Kansas City-style Barbecue Sauce

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You probably think of Kansas City-style barbecue sauce when you think about barbecue sauce.

It’s smokey, sweet, and just thick enough to nicely cover delicacies like pig ribs and burnt ends.

This recipe will show you how to produce a traditional Kansas City-style barbecue sauce that will have your visitors clamoring for more.

What is Kansas City-style barbecue sauce?

Kansas City-style Barbecue Sauce

Kansas City sauce is a tomato-based sauce with molasses and brown sugar as sweeteners. It also includes a variety of spices, so you get a range of taste notes depending on what meat you match it with.

Kansas City barbecue may be dated back to the early 1900s, and Henry Perry is largely regarded as the creator of Kansas City-style barbecue.

Henry Perry began smoking meat in an open pit adjacent to his barn in the 1920s and served portions wrapped in inexpensive newspaper. His dish became so famous that others immediately followed after, putting their own spin on his smokey classics.

Kansas City-style sauce, in my opinion, goes best with smoked pig ribs, chopped beef, and, of course, the famed Kansas City burned ends.

Keep in mind that Kansas City sauce has a high sugar level and may rapidly burn when cooked over hot coals.

It’s preferable to add the sauce in the last few minutes of cooking, or just serve it on the side.

Ingredients you’ll need

  • Toasted tomatoes In a barbecue sauce, it’s debatable whether crushed tomatoes or tomato paste should be used. Crushed tomatoes give the sauce a thinner consistency that is ideal for slathering over smoked meat.
  • Ketchup Sure, you may make your own ketchup using tomatoes, vinegar, and sugar, but I think that store-bought ketchup offers the best taste and consistency for this sauce.
  • The brown sugar Use either light or dark brown sugar, although I like light since I don’t want the molasses taste to overshadow the sauce, as I’ll be adding molasses as well.
  • Molasses There are many varieties of molasses available, each with a distinct taste. The light molasses is cooked once, the dark molasses twice, and the blackstrap molasses three times. I love the full taste of unsulfured molasses for this dish since it gives the proper mix of sweetness to brighten up the sauce.
  • vinegar made from apple cider The sour acidity of the vinegar helps offset the richness of the brown sugar and molasses. You may also use distilled white vinegar or rice vinegar in this recipe, but I like the taste of apple cider vinegar.
  • Seasonings I like to add smoked paprika for a smokiness, as well as salt, pepper, chile powder, garlic powder, and powdered mustard. Add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper for added heat.Spices

Tools you’ll need

  • a medium saucepan or pot A saucepan or pot with a capacity of at least 2 quarts is required. I like to use a pan since the sauce comes to a boil quicker, but a pot works just as well. Choose one with a cover, since the sauce will need to boil with the lid on for around 20 minutes.
  • a big spoon or a silicone spatula Any spoon or tool you normally use to make sauce will work nicely for this recipe. I like to use a silicone spatula (rather than a wooden spoon) since the sauce does not adhere to it.
  • Whiskey made of wire You don’t need a whisk to mix your sauce, but I prefer to use one to speed things up. This sauce whisk is one of my favorites.
  • Mason jar (or other suitable storage container) Because you can keep this sauce in the fridge for up to a week, I suggest using a container with a lid rather than wrapping a bowl with plastic wrap. You want a container with a good seal to keep your sauce from deteriorating, therefore I think mason jars are the ideal way to preserve homemade barbecue sauce.

What to serve Kansas City-style barbecue sauce with

As previously said, this is a richer sauce with a distinct sweet taste. Because the sweetness might be a touch excessive for certain proteins, I like it with hearty meats that have been seasoned with lots of salt and pepper.

This sauce goes well with burned ends, pig ribs, and chopped beef.

Because of the high sugar content, this sauce is prone to burning, therefore don’t use it on the meat too early in the cooking process.

It’s finest served as a finishing sauce or beside your meal at the table.

Here are a few dishes that go beautifully with Kansas City-style sauce:

  • Smoked baby back ribs
  • The best brisket burnt ends
  • Poor mans burnt ends
  • Pork butt burnt ends
  • Hot dog burnt ends


What makes Kansas City BBQ sauce different?

Kansas City BBQ sauce is richer and sweeter than traditional BBQ sauce. Made with onions, spices, ketchup, and molasses, additional ingredients such as liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, or soy sauce are sometimes added to give it a variety of tastes.

What type of BBQ sauce is Kansas City?

Kansas City BBQ sauce is the ideal blend of sweet and tangy flavors. It’s rich from the molasses, vibrant from the acidic tomatoes and vinegar, and spicy enough from the chili pepper. It’s a traditional ketchup-based BBQ sauce that’s perfect for chicken, ribs, and more!

What is Kansas City BBQ sauce made of?

A generous quantity of ketchup is mixed with sautéed onions and garlic, then blended with molasses and brown sugar (for additional thickness and sweetness), a little vinegar (for acidity), and mustard, chili powder, black and cayenne peppers for heat.

What is the difference between St Louis and Kansas City BBQ sauce?

St. Louis barbecue sauce is comparable to Kansas City barbecue sauce (hey, they’re both from Missouri), but it’s thinner due to the inclusion of vinegar, which also reduces the sweetness significantly.

What is the best BBQ sauce in the world?

The 15 Best Barbecue Sauces Available Online in 2023
Bar-B-Que Sauce with Dinosaurs.
BBQ sauce from Bone Suckin’ Gourmet Foods.
Traeger Apricot BBQ Sauce from Traeger Grills.
Stubb’s Barbecue Sauce.
Master’s Reserve Kansas City Classic BBQ Sauce from Cattleman’s.
Sonny’s Original Sweet Bar-B-Q Sauce.
Dave’s Georgia Mustard BBQ Sauce is famous.

What is the difference between Memphis and Kansas City style BBQ?

Memphis-style barbecue is less sweet and more acidic and spicy than Kansas City barbecue. It’s also a thinner sauce, while Kansas City barbecue is often thick. Another distinction is that Memphis-style barbecue does not apply sauce to the meat while it cooks.

What makes Kansas City BBQ unique?

Kansas City barbecue is dry-rubbed, slow-smoked over a variety of woods, and served with a rich tomato-based barbecue sauce that is an essential feature of the Kansas City style.

Why is Kansas City BBQ so good?

Kansas City’s barbecue mania may be traced back to Henry Perry, who started grilling in an outside pit next to his streetcar barn in the early 1920s, offering slabs of food wrapped in newspaper. Fans started mimicking Perry’s method and flair to develop their own unique recipes when Perry’s ‘cue got so famous.

What is the difference between Carolina BBQ and Kansas City BBQ?

While Kansas City sauce focuses on sweetness, North Carolina sauce focuses on acidity. Because this acidic sauce is produced with vinegar, it delivers a punch when a person consumes it. North Carolina sauce’s powerful tanginess allows it to stand up to fatty barbecue foods rather well.

What is kc classic sauce?

Kansas City Classic Barbecue Sauce by KC Masterpiece is crafted with genuine sugar, rich molasses, and spices for a classic sweet, smokey, and savory taste. This gluten-free barbecue sauce is ideal for all of your favorite dishes, whether you’re grilling or cooking in the kitchen.


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