How to make BBQ sauce

BBQ sauce is a versatile condiment and is used in a range of ways including as a dipping sauce, a marinade, or to top meat. As the name suggests, the sauce is typically used in the barbecue cooking style, including pork or beef ribs and chicken.

In the Southern United States, BBQ sauce is a popular condiment, used on many foods.

As such a popular sauce, ingredients vary from country to country and even between families. 

However, most include some variation on vinegar, tomato paste, or mayonnaise (or a combination thereof) as a base, as well as liquid smoke, onion powder, spices such as mustard and black pepper, and sweeteners such as sugar or molasses.

If you’d like to give your own BBQ sauce a go, here is how to make it at home.

Read More: How to cook halloumi on the BBQ


  • Phil Vickery’s peri peri chicken BBQ recipe on This Morning

BBQ Sauce recipe


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 85g brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée


1. Heat oil in a saucepan and add the onion. Cook over a gentle heat 4-5 mins, until softened.

2. Add remaining ingredients, season and mix.

3. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 mins, until thickened.

4. For a smooth sauce, simply whizz the mixture in a food processor or with a hand blender for a few seconds.

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For a recipe using your BBQ sauce, here is how to make BBQ chicken wings


Your homemade BBQ sauce

  • 6 chicken drumsticks, preferably free-range
  • 6 chicken wings, preferably free-range

Cook on the barbecue

1. Slash the chicken drumsticks three to four times each with a sharp knife and place in a non-metallic bowl with the chicken wings. Pour over the BBQ sauce mix and leave to marinate for at least two hours, or overnight if you can, turning occasionally.

2. Once it has marinated, place the chicken on the barbecue over medium to hot coals and cook for about 20 minutes, brushing with any marinade left in the dish as it cooks. If it’s colouring too quickly, move to a cooler part of the barbecue to cook more gently. It’s important you cook the chicken all the way through.

3. To check it is cooked, pierce a drumstick with a skewer: if the juices are still pink, carry on cooking.

Eat as soon as they’re cool enough to handle, with the sticky sauce all around your mouth and fingers. Isn’t that what barbecues are all about?

Oven cook

If you don’t want to use the barbecue, the chicken can also be cooked in the oven.

To do this, preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

1. Transfer the chicken into a roasting tray with a couple of spoonfuls of the marinade.

2. Place in the oven for about 50 minutes, turning occasionally and basting with the marinade and juices until thoroughly sticky and golden, adding extra marinade to the tray if necessary.

3. Once the chicken pieces are cooked, eat when fresh and hot, or leave to cool before packing up for a picnic or packed lunch.

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