Secret Recipe Barbecue Sauce

This is one of my most frequently requested recipes. I’ve even given jars of this barbecue sauce out as gifts on Christmas (again, by request I promise). But I’ve never shared the recipe with anyone because it was my little secret! Mostly because once everyone finds out how easy it is… they won’t ask me to make it for them anymore!

I like being needed, what can I say?? Don’t judge me.

The thing about this recipe is that it is easily customizable to your individual tastes. Like it spicier? Add some extra adobo sauce (or even a whole chipotle if you are feeling brave). Like it sweeter? Add some more brown sugar. Like it tangier? Extra vinegar.

You get the point.

This recipe (as written) is my go-to for a great balance of sweetness, tang and a little kick. I like to make a big batch and store it in a few mason jars in the fridge. It will keep for months and you can add it to anything. You can slather it on some chicken breasts, use it as a dipping sauce or make a flavorful salad dressing. Use your imagination!

Try it out. Gift it. Play with the flavors. Go crazy.

You’ll impress your friends. Promise.

Secret Barbecue Sauce

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine American


  • 1 onion chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 cup Tabasco
  • 2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup liquid smoke
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 64 ounces tomato ketchup
  • 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


  • Combine Tabasco, brown sugar, adobo sauce, garlic and onions in a large stock pot. Bring to a simmer and reduce slightly, about 8 minutes.
  • Add liquid smoke, molasses and ketchup to the pot. Let the combined ingredients simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Using a hand blender (or a regular blender), puree the ingredients until smooth. Add the apple cider vinegar to taste.
  • Let cool and store in sanitized mason jars.
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