Basic Barbecue Sauce

Basic Barbecue Sauce

Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

25 minutes



Serve this sweet and savory barbecue sauce as a condiment for grilled meats and vegetables. This sauce is pureed until smooth but it can also be left a little chunky, if you prefer.

Makes 2 cups

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma On the Grill, by Willie Cooper (Oxmoor House, 2009).

Use immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 1 week.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 cup prepared barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


  • 1 In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil and melt the butter. Add the onion and water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, chili powder and cumin until the onions are coated. Stir in the ketchup, barbecue sauce, molasses and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour the sauce into a blender and process until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings.


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