Essential Sauces of Summer: Homemade KC-Style BBQ Sauce


homemade bbq sauce

Even though the barbecues and picnics this summer are likely looking a little different from those in the past, I do hope you get to do some outdoor cooking, enjoying the beautiful weather and celebrating summer with delicious food. Unfortunately, many of our favorite cookout foods are often super processed and loaded with unwanted ingredients, which is where they DIY spirit can really save your next barbecue. Making foods from scratch is such a great way not only to ensure your foods are made with the best, most natural ingredients, but they also tend to be even more delicious than their store-bought counterparts. A perfect example of this is in sauces, which have the potential to elevate any item at your next cookout when you go the homemade route. For me, one homemade sauce that is essential for summer is my Kansas City-Style BBQ Sauce.

As a Kansas City native, I take barbecue and its many sauces seriously. While there are many styles of BBQ and sauce out there, this one is tomato- and molasses-based as is part of the Kansas City style. It also has a kick of smoke and heat to balance out the acidity and sweetness. This recipe is inspired by the sauce we made at a restaurant I worked at in college, called Main Squeeze, where brewed coffee was added to our BBQ sauce, imparting a nice bitter quality for another layer of flavor. In my recipe, I use natural sweeteners instead of processed sugars: Molasses and maple syrup are used here, which are both unrefined and rich in minerals.

This also adds a Wisconsin twist, an homage to my current home, as both sorghum molasses and maple syrup are local foods to our region of the country. The lack of high fructose corn syrup or preservatives typically found in store-bought BBQ sauces makes this healthier and allows me to use local ingredients in the recipe as well.

This goes great slathered on smoked meats such as ribs or brisket, but is also tasty on grilled chops, brats, or burgers, or even tossed with slower cooker pulled pork or chicken. However, it also can be used on grilled veggies and, mixed 50/50 with some mayo, makes a pretty stellar dip for oven fries. If you have some delicious local meat (or veggies) to cook up this summer, be sure to give it the proper treatment with some homemade BBQ sauce. Party on.

KC-Style BBQ Sauce

Prep time: 15 minutes

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