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  • David Skarin

Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

Kansas City style BBQ sauce very well be the most popular style out there. Growing up on the west coast, this is what I grew up seeing in the grocery stores and was the primary dipping sauces of fast-food chains. When you order chicken nuggets and ask for a side of BBQ sauce, you can bet it’ll be based off the Kansas City style of BBQ sauce. I’m sure it’s out there somewhere but I’ve never ordered a side of BBQ sauce and gotten a vinegary Carolina style or an Alabama White sauce.

For this reason, Kansas City’s thick, sweet and tangy sauces dominates the market when it comes to traditional barbecue. Using ketchup and molasses as the base gives it a sweeter and heavier consistency we are so accustomed to.

All that said, this recipe for Kansas City BBQ sauce has been fine tuned to one that I’m sure you’ll love! It also allows for a bit of customization as you can add more sugar to sweeten it up or more red pepper (or cayenne) to spice it up. This goes great with ribs, chicken, and more!


Fast Facts

Category: Sauces

Grill: Stovetop

Heat Source: Gas

Prep Time: 3-5 Minutes

Estimated Cook Time: 20-25 Minutes

Actual Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Total Time: 30 Minutes


Ingredient List

  • 1 cup organic ketchup (I prefer organic ketchup as there no high fructose corn syrup which increases the chances of burning on the smoker/grill)

  • 14 oz can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes (you can use regular crushed tomatoes but I enjoy the flavor profile of fire roasted)

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (either light or dark brown sugar works)

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar with mother

  • ½ cup molasses

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika

  • 1 tablespoon fine salt

  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes (this registers very little heat, add more if you want a kick. You can also substitute cayenne pepper)

  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard

Supply List



Step 1: Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until desired consistency. Goal is really to blend the tomatoes and mix the ingredients.

Step 2: Add all ingredients to sauce pot, heat to medium, stirring regularly, and bring to a boil.

Step 3: Reduce heat to a simmer, stirring regularly until thickened and reduced to desired consistency. This should take about 20-25 minutes.

Step 3: Store in an airtight container and it should last 10-14 days.


Lessons Learned (Note: I will add additional lessons learned from our community members through comments on the site or social media)


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