Texas-Style BBQ Sauce


Get the taste of Texas at home.

Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Prissy Lee Montiel
Active Time:
5 mins
Cool Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
2 cups

In the South, we sure do know our barbecue. Each year, we ask our readers to help us rank the South's Best BBQ Joints, and the list is bound to elicit some fiery debate. How is one supposed to rank smoked chicken smothered in vinegary white sauce against Central Texas brisket? Our studies in Southern barbecue have proven that this revered culinary landscape is far from a monolith—each Southern region, state, and even city has its own unique expression of barbecue. And more often than not, the secret is in the sauce. We sought out to devise a Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce that would please any Lone Star state barbecue fanatic.

Texas is so renowned for its barbecue that, in ranking the South's Best BBQ Joints, we had to give it its own category entirely. Our rendition of a classic Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce delivers a punch of warm spice and tang, but still allows the pure smoked flavor of the meat to shine. This sauce is slightly spicy and ketchup-forward, with lots of umami from the Worcestershire sauce. The tang of the apple cider combined with the Worcestershire balances out the sweetness from ketchup and brown sugar. The note of cumin adds extra complexity to this sauce, bringing a touch of spice that you can't quite place your finger on. For a true Texas barbecue experience, stir in 1 cup of beef drippings to this sauce just before serving—this will really amp up that rich, smoky, succulent flavor.

This sauce is meant to pair with Texas delicacies like brisket, sausage, and ribs. We believe that our Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce would make Texas's barbecue icons—like Keith Schmidt, fifth-generation owner of Kreuz Market in Lockhart, Texas—proud.


  • 1 ½ cups ketchup

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar

  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium, whisking occasionally, until ingredients are combined and sauce is just starting to simmer, 2 to 3 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.

Related Articles