Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe – Perfect for Short Ribs

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe from domesticsoul.com

This has to be my new favorite recipe. I won’t even lie to you – it’s downright addicting. When I was testing this out and trying to get the perfect combination of ingredients, I had to remake it a few times. And every time I had to tell BFSoul that we we having short ribs for dinner… again… I had a happy little party in my head. Because, beef short ribs = yay. But, beef short ribs with this sauce = OMGYAY!

I’ve found myself really interested in barbecue competitions lately. I’ve watched so many on television, I feel like I know Myron Mixon personally. (I don’t, unfortunately.) But the one thing that bothers me about the recipes on these shows is the sheer volume of sugar that’s used. Some days it’s like, “First we’re going to coat this in a little brown sugar and white sugar. Then we’re going to inject with apple juice and sugar. Then we’ll coat them in a little honey. Then a little maple syrup. Then we’ll add in molasses.” You get the idea. Oh boy! I’m all for sweet, and I’m sure their recipes come out amazing, but I just couldn’t see myself cooking anything like that – especially not on a regular basis.

But I was inspired… and excited! So I had to get creative. And a simple no junk, no corn syrup, no refined sugar barbecue sauce was born.

So far, the reviews have been amazing. I used this sauce on beef short ribs and brought them to a barbecue Mama Soul was having at her house. People went back for seconds (probably would have been thirds, but I didn’t make enough). A few asked for the recipe. And one family friend, who I’ve been informed is the “Queen of Ribs”, gave them a thumbs up. After the barbecue, Mama Soul saved the extra sauce to used on the leftover chicken. She said it was fantastic. So, it looks like you can use this sauce on other meats besides short ribs and it will be delicious. Needless to say, I’m super excited about how this turned out.

Before I give you the BBQ Sauce Recipe, let me give you this one word of advice: the sauce does come out a bit on the spicy side. This is done on purpose. Once you use the sauce to coat the beef ribs (or, chicken as noted above) and then cook the meat, the sauce mixes with the fat cooked off the meat and it all mellows out. So the ribs will not be as spicy in the end. I know I always (like… always) second guess myself when I taste test the sauce before I put it on the meat. And then I use it anyway and it comes out perfect every time.

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe Photo Tutorial
(Printer friendly version below)


4 medium tomatoes
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 fuji apple
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tbsp coconut aminos
2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp honey

Step 1: Dice the tomatoes, onions, garlic and apple (leave the skin on the apple). Size of dice not important.

Step 2: Add all ingredients to a pot. Cover and simmer on medium/medium-low (depending on your stove) for about 30-40 minutes. You want it simmering, but not boiling, and not high enough to burn.

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe from domesticsoul.com

Step 3: After 30-40 minutes, all of the ingredients should be cooked and pretty well broken down. It should be starting to look sauce-like, but still a bit on the chunky side. At this point, turn the heat off, remove the bay leaf, and use your super amazing stick blender to blend the sauce. As you can see, it makes a wonderfully smooth, pourable sauce:

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe from domesticsoul.com

And that’s all there is to it! If you’re looking to make short ribs with this sauce, here are a few ways to do it:

Note: These suggestions are for about 7-10 large short ribs. When I made 18 ribs for the barbecue, I doubled the recipe.

  1. Put the short ribs in a dutch oven or large cooking pot. Top with sauce (use the entire recipe worth). Cover the pot and simmer on medium low for about 2 1/2 hours, or until the ribs are tender. If you’re using a thinner pot, check once in a while to make sure nothing is burning. I’ve found with thinner pots, the heat can sometimes get too hot in spots, especially if you’re using an old pot that may be warped. Just keep an eye on it and see if you have to adjust the temperature down.
  2. Put the short ribs in a crock pot. Top with sauce (use entire recipe worth). Cook on low for about 3 or 4 hours, or until ribs are tender. You really don’t want to go too long with these. I found that 6 hours was too much and all the meat fell off the bone.
  3. Put the short ribs in a roasting pan and coat with entire sauce recipe. Cover the pan and cook at 350°F/177°C for about 3 hours, or until tender.



  1. I made this last evening for turkey leftovers. Wonderful combination of flavors. I did not have coriander seed or paprika. I also add kalamata olives once the turkey was reheated.

  2. Assuming this would be good on pulled pork, right? Doing pulled pork in the crockpot and was looking for a healthier version bbq sauce.

    • I haven’t tried it on pulled pork yet (which, really, I need to get on that. I love pulled pork!), but I think it would be really good. I think it has just enough sweet and just enough spice to make a very tasty pulled pork. If you give it a shot, let us know how it turns out. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your dinner 🙂 -DS

  3. […] 5. Homemade BBQ Sauce Making your BBQ sauce at home is a fantastic idea. If you make a big enough batch of it, it even makes fiscal sense because you can make it for about the same cost as the mainstream stuff, but you’ll be getting a serious flavor upgrade for your time and effort. This recipe beckons you to put it on short ribs, and is making sure you’ll remember it by using plenty of spices and seasonings to get it right on. Try paprika, cayenne, and chili powder just to get things started. Honey is used for the sweetness, and apple cider vinegar for the tartness. […]

  4. Oi, had to leave a comment. I shared this on FB and Pinterest for the simple reason that it SOUNDED delish, and based on the rave reviews you received when you took it to your friend’s BBQ. I just returned to my posts and added notes that it truly is delicious. I was lucky to have all the ingredients on hand, including fresh roma tomatoes from my garden (I used 5 since they are smaller)….. good grief, I even had a Fuji apple I had just bought for eating so I diced that baby up and threw it in. I’m making some shredded chicken later tonight and this is going to taste divine on it. Thanks for sharing – it’s a winner and a keeper, for sure! 🙂

    • I’m so behind on replying to this (sorry about that), but thank you! I’m so glad you liked it. It totally makes my day when I hear people are enjoying these recipes 🙂


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