Recipe Memphis Barbecue Sauce


4 Sep 2020
Local time
8:36 AM
Chicago, IL - Midwest USA
Some of the best BBQ I've ever had was a hole in the wall in Tennessee. I traveled for work back then and got so sick of hotel food. I ventured out and found a place. I can't remember the name of it though. I've never been able to duplicate their sauce but I won't stop trying. ;-)

Memphis Barbecue Sauce

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 48 tablespoons


2 cups ketchup Heinz or Hunts
1/4-1/2 cup yellow mustard Adjust to taste
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar firmly packed
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons celery salt
2 teaspoons liquid smoke optional but recommended
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper adjust to taste


Combine in a non-reactive saucepan with a glass lid : 2 cups Heinz or Hunts Ketchup, ¼-1/2 cup yellow mustard, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 2 teaspoon celery salt, 2 teaspoons liquid smoke, ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Place over medium-high heat, stirring aggressively until starting to boil being careful to avoid splatter. This stuff is thick and will burn you.

Reduce heat to low and cover with a glass lid so you can see the action.

Occasionally remove from heat and stir well. Please be sure to remove from heat before stirring to prevent splattering and burns.

Simmer for about 30 minutes.

Pro Tips:
Use ketchup you love. I prefer Heinz or Hunts only.

Adjust the mustard to your taste. A full ½ cup will give a heavy mustard taste. I usually use a ⅜ cup.

The heat (spiciness) here is about 3/10 with ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Adjust to your taste.

Good in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Probably a lot longer but not tested.

Spoon some into small baggies and freeze for 3-4 months.

Memphis Barbecue Sauce from 101 Cooking for Two
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