Grillers and pit masters, start your saucepans. If you scoff at those who open a bottle of commercial barbecue sauce, if you think your homemade stuff is better than anything on the market, here’s your chance to show off your handiwork. It’s the Food section’s first Smoke Signals Barbecue Sauce Recipe Contest.

We’re looking for finishing sauces, the kind you use to glaze grilled meat, fish or vegetables, to brush on just before serving or to serve on the side. We do not want recipes for marinades, rubs or mop sauces that are used early in the cooking process.

Otherwise, the sauce can be any style, including but not limited to:

Kansas City-type thickish, tomato-based sweet sauce.

Eastern North Carolina thin, vinegar-based pepper sauce.

South Carolina mustard-based sauce.

Alabama mayonnaise-based white sauce.

The wide array of exotic sauces that include fruit, coffee, etc.

The recipe can contain no more than 10 ingredients, none of which can be a commercial barbecue sauce.

We’re looking for entries from amateur home cooks, not professionals. That means no restaurateurs or caterers. No commercial bottlers. No one who otherwise makes a living cooking or preparing food. And no employees of the Washington Post or their spouses or immediate family members.

Recipes must be original, the sole work of the entrant.

Measurements and directions must be precise and easy to follow, and should include:

A brief description of the sauce and what it pairs with best.

A list of ingredients, using numerical values for measurements; for example, 1 cup ketchup, 2 teaspoons Tabasco.

Clear instructions on how to make and use the sauce.

Include your full name as you would like it to appear in the newspaper. Also include your phone numbers, your home address (not to be used in the paper, but to verify your information), and your e-mail address. Put your name and contact information at the top of the e-mail.

The entry deadline is May 1.

E-mail your entry to, with the words “SAUCE CONTEST” in the subject line.