Kansas City BBQ Sauce

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Kansas City BBQ Sauce is one of the best BBQ sauce recipes we've tried - rich, tangy, with a kick of cayenne, and very sweet.

It's what the rest of the world imagines when they think of "American BBQ sauce". And whenever I make it, I get a satisfying number of compliments.

Really it's a finishing or mopping sauce to be slathered all over pork ribs for the last stage of the barbeque process.


  • 1 1/4 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1/4 cup molasses sugar
  • 3 tbsn paprika
  • 3 tsp cayenne
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • If you want a smokey taste but don't have a smoker, get hold of some hickory liquid smoke and add a couple of teaspoons.


  1. Heat the oil in a suitable pan and saute the garlic until it browns.
  2. Add the vinegar, ketchup, and water, then the sugar, paprika, cayenne.
  3. Turn down the heat and let it all simmer for 15 minutes until it thickens a bit.


If you feel like experimenting whilst making this BBQ sauce try one or more of the following:

  • Swap the cider vinegar for balsamic vinegar - it's sweet and rich - which is what this sauce should be anyway.
  • Try a lug or two of Worcestershire sauce.
  • A lug or two of bourbon - not too much.
  • Add more or less cayenne pepper.
  • It might be too garlicky for some - if so try one clove instead.
  • Try honey or maple syrup instead of molasses sugar.

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