No barbecue is complete without a killer sauce. Skip the store-bought stuff and upgrade to something homemade. Here, our favorite DIY barbecue sauces to make at home.

By Maria Yagoda
Updated April 02, 2020
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As the weather gets warmer, our minds turn to barbecue. While there are plenty of excellent store-bought barbecue sauces on the market, we like making our own, playing with whatever ingredients we have on hand. Many of these homemade sauces feature classic pantry ingredients, including honey, coffee, hoisin, and Worcestershire sauce, so they're easy to whip up without going to the supermarket.

Below, find our favorite DIY barbecue sauces to slather on ribs, grilled chicken, burgers, and just about anything.

Bobby Flay's rich, tangy barbecue sauce is made with sorghum syrup, which comes from sweet sorghum grass.

Grilling experts Cheryl and Bill Jamison add espresso to this sauce to give it a deeply rich, complex flavor. It's delicious with smoked or grilled pork, beef, lamb, or duck.

Paul Kirk, a native of Kansas City, Kansas, jokes that this sauce reflects the style of his hometown "because I said so." But it also has the characteristic tomato base of Kansas City's classic sauces, unlike the vinegar-based sauces of the Carolinas.

This sweet and pungent mustard sauce is perfect on pork chops.

Like ketchup in a classic barbecue sauce, the Chinese condiment, hoisin, provides a satisfying contrast of sweet, salty and aromatic flavors.

This bright and tangy BBQ sauce is the ultimate condiment for ribs.

Smoky and sweet, this go-to sauce is made with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Toss it with pulled pork or shredded chicken, or spoon it on your favorite burger for a summery upgrade.

Jen Causey

Linton Hopkins’s aunt Julia—“my paternal grandmother’s sister-in-law,” he says—made giant vats of this barbecue sauce on her farm in Alabama, then drove around delivering it to everyone in her extended family. Hopkins likes to spoon it over coffee-cured pork shoulder.

Smoky, sweet, thick, and savory, this is the platonic ideal of barbecue sauce.

If you’ve never sampled Alabama’s signature barbecue sauce, let this easy recipe be your grand introduction. Less sweet than tomato-based barbecue sauces, this fast, no-cook sauce has a sharp tang from vinegar and Worcestershire sauce that cuts through rich and fatty barbecued meats with grace.

Refrigerate this super-easy sauce for up to two weeks (and eat it on everything.)

Steven Raichlen uses guava paste and rum in this sweet and sticky sauce inspired by the flavors of Miami.

Inspired by a trip to Mexico City, Jean-Georges Vongerichten added ancho and chipotle chiles to this fish sauce-spiked barbecue sauce.