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 Recipe

Allow us to tell you about Bobby Flay’s barbecue sauce for a moment. You’re going to want to stop your multitasking and pay attention for this. It’s an ever so sweetly, spicy, tangy, smoky, sigh-inducingly lovely sauce that wooed us from the very first spoonful. And the second. And the third. It has a perfect balance of flavors and a thick, cling-to-your-ribs (or-burgers-or-chops-or-wings-or-whatever) quality that you’ll want to slather on just about everything, even your morning eggs. You may never have another meal without it. Say bye bye to bottled barbecue sauce. This recipe has been updated. Originally published June 13, 2012.Bobby Flay

How To Make A Burger Like Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay’s barbecue sauce was created for his Cheyenne burger, which he says was inspired by a rodeo he once attended in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The burger is smothered with smoked Cheddar, this barbecue sauce, and heaps of crisp fried onions, and according to Flay, it would bring out the cowboy in anyone.

Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 1 H
  • Makes about 2 cups


  • 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 en 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


  • 1. 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.
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. 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.)
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