3 Easy Barbecue Sauce Recipes to Up Your Grilling Game

Grilling season is upon us, and we’re prepping by giving our grills a good scrub and stocking the pantry with things like dry rubs and seasoning salts. And while we always love a good homemade meat glaze, there is no shame in going out and buying a bottle of barbecue sauce when you’re strapped for time. Or maybe you’re simply feeling a little bit lazy. Don’t worry, we’re not judging. There are plenty of top-notch bottled barbecue sauces on the market these days, many of which are made without high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. But making a grilling sauce from scratch doesn’t have to be a big production.

We turned to three chefs across the country to get their easy barbecue sauce recipes that don’t require a lot of time to put together. Though the ingredient lists can look a little daunting at first, it’s likely you have most of the components in your pantry already. Plus, after stocking up on the rest of the ingredients, you can make these delicious meat glazes all season long. Whip up these big batch recipes, store them in the fridge, and reach for them anytime you break out the grill.

South Texas Mustard Base BBQ Sauce

easy barbecue sauce recipes mustard bbq getty images
Anastassios Mentis/Getty Images

(By Jason Dady, owner of Shuck Shack, Tre Trattoria, Two Bros. BBQ Market, B&D Ice House, and The Bin Tapas Bar)

“This is a classic South Texas mustard base barbecue sauce,” Dady says. “It is the Texan staple, from brisket to ribs, turkey to cabrito. It’s a tried and true Texas barbecue sauce. I love using the Maille mustards because of their finesse and sharp flavors.”

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 lb fresh peaches, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Maille dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup Maille Old Style
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 cup Worcestershire
  • 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coarse black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Cholula hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard

Method:

  1.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, sweat onions, garlic, and peaches until soft.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour over low heat, being careful not to scorch.
  3. Puree and strain. Chill immediately and use as needed.

Cherry BBQ Sauce

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mphillips007/Getty Images

(By Justin Cucci, owner of Root Down, Linger, El Five, Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, and Vital Root)

“Cherries are life-changing moments for me, especially Rainer,” Cucci says. “To add them to a smoky barbecue sauce, it’s a whole new thing. Tart, sweet, and fleshy, they change barbecue to a more refined flavor and really make grilling meats, chicken, and even veggies into a true seasonal summer event.”

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lbs fresh Bing or Rainier cherries
  • 1 lb brown sugar
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
  • 8 oz organic ketchup
  • 8 oz tamari soy sauce
  • 8 oz tomato paste
  • 8 oz Cholula hot sauce
  • 6 oz apple cider vinegar
  • 4 oz yellow onion
  • 4 oz Worcestershire dauce
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp hickory liquid smoke seasoning
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne chili
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder

Method:

  1. Pit the cherries and blend in a blender until smooth.
  2. In a large saucepan, sweat the onion and garlic until translucent in color.
  3. Add the tomato paste and ketchup and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add all the remaining ingredients, including the cherry puree, and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Cool the sauce and then blend until very smooth in a blender.
  6. Check and adjust seasoning.

Korean Rib Glaze

easy barbecue sauce recipes spicy bbq getty images
Natapetrovich/Getty Images

(By Brandon Kirksey, owner and chef of Foxsister)

“This is the perfect sauce for glazing baby back ribs hot off the grill,” Kirksey says. “It also works great for barbecue chicken or grilled tofu!”

Note: If you can’t find Makgeolli (Korean unfiltered rice beer, which you can learn more about here) you can substitute sake.

Ingredients:

  • 6 sliced scallions
  • 1 cup pear juice
  • 1 cup hot pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 1/2 cup makgeolli
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Korean chili flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup toasted white sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp black pepper

Method:

  1. Sweat the sliced scallions, garlic, and ginger together with cooking oil.
  2. Add the makgeolli and mirin. Let the liquid reduce by half then add the remaining ingredients.
  3. Stir well and make sure all ingredients are combined, then simmer for 10 minutes.