Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Sauce

Bobby Flay’s barbecue sauce recipe is simply the best—an artful balance of sweet, spicy, and smoky. Perfect slathered on ribs, pork, burgers, or chicken.

Bobby Flay's barbecue sauce being poured from a pot into a white bowl.

I once went to a rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and this burger is one thing I took away from the experience—it just seems like the perfect rodeo fare. So, what’s inside? Crisp bacon, crunchy shoestring onion rings, layers of smoked cheddar cheese and, of course, my signature barbecue sauce.–Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Sauce

Bobby Flay's barbecue sauce being poured from a pot into a white bowl.
I created this barbecue sauce to top the Wyoming burger, but it's also an ideal dipping sauce for French fries. After you've made this quick and easy sauce once, you'll want to slather it on grilled chicken, steak, pork chops…you might never go back to the bottled stuff.

Prep 20 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 1 hr
32 servings | 2 cups
26 kcal
4.77 / 13 votes
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  • 2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
  • 1 smallish onion coarsely chopped (preferably a Spanish or other sweet onion)
  • 3 small cloves garlic coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or substitute sherry vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 canned chipotle in adobo chopped (note that this is 1 chipotle pepper from a can of peppers, not 1 can of chipotle peppers)
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon sweet Spanish paprika (pimentón)
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until warm and shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the ketchup and water and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chipotle chile, ancho chile powder, paprika, brown sugar, honey, and molasses to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes.
  • Scrape the barbecue sauce into a food processor or blender and purée until either smooth or the desired consistency. The sauce will be quite, quite thick. Let cool to room temperature. Taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly. You can start dousing and dolloping right away, although if you wait overnight you'll be rewarded with a more complex taste with even more depth. (You can cover and refrigerate the sauce for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Print RecipeBuy the Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Shakes cookbook

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoonCalories: 26kcal (1%)Carbohydrates: 4g (1%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 88mg (4%)Potassium: 52mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 3g (3%)Vitamin A: 295IU (6%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 6mg (1%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Finally! A barbecue sauce recipe that doesn’t make an obscene amount and takes under an hour to make. I feel like I’ve found condiment nirvana. I was really worried that the chipotle pepper was going to overpower this sauce, but it lends heat and smoke balanced with sweetness.

This is a good barbecue sauce. I guess we shouldn’t expect anything less from Bobby Flay. While it’s fabulously delicious to use right away, a day’s stay in the fridge makes it even better.

This recipe for Bobby Flay's barbecue sauce is simple, straightforward, and made my barbecue-loving husband dance with joy. It hits every taste bud—sparking sweet, salty, spicy, tangy and smoky responses that linger long after sampled. And it’s thick…this isn’t a drip-off-your-burger sauce, it’s a stand-up-and-shout sauce.

I used a yellow onion as I can’t find Spanish onions where I live. I also didn't have sweet Spanish paprika (again, due to location handicap) so I used regular, run-of-the-mill paprika. If I make it again, I’ll make sure to order some better paprika. Otherwise, I followed the directions precisely.

Originally published June 13, 2012



  1. 5 stars
    I could drink this sauce, it was just that good! We used it on a pork roast that we smoked and then finished up on a slow grill. Takes nothing to make and it’s gone before you know it. Making a batch today to go on some bbq ribs

    1. Thanks for taking the time to let us know, Sophie! Your pork roast sounds amazing. Do let us know how the ribs turn out.

  2. 5 stars
    This is one of the best I’ve ever tasted! It’s simple and easy to follow! After refrigerated for a day the Smokey, sweet, spicy, depth of flavor blew me away. Incredible! We put it on a 12 hour bbq brisket and my family ate every bite and begged me for the recipe!! I love it so much!

  3. 5 stars
    I used this recipe to make over 3 gallons of sauce to go with pulled pork for 300 people. It’s great scaled up, too. Only thing is adding a little extra vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar) when making a large batch. 10/10

  4. 5 stars
    This is a fantastic barbecue sauce! I’ve made this several times, always with rave reviews from my guests. This recipe is fairly simple, and yields a good amount of sauce which delivers on a bold, rich, sweet, and sticky flavor that just does not compare to anything store bought. It is worth the extra effort to throw this together. I used an immersion blender to blend the ingredients. Most recently, I served this with chicken hot off the grill, and alongside coffee rubbed grilled tri tip made for a high school graduation party. The teens and adults all loved it!

    1. Excellent suggestions for using this versatile barbecue sauce, Dawn. It never ceases to amaze me how adding something as simple as homemade barbecue sauce will completely elevate a dish.

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