Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce

Easy sauce to pull together that is great for Ribs, Beef & Chicken.  I have tried a number of different recipes over the years and could never find one I liked.  They were either too vinegary or too running.

What I discovered is that I liked the ones with the Molasses the best! It likely had something to do with molasses bringing me back to my childhood when my grandparents would let me cut a slice of the bread that had just came out of the oven.  The butter would melt with the heat and then it was dipped in a pool of molasses I had poured on my plate! Yum!

In this sauce the molasses & brown sugar gives it a wonderful dark colour and a rich flavour while they cayenne & chilli flakes give it a touch of heat.

Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce


  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Chopped White Onion
  • 2-3 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 2 Cups Ketchup
  • ½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 14 oz Can Tomato Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 3/4 Cup Molasses
  • ½ Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Dried Chilli Pepper Flakes
  • ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon Cayenne
  • 1 Teaspoon Liquid Smoke (You can skip this but it is better with it. It can be found in most major grocery stores. It comes in a bottle about the size of a typical hot sauce)


  1. Preheat a medium sauce pan (e.g. 3L) over medium heat & add oil
  2. Sautee the onions til translucent – 4-5 mins. Stirring to prevent browning – you want them soft and clear not caramelized.  Once onions are soft – add Garlic continue cooking for 1 additional minute. 
  3. Add Ketchup, Apple Cider Vinegar, Tomato Sauce, Tomato Paste              stirring until the mixture comes to a simmer.  If it starts to bubble – reduce heat slightly.  Simmer for 5-6 mins uncovered.  Stirring often. 
  4. Add remaining ingredients – stirring well to ensure that all ingredients are dissolved. Bring mixture back to a simmer (not boiling).     
  5. At this point you want to blend the sauce to ensure a nice smooth consistency.  I use a handheld immersion blender in the pan.  Working carefully to remove any chunks from the hot sauce.  Work carefully as hot sauce will hurt if you get it on your hand and will also make a mess on your stove if you are not careful. 
    You could also use a regular blender – transfer the hot sauce – pulsing it in the blender until smooth – then return to the sauce pan.
  6. Once smooth – cover and allow sauce to simmer 20 mins.  This will allow the flavours to blend.
  7. Store in mason jars in the refrigerator.  Will keep for several weeks. 
  8. Cool before using.

5 thoughts on “Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce

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