Classic American barbecue sauce. Picture by Deb Lindsey. Food styling fby Amanda Soto by The Washington Post
Everyone has their perfect braai sauce, this one is an American classic!

For a perfectly smooth sauce, strain the onion and garlic bits out after cooking.  This sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Three to six servings  (makes 3/4 cup)


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper, or more as needed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
Chicken thighs and cauliflower with classic American barbecue sauce. Picture by Deb Lindsey. and food styling by Bonnie S.Benwick for The Washington Post.
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, allspice and cayenne pepper; cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, until the onion has softened.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  4. Add the ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, cider vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire and liquid smoke.
  5. Once the mixture starts to bubble, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes, until slightly reduced and thickened.
  6. Let cool before serving or storing