Carol’s BBQ Secret Sauce

Carols BBQ Secret Sauce
Recipe Date: May 22, 2020
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 17 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Measurements: Imperial (US)

This Kansas City-style homemade bbq sauce recipe is sweet, tangy, smoky, and perfect on just about everything. Lloyd’s family uses this to make traditional BBQ chicken, pulled pork, ribs and baked beans. It also works great as a pizza sauce (hello, bbq chicken pizza ♡) and as a glaze. Of course, you’re welcome to get creative and add it into everything from soups to salads, tacos, burgers, casseroles and more. There are so many ways to use homemade bbq sauce.  So let’s make a batch!


  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • optional: a few pinches of cayenne for extra heat, if desired


Step 1

Combine ingredients.  Whisk all ingredients together in a medium saucepan.

Step 2

Simmer. Cook over medium-high heat until the sauce reaches a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer (uncovered) for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce has slightly thickened.

Step 3

Serve. Use the sauce immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 1 week.

Vegan option: To make vegan bbq sauce, just be sure to use a vegan brand of Worcestershire. (We recommend Annie’s.)

Gluten-free option: To make gluten-free bbq sauce, just be sure to use a GF brand of liquid smoke. (We recommend Wright’s or Colgin.)