Admittedly there are lots of great BBQ sauces out there for purchase. But when you make your own at home it just hits differently. Homemade sweet and tangy bbq sauce takes only 15 minutes to make and the flavor can be adjusted on a whim to pair with your recipe perfectly.
BBQ sauce is a ketchup based sauce so you probably have all of the necessary ingredients on hand in the house already. All except for one very crucial ingredient… pineapple juice. This is where the sweet and tangy come in. Salty ketchup, sweet pineapple and tangy Worcestershire sauce are the big flavors here.
This homemade sweet and tangy BBQ is great on so many different meats. Baste it onto grilled chicken, top off some homemade meatloaf, coat a rack of ribs, use it as pizza sauce… the possibilities are endless.
Use this recipe as your guide and then adjust the brown sugar for more or less sweetness. Increase or eliminate the red pepper for adjusting the heat. And by all means… feel free to experiment! Maybe trying simmer some orange peels in the sauce before finishing it off ??!
About the Ingredients
Onion – only 1/4 an onion, diced
Worcestershire sauce – a little bit goes a long way
Ketchup – I use classic Heinz ketchup. If you use a version that is more natural you may need to increase your salt and or sugar slightly so be sure to taste as you go.
Seasonings – garlic powder, salt and pepper
Pineapple juice – canned is great so long as it is 100% real juice.
Red pepper flakes – measure with your heart on this one.
Cornstarch – combined with water to thicken the sauce, if needed.
How to Make Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce
Begin by sautéing a small amount of diced onion in a small sauce pan. Wait for the onion to soften but not brown, about 4 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and sauté for one more minute to let the onion absorb it. Now add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
It’s time to smooth out the sauce. Using an immersion blender, purée the sauce until smooth.
If the sauce is a little thinner than you like it you can thicken it using a cornstarch slurry. Whisk 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Pour the slurry into the sauce with the pot set over medium-low heat and continue whisking until the sauce thickens. You can repeat this step until you reach your desired consistency.
Recipe Substitutions & Variations
Sweet and tangy BBQ sauce is great but sometimes it needs a little heat. If you want to spice it up a bit try adding some cayenne pepper. If you want to be very fancy you could slice your favorite fresh chili pepper in half and toss it into the simmering sauce. When the sauce is done cooking, remove the pepper and seeds to keep the consistency of the BBQ sauce smooth.
FAQ’s and Recipe Tips
Increase the amount of the cornstarch slurry you use. Whisk 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Pour the slurry into the simmering sauce and continue whisking until it thickens. Repeat this until you reach the right consistency.
Homemade BBQ sauce can be stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
The Recipe for Homemade Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce
The recipe is attached below for easy downloading and printing. If you test it out be sure to leave a note in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you thought and what you put your new favorite sauce on. Enjoy!
Homemade Sweet & Tangy BBQ Sauce
- 1 Immersion blender or regular blender
- ¼ cup yellow onion diced
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire
- ¾ cup ketchup
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 2 pinches salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 6 oz pineapple juice
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- In a small saucepan set on medium heat, sauté the onion until soft but not brown, about 4 minutes.¼ cup yellow onion
- Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir for about 1 minute.2 tbsp Worcestershire
- Add the remaining ingredients except the cornstarch and stir to combine. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes.¾ cup ketchup, ½ cup packed brown sugar, ½ tsp garlic powder, 2 pinches salt, 1 pinch pepper, 6 oz pineapple juice, 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- Remove the pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, purée the sauce until the onion pieces are gone.
- If the sauce is too thin, return the sauce to the stove set on medium-low heat. Whisk the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the sauce and continuously whisk the sauce until it thickens.1 tbsp cornstarch