Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce 3.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick/The Washington Post

Aug 9, 2018

With its peppery bite, this sauce works as a fine accompaniment for chef Virginia Willis's Rainy-Day Ribs and for her Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Chicken (see related recipes).

Make Ahead: The sauce can be refrigerated for several months.

3 cups

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 3 cups

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium ketchup
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

Related Recipes


Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until soft and melted.

Add the ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar, lemon juice and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times, until the flavors have smoothed and mellowed. Cool before storing.

Rate it

Recipe Source

Adapted from “Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South,” by Virginia Willis (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.