Chris Cooks

My "Too Good to Share But I’m Going To Anyway" Barbecue Sauce Recipe

May 17, 2013  —  Written by Chris 

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Confession time. Sometimes, there are things I make that are so great, I just want to keep them to myself. I’ve always thought that every cook needs a few things under their belt that just blow people away, and everyone comes up to you and is like, “This is amazing! Can I have the recipe?!” Then you just chuckle, throw on a straight face and tell them to leave your property immediately.

Well I think I’ve changed my tune. My favorite thing about cooking is seeing people enjoy the stuff I make. I just really like the process of building flavors, trying things out and finally coming up with a dish that makes people say, “Wow.” So if that’s the thing I love most about cooking, why would I keep my best recipes to myself? Obviously I can’t have all of you in my home (as much as I would love that – you know I would), so the best thing to do would be to share the recipes and allow you to make it yourselves.

This is my barbecue sauce recipe. After several years of experimenting, tweaking and even receiving some in-depth mentoring from Sweet Baby Ray and the head chef of his competition barbecue team (yes, the Sweet Baby Ray), I finally created what I think is the perfect sauce. It’s sweet, tangy, a little spicy (not too much), and ridiculous on any kind of meat. If any dudes are reading this, I’m not kidding you. Make this sauce, and you will love it. Ladies, make this sauce and you will rock the socks right off the men in your life. Finished product:

Super boring picture. Super not boring sauce. Here it is:

2 Cups Ketchup
1 1/3 Cup Dark Corn Syrup
1 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2/3 Cup Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce (yes, I use a little of their sauce in my sauce – so what)
1/2 Cup Frank’s Red Hot
1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 Cup Cider Vinegar
1/4 Cup Pineapple Juice Concentrate
1/2 Tbsp Liquid Smoke (use a medium/light-flavored liquid smoke, like applewood or hickory – avoid mesquite on this one)
1 Tbsp Ancho Chili Powder
1 tsp Dry Mustard
1 tsp Garlic Power
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Cumin

Stir together, simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, let it cool, put it in bottles, and love the crap out of it.

I battled with myself over this one. Up until yesterday I was firm in my decision to not share it. But I just can’t do that; not to you, my internet friends. Something this great needs to be shared and enjoyed. And, just to help you with the enjoyment part, all 3 of my posts next week will be dedicated to this sauce, starting with my chicken wings on Monday (spoiler alert, I bake them instead of fry – totally the way to go).

Have a great weekend, y’all. Peace!

What do you think?

  1. Tina K. says:

    I made this and served along with a brisket. It was fabulous! Everyone liked it. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Mirian Miller says:

    I am going through all the old archives and am enjoying the recipes and tips on diy. I love to cook but don’t like to have a recipe tell me what to do. All this to say when I saw this recipe for barbecue sauce I was so excited. I have a recipe that I am not happy withand with the addition of some hot sauce, chili powder and apple cider vinegar it is awesome! My children have been begging for it with almost every meal! Thanks for the inspiration! I am also listening to all the podcasts and it has been fun to laugh with you all!

  3. TDub says:

    Looks like a great sauce. Just wondering if you have stored it for any length of time? If I make a big batch and it sits in the fridge, how long would it last?

    Also, to the “patent attorney” above: get a life. There are still only three people I know that have my mother in laws butter tart recipe, and even I am not allowed to know her secret. I appreciate you putting this out for us to try.

    • Chris says:

      Hi TDUB,

      I’m not sure of exactly how long the sauce will keep, but all of the ingredients are fairly stable. I have a really large bottle in my fridge that I’ve had for about 3 months, and it’s still fine. I think you’d be fine making a big batch.

      Hope this helps! Be sure to come back and let me know how you like the sauce. :)

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don’t have any dark corn syrup…and not going to the store anytime soon. Can I use light corn syrup?

    • You bet. Flavor won’t be as deep, but will still be good. If you happen to have molasses then you could add a teaspoon of that to help make up the difference, but I’m sure you’d love the sauce either way.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Best sauce ever. Thank you!
    -Brian Carter

  6. Emily says:

    Tried it on some grilled chicken thighs yesterday and they were delicious! The whole family loved the sauce…in-laws did too! Thank you!

  7. Lindsey says:

    I cannot wait to try this recipe. It looks amazing. I use Sweet Baby Rays all of the time beacause it’s the only great gluten free sauce I’ve found, but I alway find myself wanted more spice and flava!

    I have Celiac Disease so I have to be very cautious of gluten and I have had BAD luck with liquid smoke. Have you found a good gluten free alternative? What do you think the outcome would be without the liquid smoke?

    • Hi Lindsey! I haven’t heard anything like that about liquid smoke, so thank you for sharing. To avoid the liquid smoke, I would instead add 1 tsp of smoked paprika, and substitute 1 Tbsp of the Frank’s Red Hot with 1 Tbsp Smoked Tabasco (chipotle Tabasco – can be found in any grocery store next to regular Tabasco). It has a nice smokey flavor that should work well, and it it is one of Tabasco’s sauces that tests as gluten free.

      I hope this helps, Lindsey! Let me know if there’s anything else I can help with!

  8. Casey says:

    I guess I don’t understand the pettiness of the “internal struggle”. So a bunch of nameless, faceless strangers know how to make your sauce. Does this hamper or impede your way of making a living? If so, I suggest you look into a patent. But speaking as a patent attorney, I’d say you don’t have enough uniqueness here. This is a pretty straight forward recipe w/ little or no surprises. But I’m sure it’s just as wonderful as the 35,000 or so barbeque sauces on the market. Now, if it’s a shot to your ego or manhood you’re worrying about, well…….maybe you just need to grow up. I have a really great artichoke dipping sauce. If someone tries it and likes it, I offer up the recipe (for the record, it is mayo, worcestershire, garlic powder, lemon juice and fresh basil in quantities to taste). I guess I see no power or esteem gained or retained by holding onto knowledge in a kung foo death grip.

    • Hahaha, I bow to your greatness. You’re clearly a shining beacon of maturity.

    • Fa says:

      Wow! Yup, obviously an attorney of some minute significance.

    • Julie says:

      Troll or attorney? Same/same? Even 8 years ago we had cringey people lurking in the shadows. Chris, thanks for sharing this recipe. I am excited to try it since I’m having a hard time finding a good one out of the 35,000 out there on the market.

  9. Angel says:

    Can’t wait to make the sauce – I love sauce recipes – thank you for sharing. I know it was hard. I have a few recipes like that too. My husband bakes our wings too so I really would love to see your recipe to compare.

  10. Yum! Nothing is better than a great BBQ sauce, especially with cookout season upon us!

  11. Holy crap…you got advice from *the* Sweet Baby Ray! Love that sauce. Even though I hosted a grill out yesterday with a full spread of homemade goodness, I’m totally going to make this sauce tonight and grill out again! I’ve never heard of Liquid Smoke before, can you get it at the grocery store?

    • Oh, and I cannot wait for the chicken wings next week. I always knew if I were ever going to make chicken wings then I would want to bake them so I’m doubly excited.

    • Hi Gabrielle! Liquid smoke is available at pretty much every grocery store. It’s usually in the condiments isle, by the hot sauces and barbecue sauce. One thing I should have mentioned – get hickory, not mesquite. Mesquite has too strong of a flavor and will throw the taste off. Maybe I’ll add that to the post.

    • Made the barbecue sauce over the weekend and grilled out. Impressed the in-laws and lost a bottle of your sauce to them. :) Ever come up with a name for your sauce? My husband and I have dubbed it “Chris’ Baby Ray’s” or sometimes “Sweet Baby Chris'”. Can’t wait to try it on the wings tonight.

    • I love comments like this, Gabrielle! So glad you like it!

  12. EXCITED! Yes theee sweet baby Ray! I remember when you had that conversation!!

  13. This recipe makes me very glad to be your internet friend. Can’t wait to try it!

  14. Amanda says:

    YUM! I’ll have to try this!

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