BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce

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Years ago, I went into Cousin’s Subs and looked around while they prepared my sub. On a long shelf beneath the menu was a giant restaurant-size can of Jane’s Best Barbeque sauce. At the time, Cousins was running a limited time BBQ Pork sub, I think. It just so happens I had my own jar of Jane’s Best at home, in a tiny mason glass. I realized that I am very picky about my BBQ sauce and decided to figure out why some sauce is disgusting and other sauces are delicious.

It comes down to just 3 variations: Vinegar-based, Tomato-based and Mustard-based. Turns out, I really don’t care for Vinegar-based BBQ/Mopping Sauce, and the key to my taste-bud’s heart is tomato. Wikipedia lists about 7 regionally-based types of BBQ sauce, including that Mayonnaise-based Alabama white sauce, but once you identify your preferred base ingredient, you can explore more based on region or Bar-B-Q style.

Jane’s Best doesn’t appear to be around anymore, and most recent Cousin’s limited time BBQ subs use Sweet Baby Ray’s. In my humble opinion, Sweet Baby Ray’s ain’t bad, but Stubb’s is better. Quite a bit better, actually – I always buy two at a time, it’s just that good on everything. Even though Jane’s was Best. I used Jane’s ingredients to come up with this homemade BBQ Sauce recipe.

Use it as dip for our “Theon’s Favorite Toy in a Blanket” pigs-in-a-blanket recipe, or in our BBQ Baked Beans recipe, next time you feel like Saucin’ it up with your own twist (or you just ran out of BBQ Sauce).

Its an excellent mopping and basting sauce for ribs & pork, but I think it is best served warm.

This recipe calls for 16 ounces of tomato puree, but most cans are only 15 oz. This is fine, but if you have OCD, just add 2 Tbsp of ketchup.

Even though I don’t like vinegar-based BBQ sauce, this recipe calls for vinegar, but not a lot – not enough to taste it. This is why I use plain white vinegar, where most other recipes will suggest ACV, or apple cider vinegar. Just use whatever type of vinegar you prefer.

Also, for the corn syrup, you can use light or dark. You only need 2 tablespoons, so it won’t make that much of a visual or textural difference. Whatever’s in your cupboard will do fine.

I also like making BBQ Chicken with mashed potatoes – the BBQ sauce used to cook the chicken makes a great gravy for the potatoes.

Don’t be afraid to try this if you don’t have a slow cooker – you can slow-cook anything with a stove. Just use a large pot on medium-high heat, bring it to a bubble after about 20 minutes, and reduce the heat to really, really low without turning the burner off, and simmer, covered for about 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

BBQ Sauce

A sweet, down-home tomato-based BBQ Sauce for dipping, mopping and more.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 5 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Servings: 48
Calories: 12kcal
Cost: $1.50


  • crock pot


  • 2 c tomato puree
  • c vinegar
  • ¼ c brown sugar
  • 2 T corn syrup
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T paprika
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1 dash Tabasco sauce
  • 1 t mustard optional
  • ¼ c water
  • 1 dash salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 T corn starch or flour


  • Combine in slow cooker, cook on Low for 4 hours (or High for 2 hours)


  • Use 2 garlic cloves instead of garlic powder for some tiny chunks and more flavor
  • Don't have corn syrup? Try using honey instead.
  • Want it a bit chunkier? Add 1 small chopped onion.


% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.1g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 7mg0%
Total Carbohydrate 2.7g1%
Dietary Fiber 0.4g1%
Total Sugars 1.6g 
Protein 0.3g 
Vitamin D 0mcg0%
Calcium 5mg0%
Iron 0mg2%
Potassium 59mg1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
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