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Texas BBQ Sauce

Beef Brisket is what comes to mind first when thinking of Texas Barbecue. Beef, not pork. Brisket is exactly what this Texas BBQ sauce is intended for. It has several interesting taste components that complement the beef. Not as thick as my Memphis Sauce since it starts with tomato sauce and different flavorings than my Alabama Red Sauce, it is perfect for beef.

Texas BBQ Brisket
Texas BBQ & Brisket

Note for the non-USA audience: the tomato sauce discussed here is canned cooked tomatoes generally salted. If starting with something labeled passata or pureed passata you will likely need to cook the tomatoes down a little extra.

This sauce is simple to make, in fact, the most difficult task is assembling the ingredients from the pantry. Other than that, it is a short simmer. One of the beauties of barbecue sauce is you can more easily personalize it by modifying any flavor you would like. Although it should be noted that the feeling often expressed is that perfectly grilled meat is the intended focus, not the sauce. Therefore, the sauce is usually not very spicy hot, and some even argue that the sauce is not needed at all. But, I am not willing to go that far.

Notes on the Ingredients

Significant Differences

Research Texas BBQ sauces and you will notice some ingredients that are not often found in other BBQ sauces. These differences often include a fat. This may be rendered fat while cooking, bacon grease, or most frequently and conveniently butter. Additionally, the commonly used apple cider vinegar is supplemented by lemon juice. This adds a nice bite to the finish.

Texas BBQ Sauce
Texas BBQ Sauce

Molasses vs. Blackstrap Molasses

Other regions generally use brown sugar to sweeten the sauce. Brown sugar is a combination of sugar and molasses. In Texas, it is straightforward they just use molasses. But predominately, the form is blackstrap molasses. A bit of explanation is in order. Molasses is made through a second boil of the sugarcane or beets, blackstrap is from the third boil. In this third boil, the sugar is burned meaning the resulting syrup is less sweet. Therefore, the blackstrap taste is a strong, pronounced flavor. While this is preferred by many, my opinion is it is a taste that seems to become more predominant with each bite. Therefore, I recommend Molasses in the recipe. Feel free to substitute blackstrap molasses if you prefer.

Notes on Equipment

Southern Barbecue requires slow cooking at a low temperature. The colloquial phrase is, “low and slow is best.” This is especially true with pork generally used in the Memphis barbecue. Therefore, a grill that will allow for the low and slow approach is required. With grill prices reaching the price of household appliances, this can be a problem. Personally, I have been very successful with the reasonably priced Char-griller AKRON Kamado grill. This works very well with the heat deflector accessory that helps with the modification of heat. Generally, you are shooting for about 225°F (approximately 110°C), and it can be hard to keep a fire that low, so the deflector really helps. Also, of note, sugar burns at about 300°F, so keeping the heat low allows you to add sauce while cooking if you like. I generally add it about 30 minutes before completing cooking.

Additionally, I have found the grill works efficiently for traditional grilling and as a wood fired pizza oven.

Char-Griller AKRON
Char-Griller AKRON
AKRON Deflector
AKRON Deflector

Notes on Technique

Approaches that are required sacraments of some barbecue artists are sacrileges to others. Sauce or not while on the grill, or not at all. Rubs, no rubs, etc. Therefore, I have left my analysis only to the sauces. However, if you want a guide to grilling, nothing comes close to Meathead Goldwyn’s book Meathead. This is a thorough guide to the practical lessons of grilling, as well as, the scientific reasons behind it. Get it, read it and develop your own techniques.

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Texas BBQ Sauce

Texas BBQ Sauce

Yield: 20 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Did someone mention brisket?


  • 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


    1. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan, over medium-low heat. Stir to combine and bring to a low simmer.
    2. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. It is ready to use or store in a refrigerator. If to store, transfer immediately to a sanitized glass container. The sauce should store well refrigerated for a few days.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 31Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 234mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 0g

Calculated Nutrition is estimated.

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