Now that it has finally started to be nice outside, we’ve been grilling for dinner almost every night. In an effort to stop using processed foods, I went about trying to make my own barbecue sauce. Little did I know that to make it from scratch, I needed to let it simmer for a couple hours to allow the tomatoes to break down. That’s when I came across a quick and easy barbecue sauce in a Cook’s Illustrated cookbook. While it may not be completely unprocessed, it is at least a little better than buying a bottle of BBQ sauce from the store.

Easy Barbecue Sauce (makes about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 5 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Process the onion with the water in a food processor until pureed and the mixture looks like slush. Strain mixture through a mesh strainer and press the solid with a rubber spatula until you have about 1/2 cups of juice. Discard the solids.
  2. Whisk the onion juice, ketchup, molasses, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, liquid smoke, and black pepper in a bowl.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Cook for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Whisk in the ketchup mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 25 minutes. Cool the sauce to room temperature before using. (It can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.)

4 Comments on Easy Barbecue Sauce

  1. Mom
    April 16, 2013 at 7:36 pm (11 years ago)

    Bet it was good.

  2. Theresa
    April 19, 2013 at 1:34 pm (11 years ago)

    Ste was telling me about your site so I was checking out your site. I like what you’ve done so far! This BBQ sauce sounds good. I should really try making my own sometime 🙂

    • Kristen Grainer
      April 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm (11 years ago)

      Thanks, Theresa! I’m hoping to make one completely from scratch once our tomatoes grow and ripen.


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