BrewnBBQ: Make a Sweet and Smoky BBQ Sauce Just Like Sweet Baby Ray’s

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January 11, 2013 by burkej09

Even though our winter in Chicago this year has been very mild, the early darkness has greatly reduced my grilling. I like to use winter as my experiment time for sauces. Now that my coaching season is over, I can get back on here and share some of my favorite BBQ recipes and techniques with you!

Homemade BBQ sauce

Homemade BBQ sauce (Photo credit: devillibrarian)

Sweet Baby Ray’s is one of my favorite sauces, besides Honey BBQ at Buffalo Wild Wings. I like to make meatballs and wings, and I used to use Sweet Baby Ray’s, until I developed this from a couple of recipes online.

To make bigger batches, just make sure to have equal parts ketchup and tomato sauce, then more than double the amounts of dark brown sugar and red wine vinegar. The molasses adds a sweet flavor, while the liquid smoke obviously adds a smoky flavor.


1 cup ketchup

1 cup tomato sauce (8 oz. can)

2 cup 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 cup 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/4 cup molasses

2 teaspoons liquid smoke

1 tablespoons butter

sprinkle of garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, celery seed, and cayenne pepper

a little more paprika than the other spices

same parts salt and pepper


1. Over medium heat, mix together all ingredients, starting with the top of the list.

2. After some boiling, reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.

Uses: I like to use this sauce on my boneless chicken wings. I also keep mason jars on hand for extra sauce to keep in the fridge. This sauce is also really good for meatballs, ribs, and grilled chicken.


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