I am always on the look out for new sauce recipes.  This past weekend I dusted off the smoker and made some pulled pork.  Dana’s family was in town and her Dad said he was a fan of Memphis style sauces.  So I went around the interwebs and found this one.  It was quick and easy to make and I had all of the ingredients.  BTW- When you start barbecuing regularly your pantry starts to run wild.  You start finding yourself stocking 30 different types of vinegar, every spice known to man and a few cases of apple juice (great for basting).  I have also started to buy Mason Jars in bulk.  Who knew.  Back to the sauce, it is sweet, tangy and full of flavor.  Not to mention, it is super simple to make.  It has all powdered spices so no need to blend molten hot sauce.  Basically this is a super tasty and easy sauce to make.

Memphis Style Sauce

This sauce goes great on a pulled pork sandwich, slathered over some ribs or even as the secret ingredient for bbq baked beans.

Sweet and Tangy Memphis Style BBQ Sauce – (From Divine Dinner Party)

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbs liquid smoke
  • 1 tbs onion powder
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tbs ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Combine all of the ingredients into a non-reactive sauce pan.  Whisk together so that there are no lumps.

IngredientsAll Mixed Up

Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for 25-30 minutes.  Stir occasionally, making sure to keep the cover on the pan.  Since the sauce is so thick, when it bubbles, it shoot all over the place.  I had a glob of molten hot sauce land on my arm and it is still hurting five days later.   So once again, make sure to have a cover handy.

Memphis Style BBQ Sauce

Serve the sauce or let it cool and store in an airtight container.

This sauce is sweet, tangy with a little bit of heat.  You can turn down the heat a bit by cutting the black pepper in half and either adding less red pepper flake or removing it all together.

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.


  1. I haven’t tried a Memphis style sauce for pulled pork yet, I’ll have to file this one to try. I like the idea of using it in beans, sweet! (and tangy!)

    Have you tried those 1/4 sized Mason jars for storing your dry spices? They are stackable and don’t take up much space.

  2. Mmm… I’m with Chris. I too haven’t tried Memphis Style on pork yet. Tho I do love it.

    This is going in my “to-try” list.

    Thanks Rex for the recipe.


  3. Just what I was looking for. I had a spicy sweat Memphis sauce at Zimmeraman's in Ann Arbor last week. They call it Red Rage but don't sell it by the bottle. This looks like it should be similar. It's time for some pork…

    • Dan, This sauce is super tasty. You can adjust the heat by adding more red pepper flakes, but it has a nice little kick right now. Enough to let you know that there is some spice in there. Definitely time for pork.

  4. wow this is an awesome sauce. really kicks up our Memphis style pulled pork done with a dry rub. #face_mouth_watering! Thanks!

    • Glad you like it Michael. It is one of my go to sauces. It is fabulous on any meat. You should try it on some hot wings.

  5. I’m a culinary student. I used this recipe in a BBQ meatball dish I did for an appetizer in the school’s restaurant. Everyone loved it. Thanks so much!

  6. Most people in the area use Wickers Sauce. My favorite is Wickers Thicker, but you need to marinate your meat in Wickers Original and use the Thicker as a finishing sauce. You can get it online. Try the sampler box.

  7. This is the best homemade BBQ sauce! I make it almost every month. I would like to know how long it will be good if we keep in the fridge or freezer?

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