Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Dr. Savell holds a BBQ ribFrom the kitchen of Dr. Jeff Savell:

This sauce is a must with pork spare ribs, beef brisket, and barbequed chicken.  It is extremely sweet and contrasts the strong flavors of smoked meats very well.  I developed this sauce over the years, and I have had people tell me that they wanted to drink it through a straw or eat it out of a bowl as a dessert because it was so good.  I had difficulty trying to write down the exact quantities of ingredients because it truly is a sauce that you mix together with a spoon in your hand to keep tasting until it is just right.

I recommend that you make the sauce beginning with these quantities but adjust to make it match your taste and the foods you are going to eat it with.  You may want to experiment with adding apple cider vinegar, mustard, garlic, and other liquid or dry ingredients to come up with the just right taste you are looking for.

Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce Recipe


  • Butter, one stick
  • Onion, medium (only about half)
  • Light brown sugar, 2 pounds
  • Tomato sauce, 2-15 ounce cans
  • Worchestershire sauce, 3/4 cup


Melt the butter in a sauce pan over low-to-medium heat.  Cut three or four slices of onion into quarters and place in melted butter.  Sauté onions until they begin to turn translucent but it is not necessary to cook them very long since they will be cooked further when all items are combined.

Slowly add small quantities of brown sugar constantly stirring to dissolve it in the butter (watch the temperature here because if it gets too high, the sugar will burn).  Add more brown sugar as it dissolves until the butter quits coming to the top (this should be about half or one pound of the brown sugar).

Add tomato sauce and stir in.  Add about half of the remaining brown sugar and then add Worchestershire sauce for coloring and flavor.  Add remaining brown sugar and reduce the heat, stirring occasionally.  The sauce will become richer in flavor and thicker as it cooks.

Use as a baste on pork spareribs during cooking and as a sauce to add to grilled and barbequed foods after cooking before eating.  Remember to reheat the sauce to a rolling boil if you used it to baste raw meats and poultry during the cooking process.

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