrap. Do not substitute molasses in a recipe (including this one) for blackstrap unless the recipe is very specific about using it. 

Jar of Homemade BBQ Sauce Surrounded By Chicken

What is Liquid Smoke?

Liquid smoke is used for flavoring to give foods that smoky flavor without using a smoker to cook the food. You can find bottles of this liquid at your local grocery stores, and it is actually used commercially in many food products now. You can always leave it out if you do not want that smoky flavor in the bbq sauce.

Chicken Smothered in Homemade BBQ Sauce

How to Store BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last up to a week.

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BBQ Sauce

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
This BBQ Sauce recipe is a Kansas City-style barbecue sauce that is the perfect blend of sweet and tangy with a hint of a smoky flavor.


  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 ¼ cups brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup unsulphured molasses
  • 4 teaspoons liquid smoke, hickory flavored
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper


  • In a medium saucepan, add ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, molasses, liquid smoke, butter, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, celery seed, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Mix well and bring to a simmer.
  • After the sauce has come to a simmer, reduce heat to low for 20 minutes. For a thicker sauce, keep in on low heat for a little longer. Add a little water to the sauce if it is too thick.
  • Serve warm. Or, store the cooled sauce in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Did you make this recipe?

You can tag me at @iamhomesteader.

This recipe was adapted from Big Al’s K.C. Bar-B-Q Sauce on

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Reader Comments

  1. Going to try this recipe this weekend and will let u know how I like it on smoked ribs. Thanks for sharing.

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