Introuducing the WS Recipe of the DAy App - Download Now >
Return to Previous Page

Classic Barbecue Sauce

Basic Barbecue Sauce
This traditional American barbecue sauce is good on chicken, spareribs and hamburgers as well as beef brisket sandwiches (see related recipe at left). Because the sauce contains sugar, it burns easily and should be brushed on during the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking. Pass any remaining sauce at the table.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 15 Makes about 2 1/2 cups.


  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or as needed


In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add the ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, chili powder and cayenne, to taste (the more cayenne you use, the hotter it will be). Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Series, Grilling, by John Phillip Carroll (Time-Life Books, 1992).