Big Al’s K.C. Bar-B-Q Sauce

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I remember the first time I tasted Big Al’s K.C. Bar-B-Q Sauce. It was during a summer gathering at my grandmother’s house when I was a child. As stories from her youth filled the warm evening air, the aroma of her secret sauce wafted from the kitchen. She had a special touch with the sauce, having learned the recipe from Big Al himself – a close friend and neighbour from her Kansas City days.

Through the years, this sauce became more than just a condiment. It was the flavor of family gatherings, the secret ingredient to perfect BBQs, and a cherished memory of Big Al’s warm smile and hearty laughter. Whether I was sharing this with friends or introducing it to new neighbours, Big Al’s K.C. Bar-B-Q Sauce never failed to create a bond over good food.

How to Prepare Big Al’s K.C. Bar-B-Q Sauce

Ingredients for Big Al’s K.C. Bar-B-Q Sauce

  • 2 cups of tomato ketchup
  • 2 cups of thick tomato puree
  • 1 1/4 cups of dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups of aged red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of natural molasses
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons of woodsy liquid smoke flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of spicy chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of aromatic ground cinnamon

Directions for Big Al’s K.C. Bar-B-Q Sauce

In a spacious saucepan, combine the ketchup, tomato puree, dark brown sugar, red wine vinegar, molasses, butter, and woodsy liquid smoke. Warm over a medium flame and stir gently. As the mixture warms, season with sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic granules, onion granules, crushed celery seed, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and a hint of cinnamon. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer gently. To achieve a luxuriously thick consistency, allow it to cook for around 20 minutes. If a thinner consistency is desired, reduce the cooking time. For extra thinness, you can dilute with a splash of water.

What gives Big Al’s K.C. Bar-B-Q Sauce its unique flavor?

The combination of natural molasses, woodsy liquid smoke, and a hint of cinnamon provides a unique and memorable taste.

Can I use regular vinegar instead of red wine vinegar?

Yes, but red wine vinegar adds a richer depth to the sauce. If you use regular vinegar, you may need to adjust the quantity.

How long can I store this sauce in the fridge?

If stored in an airtight container, it can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Can I use fresh garlic and onion instead of granules?

Yes, you can. However, ensure they’re finely minced to distribute the flavors evenly throughout the sauce.

Is this sauce spicy?

The sauce has a mild kick from the cayenne and chili powder, but it’s not overly spicy. You can adjust the spiciness according to your preference.

Can I use this sauce as a marinade?

Absolutely! It works wonders as a marinade for meats like chicken, pork, or beef before grilling.

Big Al's K.C. Bar-B-Q Sauce

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 6 cups


  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 teaspoons hickory-flavored liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Directions:


  • Mix together ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, wine vinegar, molasses, butter, and liquid smoke in a large saucepan over medium heat. Season with salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, celery seed, cayenne, chili powder, and cinnamon.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for up to 20 minutes. For a thicker sauce, simmer longer, and for thinner, less time is needed. Sauce can also be thinned using a bit of water if necessary.

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