Kansas City Classic Barbecue Sauce® - ☺♥

Kansas City Classic Barbecue Sauce

This is one "perfect" barbecue sauce … so much so that I simply deleted my other recipes for barbecue sauce. It is not cloyingly sweet. It has a great taste. If you are hooked on very sweet barbecue sauces you will have to look elsewhere for a recommendation.

The way to use this sauce best is not at the table, though it tastes mighty good at the table too. Baste it on baby back ribs that have already been wrapped tightly in aluminum foil and baked at 225ºF to 230ºF for 4 to 5 hours. Then bake the basted ribs an additional 30 minutes without the aluminum foil.

Yield: 6 cups


2 tablespoons of chili powder

1 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon of table salt

2 cups of ketchup

1/2 cup of Yellow mustard

1/2 cup of cider or white vinegar

1/3 cup of Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup of lemon juice

1/4 cup of steak sauce

1/4 cup of dark molasses

1/4 cup of honey

1 teaspoon of Texas Pete’s® Hot Sauce

1 cup of dark brown sugar (you can use light brown sugar)

3 tablespoons of vegetable oil or butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 medium cloves of garlic, minced

1 or 2 teaspoons of Wright’s® liquid smoke hickory flavoring

1 tsp. of Koldkiss® concentrated sodium benzoate solution (optional)

Secret Ingredient: Add 2 tablespoons of Tamarind paste. This exotic ingredient isn't really all that exotic. It shows up on the ingredient lists of great BBQ sauces. It has a sweet citrus flavor and really amps up a sauce. If you can't find it in an Asian grocery it is available through the Internet.

I found tamarind paste in block form at an Asian market for $3.99 for a 16 oz. package. That was much cheaper than the tamarind advertised on the Internet (at the time) but the processing was a pain in the butt. Then I came across the Tamicon® brand of tamarind paste via Amazon.com and it was inexpensive and easy to use and excellent. I recommend buying the prepared paste instead of processing a block of tamarind that has fiber and seeds included.

The tamarind does make a fabulous difference. Friends and relatives are going nuts over how great this sauce is with baby back ribs. Yeah … that’s what good cooking is all about! Now, a few words about processing the purchased tamarind paste are in order. It sounds a lot worse than it is.

If you purchase/use a block of tamarind paste you will find that it is very dense. It contains pod fibers and sometimes a seed or two as well as the paste product that you want to use. This means you cut off a piece of tamarind paste of the size you want for the recipe, scaled up to allow for 50 percent waste. In other words, if you want two tablespoons of tamarind paste in your sauce then process four tablespoons of the product as purchased. Now, you soften the tamarind piece by cutting it into four pieces and putting them into a Pyrex® measuring cup. Cover the pieces with water and microwave on high heat until the water boils.

Remove the Pyrex® cup from the microwave oven and set it aside for 15 minutes as a softening period for the tamarind paste. This is the perfect time to prepare the bowls of other ingredients listed below under Directions.

Once softened you can use a coarse mesh sieve and a scraper to push the paste you want through the sieve into a bowl, while keeping the fibrous pod pieces in the sieve. You will discard the fibrous pod pieces. Be patient as this process will take about five minutes and you have to work the product with some gusto, sometimes twice as described next, to get all that you want through the sieve. I recommend processing only one piece of the softened tamarind at a time.

After processing one softened piece, if you think there is more paste to be extracted but more softening is needed then return that part to the measuring cup to soften further. Repeat with the other larger softened pieces when you process them and then reheat the measuring cup contents in the microwave oven for one minute. Then wait five minutes and go back an complete the processing of the "once processed" tamarind pieces. On second processing, you will certainly get all of the useful tamerind paste extracted. The paste you extract via the sieve will be moist and about the consistency of applesauce, and it is ready to be added to the barbecue sauce along with the other liquid or wet ingredients.


Mix the chili powder, black pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Mix the ketchup, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, lemon juice, steak sauce, molasses, honey, hot sauce, brown sugar, the sodium benzoate solution (optional) and finally the processed tamarind paste in a large bowl.

Warm the oil in a large saucepan Over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté them until they are limp and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, stir it into the onions and cook for another minute or two.

Add the dry spices and stir well for about 2 minutes to extract their oil-soluble flavors.

Add the wet ingredients from the large bowl. Mix well, heat to a simmering temperature of about 180 degrees F and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes with the lid off to thicken the sauce.

Taste and adjust the sauce. Add more of anything that you want a little bit at a time. It may taste a bit vinegary at first, but that will be less obvious when you use it.

Process the sauce through a conical colander with a conical wooden roller if you want the chunks of onion and garlic to be completely crushed/integrated into the sauce (That is what I do). You can use the barbecue sauce immediately, but I think it is better when stored overnight. You can store it in clean bottles in the refrigerator for a month or two. I like to use canning jars for that purpose.

I have also vacuum sealed the sauce in small canning jars and I keep them stored in the refrigerator. That makes the shelf life even longer. I also added sodium benzoate to my last batch and now the shelf life will easily be a year or more.