BBQCondiments & SaucesGluten-FreeNon-DairyNorth AmericanUnder 30 MinutesVegetarian

Sweet and Smoky Homemade BBQ Sauce

An easy, 20-minute Sweet and Smoky Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe. Make a double batch and keep leftovers in the freezer for ease and convenience!

Sweet and Smoky Homemade BBQ Sauce. Smoky Barbecue Sauce Recipe.

This Sweet and Smoky BBQ Sauce is what dreams are made of.

With summertime here, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, bust out your basting brush, and get down to some serious grilling business.

Sweet and Smoky Homemade BBQ Sauce. It is a great smoky sauce.

My secret ingredient for homemade barbecue sauce is a touch of smoked paprika. It adds just enough of that earthy, smoky flavor without overwhelming the sweetness of the sauce.

Here’s a few ideas on ways to use this BBQ sauce:

Baste it on some pork ribs during the last thirty minutes on the smoker

Serve it as a dip for french fries or onion rings

Toss it with leftover chicken and make Southern-fusion tacos

Add some smoky flavor to your regular pulled pork recipe

Make a Tex-Mex inspired Tamale Pie (check out the recipe here and see the photo below)

Tex Mex BBQ Chicken Tamale Pie

Use it as a smoky BBQ marinade

Sweet and Smoky Homemade BBQ Sauce. It is a great smoked sauce.

This smoked BBQ sauce will keep in your fridge for about two weeks, but feel free to make a larger batch and freeze it in mason jars for convenient homemade deliciousness throughout the year.

I buy these half pint mason jars like they are going out of style. Some mason jars are labeled specifically for freezer use (like these ones), but I’ve had great success using the regular old canning ones, too.

I also use the half pint jars as drinking glasses when we have people over during the summer. They are so easy to store when not in use!

Sweet and Smoky Homemade Barbecue Sauce. It is a great homemade smoky bbq sauce!

Spend 20 minutes making this homemade BBQ sauce this week and report back on all of the fun ways you used it!

Here’s the Recipe!

Sweet and Smoky Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

An easy, 20-minute Sweet and Smoky Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe. Make a double batch and keep leftovers in the freezer for ease and convenience!
4.5 from 536 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Condiments & Sauces
Cuisine: North American
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 4
Calories: 207kcal
Author: The Wanderlust Kitchen
Print Recipe


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne


  • Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and saute two minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients and let cook for three minutes.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes until thickened.
Nutrition Facts
Sweet and Smoky Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe
Serving Size
1 serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Please note that Smoky BBQ Sauce Recipe is often misspelled as Smokey BBQ Sauce Recipe.


About the Author


Hi, I'm Anetta! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel stories from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. I believe that food brings us together as much as it sets us apart. Be brave, try something new!

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    1. Hi Jordan, so glad you have a new favorite! Sounds like some summer BBQ is going to be happening! – Linda

    1. Hi Linda, it will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge, but yes, you can freeze it and that is what I do to be able to store it longer (for up to 3 months) and use it when I need it.

    1. Hi Rowam,

      Yes, you can use white wine vinegar instead of apple cider, but it might change the flavor of the BBQ Sauce.

      – Linda

  1. I’m sure the creator of good recipes doesn’t like people messing with the original but, I made this once and it was very good but not quite to my taste. Just like Baskin Robbins says, not everyone likes the same flavor. I doubled the Brown Sugar, used half as much of the Cayenne and Chili powder, A teaspoon of Liquid Smoke and added a Jigger of Kentucky Bourbon. { Just because I like Bourbon }.
    My wife said that we will never buy store bought sauce again.
    Just my take on it. Great recipe.

  2. I made this on Saturday for some chicken & pineapple kebabs, and my god was it amazing. I doubled the batch but did not double the cayenne (I’m a baby when it comes to spice) and it was absolutely perfect. I will be making this again and again, probably forever.

    1. I have just made this and put 2 tsp of cayenne in as i didn’t have any chilli powder and it is very hot, think it may too hot to eat.
      Next time i will only put a 1/4 tsp in.

  3. Your recipe for Catsup Secret/ or public ? Making two racks of ribs in 8 Quart instant pot today

    1. Vinnie,

      All The Wanderlust Kitchen recipes are available for you to make. Enjoy this BBQ sauce.

      – Linda

  4. I found that the teaspoon of Cayenne was a tad to much. I suggest people start with a 1/2 teaspoon and increase it if they feel they can handle it. To much kind of blanks out your taste buds to the food you are putting it on. A sauce should enhance flavours not dominate.

  5. I like the recipe, I have been making a similar sauce for years now, but I add crushed pineapple(2-3 table spoons), and a pinch of cumin, and lastly I add a little bit of butter, to smooth the flavors out.keep recipes coming.

    1. Made this for the first time last night for Hunters Chicken – just written it out in the ‘keepers’ recipe folder! I will enjoy playing with the spices to get our household’s sweet spot. If others aren’t keen on oil, i’d suggest care with the amount of olive oil, 3 tblspoons seemed too much and it floated… i’m wondering if a US tablespoon is what we’d call a dessert spoon in Ùk? Thanks for the great recipe, my eye is caught by the tex mex tamale now!

  6. This looks absolutely delicious and simple to make! I may give it a try, since I’m almost out of my favourite store-bought BBQ sauce!

  7. Oooh, this looks delish! 🙂

    I’ve always disliked the processed flavours of most BBQ sauce so I’m looking forward to putting this into my fridge – especially since I make my own bad-ass ketchup anyway 😀