Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce

We’ve spent years testing Texas-style barbecue sauces, and this tomato-based version is our favorite by far. We keep the spices mild, but the depth of flavor is no less intense.–Matthew McCarry and Stacy Toth

LC A Sauce For Cowboys Note

Most cowboys we’ve known have been from Texas. They’ve also been men of few words. In keeping with this tradition, we see no need to blather on and on about how ridiculously smooth and earthy and complex this simple barbecue sauce is or how it can anoint all manner of meats and seafood, whether spare ribs or pulled pork or grilled chicken or salmon fillets or, well, ahem, you get the idea. Tasting is believing. And moms and dads, this sauce is blissfully slightly sweet without hardly any heat, and it’s been kid-approved time and again in our kitchens.

Texas Barbecue Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 1 H, 50 M
  • Serves 10 to 12


  • 1/4 cup lard
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup natural ketchup (rely on a sugar-free ketchup if you do that Paleo thing)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder


  • 1. In a saucepan, melt the lard over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and celery, and cook until softened. Add the ketchup, vinegar, water, Worcestershire, and black pepper, and continue to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • 2. In a small bowl, combine a few tablespoons sauce with the chili powder until smooth. Add this mixture to the rest of the sauce in the pan and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and let the sauce stand for 1 hour.
  • 3. Okay, that’s it. You’re done. The slightly chunky sauce is nice as is, but for a more traditional sauce, purée it in a blender or with an immersion blender. This sauce is best served warm or at room temperature, but it stores well refrigerated in an airtight container.
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