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mrrich724's avatar

What are the basics when building my own killer BBQ sauce?

Asked by mrrich724 (8547points) October 15th, 2010

So for the past four years I’ve been honing my charcoal grilling skills . . . for the first time ever, I used BBQ sauce (and honey) on my chicken (I’m kinda snobby about grilling, so I don’t like to use sauces b/c I want to taste the natural flavors of the meat and coal and wood).

In any case, I really liked the chicken tonight, so I thought I might start working on my next grilling hobby: BBQ sauce!

What basics should I know as I start my studies on making a killer custom BBQ sauce?

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15 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Balance the tastes Salt, Sweet, Hot, Bitter and Sour.

risingonashes's avatar

Since you do not really like sauces maybe try some dry rub barbeque.

2 tablespoons kosher or coarse salt
2 teaspoons black pepper, ground
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon oregano leaves, dried
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon ground cumin

Mix ingredients together in bowl and apply rub to brisket 2 to 4 hours before cooking. Refrigerate meat for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours to enhance flavor. This rub can be stored for several months in an air tight container, in a dark, cool place.

risingonashes's avatar

Also if you want a more “sweet” rub you can try this one it is a Brown Sugar Barbeque Rub

⅓ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup salt (coarse salt works best)
⅓ cup paprika
⅓ cup chili powder (choose a hot or mild powder depending on your tastes)
⅓ cup ground black pepper

Mix ingredients and pack firmly around brisket 12–24 hours before smoking. Wrap in plastic wrap or place in a large plastic bag. This rub can be stored for several days, but after a week or two the brown sugar will crystallize.

mrrich724's avatar


can you elaborate? I’m really looking for something more along the lines of building blocks for BBQ sauce. . . no matter which way I go, what are the bare necessities?

Thanks for your response!

@risingonashes thanks for the info . . . although I’d probably double (or triple) the garlic b/c I LOVE garlic. LOL. You did educate me though, I didn’t know a dry rub could “marinate” with time, like wet marinades. Thanks! GA to you both.

risingonashes's avatar

@mrrich724 no problem, and yes you marinate them. I usually do mine for 6+ hours or even overnight. I think dry rubs keep the taste of the meat better and get soaked in a little better as well.

Good call on the garlic I always throw a lil extra myself, either that or cajun seasoning. :)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The best bbq sauce I’ve ever had is from Corky’s in Memphis, TN. Here is a recipe, but I can’t guarantee that it is legit. The fact that it has strong coffee as an ingredient in it is intriguing. And please do not ask what water slurry is…no clue.

mrrich724's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer LOL & thank you. . . oh and what is water slurry?

Jeez, I can’t wait to see what anyone else has to say tomorrow. But since I’ve BBQ’d tonight that means I’ve also had 2–3 glasses of whisky . . . in turn meaning I’m going to sleep :)

Can’t wait to start saucin’ it up!

Seek's avatar

I’d say it really depends on what you like. Some BBQ sauces are tomato- or ketchup-based, some are vinegar-based. I personally prefer vinegar-based sauces – more tart than sweet.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Ah, well if you are a whiskey fan, here is a bbq sauce recipe for you, if you are willing to share the bottle’s contents.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

You need to have:

Sugar (Honey / Agave syrup etc.)
Heat (peppers – black, jalapeno etc)
Bitter ( Celentro or celery )
Sour ( Lemon juice , orange or vinegar )

john65pennington's avatar

Leave out the sugar and add more vinegar. bbq sauce should never taste sweet.

AstroChuck's avatar

Arsenic is important.

john65pennington's avatar

Rishingonashes, this is the type of bbq sauce i love. Chili’s has bbq’d ribs with this sauce on it and its great. i will write down your recipe and use it soon. thanks, john

WestRiverrat's avatar

If you want a little different than normal, try a Carolina mustard sauce.

This is an old style mustard-based barbecue sauce. This recipe is for a basting sauce used for smoking or grilling slabs of ribs, pork loins, pork butts, pork tenderloins, ham, chicken, or any meat of your choice.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Makes about 6 cups

•1 12-ounce can flat beer
•4 cups prepared yellow mustard
•½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
•1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
•1 teaspoon sea salt
•1 teaspoon black pepper


Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and store in an air tight jar in the refrigerator. This barbecue sauce will keep for several months. You can replace beer with lemon juice or liquor. You can also use the Dijon style mustard for the American mustard.
My preference is to use just 2 cups of prepared mustard, keep the other ingredients the same and substitute 2 Tablespoons of Real Lemon for the flat beer.

When ready to use, paint the mustard sauce on the meat or chicken and then put your favorite spice rub on. Grill or smoke.

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