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Test Kitchen Approved

BBQ Master Sauce

Recipe By Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Prep Time

10 Minutes

Cooking Time

30 Minutes

Recipe By Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

No matter what style of regional BBQ you're making, you can adapt this sauce to fit by using your favorite Savory BBQ rub as the seasoning.

Serving Suggestions

Use as a basting, finishing or dipping sauce with your favorite grilled chicken, ribs, brisket, or veggies.

Recipe Notes

This is a basic BBQ sauce recipe than can be made using your favorite BBQ rub. Try switching out Memphis Rib Rub with one of our other BBQ rubs, like Carolina High Country BBQ Rub, Native Texan BBQ Rub or Team Sweet Mama's KC Style Rub. For a tangier, slightly less sweet version, increase Ketchup by 1/3 cup, use only 1/3 cup molasses, and substitute white vinegar for cider vinegar and yellow mustard for Dijon mustard.


½ medium onion, roughly chopped

¼ cups water

1 cups ketchup

⅔ cups molasses

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Savory Spice ingredients in this recipe


Place the onion and water together in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pureed onion, ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, mustard, and Smoky Ghost Hot Sauce. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic and Memphis Rib Rub, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in ketchup mixture, bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Simmer, uncovered, until sauce thickens, about 20 to 30 minutes. Cool sauce to room temperature before serving. Stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator, the sauce will keep for about a week.