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Make Your Own Barbecue Sauce at Home with These 2 Tasty Recipes

For many people, a good barbecue sauce can make or break a meal. The sauce can bring a wide variety of flavors and sensations that you won’t get from meat alone (though if you like your meat plain, by all means, go right ahead). Barbecue sauce also functions as a flavor enhancer to literally everything else that is on your plate. Mac and cheese? Barbecue mac and cheese. Homemade potato chips? Dip those suckers in some sauce.

See what we’re getting at here? Beyond a good grill, you’ll need a great barbecue sauce in your arsenal if you’re going to win the grill game this summer and beyond. And do you know where the greatest barbecue sauces come from? Your own kitchen, made with your own two hands.

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Only relied on store-bought sauces in the past, you say? Don’t worry. We enlisted the help of barbecue legends Mike and Amy Mills of 17th Street Barbecue in Murphysboro, Illinois, for help.

In their book Praise the Lard, they teach how to make their award-winning Apple City Barbecue Sauce, as well as a number of other sauces, rubs, and glazes (people who live in the South, we’ve got two words for you: Cheerwine Glaze).

Below, check out the recipe for both the Apple City Barbecue Sauce and their Private Reserve Mustard Sauce. Then go pick up Praise the Lard. Then go visit 17th Street Barbecue. You won’t be sorry.

Apple City Barbecue Sauce

praise the lard barbecue sauce
Ken Goodman

(Makes about 2 cups)

“This is the sauce that has won us dozens of awards and accolades on the competition circuit. It’s a harmonious combination of ketchup, vinegar, and mustard — the three ingredients that typically set regional barbecue styles apart from one another — along with fresh grated apple, a nod to the apple orchards surrounding Murphysboro. This sauce is a favorite on ribs and pulled pork sandwiches, as well as on chicken and hamburgers.”


  • 2/4 cup ketchup (made with cane sugar, such as Red Gold or Hunt’s)
  • 2/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 5 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup bacon bits (real, not imitation), ground in a spice mill
  • 1/3 cup grated peeled apple
  • 1/3 cup grated onion
  • 2 tsp grated green pepper


  1. Combine the ketchup, rice vinegar, apple juice, cider vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, granulated garlic, white pepper, cayenne, and bacon bits in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil.
  2. Stir in the apple, onion, and green pepper, then lower the heat. Simmer the sauce, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes, until it thickens slightly.
  3. Decant into a mason jar, cover, and refrigerate; the sauce will keep for at least a month. Warm or bring to room temperature before serving.

Variation: To make this sauce a little hotter, add more cayenne pepper to taste, another 1/4 to 1/5 teaspoon. Be careful; a little goes a long way.

Private Reserve Mustard Sauce

praise the lard barbecue sauce mustard
Ken Goodman

(Makes about 2.5 cups)

“Our family has made this sharp, spicy mustard sauce for over 80 years, and we always have a batch on hand. Good on pork, poultry, hamburgers, and hot dogs, it’s also wonderful drizzled on a chopped brisket or pastrami sandwiches.”


  • 5 cups prepared yellow mustard (we use French’s)
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 7 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic


  1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Simmer just until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Decant into a mason jar; cool, cover, and store in the refrigerator, where the sauce will keep for 2 months. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Apple City Barbecue Sauce and Private Reserve Mustard Sauce from Praise the Lard by Mike Mills and Amy Mills. Copyright © 2017 by Mike Mills and Amy Mills. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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