Thick, tomato-rich Kansas City sauces are sweeter than those from other barbecue regions. While commercial renditions can overdo the sugar, this version (inspired by the scrumptious Gates Original) balances sweet with spice.
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup
1 cup water
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
3/4 teaspoon ground celery seed
1/2 teaspoon smoked salt (such as McCormick)
How to Make It
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; simmer 25 minutes or until slightly thickened.
This sauce was delicious! I added some tomato paste and some more molasses because I might have added a little too much pepper. I made half the recipe and we still had plenty left. I would use this on pork also.
I've been making this recipe for years. I keep coming back to it. I can't believe how easy it is, and it's so delicious. It's tangy and spicy, with just a hint of sweetness. Perfection!
You also do not have to use it with meat. While it's great on chicken or pretty much any rib (beef or pork), it's also equally good on vegetarian "meats" such as tofu, tempeh, and seitan.
This is now our go-to barbecue sauce. I don't keep celery seed or smoked salt in the house, so I omitted these and added 1/2 tsp of celery salt. I find that when I make smaller batches, it doesn't need anywhere near 25 minutes. This sauce is also great on pulled pork.
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