This is the best barbeque sauce recipe I’ve ever made. It’s sweet and tangy, with a hint of smokiness and it takes only 15 minutes to make. Poured over a dish of spaghetti and meatballs it makes a quick and easy family supper. I can guarantee that if you try this homemade barbeque sauce, you’ll never buy the store-bought version again.
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Homemade barbeque sauce
There’s something about the thought of barbeque sauce that sends the tastebuds into overdrive. I don’t know whether it’s the sweet yet tangy taste or the hint of smokiness that is so characteristic of this sauce, but whatever it is, it certainly gets my tastebuds working.
I think you’ll love it.
You can use this bbq sauce in so many ways:
- As a marinade for anything you want to grill on the barbeque – steak, chicken or pork spare ribs;
- As a dipping sauce for french fries or crispy fried onions;
- Use it in place of ketchup for fries, sausages or burgers;
- Slathered over a pulled pork slider;
- Pour it over crispy chicken wings;
- Mix with mayonnaise for a tangy dip for your potato crisps or crispbreads;
- Mix a few spoonfuls of barbeque sauce with a can of baked beans for instant BBQ bean salad;
- And of course, as I’ve done here, use it as a sauce to pour over a plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
This barbeque sauce takes only a few minutes to make. All you have to do is combine all the ingredients in a saucepan, then just leave it to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened to your liking.
I like to leave the sauce to simmer on the stove until it has reduced by about one-third. I find this gives the perfect consistency – pourable, but thick enough to coat whatever it is that you are pouring it over.
The recipe for barbeque sauce that I’m sharing today makes approximately one cup of sauce. If you want to make a larger batch you can simply double the ingredients.
Of course, you don’t have to make the meatballs – the barbeque sauce can be used in so many ways. But these meatballs have such a great flavour that goes perfectly with the barbeque sauce that I decided to include them as a bonus recipe for you.
These meatballs have a light texture, thanks to the addition of Panko breadcrumbs rather than bread soaked in milk. And I’ve used a blend of Indian spices for flavouring, which gives the meatballs a slight curry flavour which pairs beautifully with the smokey flavours of the barbeque sauce.
I like to arrange the meatballs on a bed of linguine and pour the barbeque sauce over the top, but there’s absolutely nothing to stop you from serving them on a bed of white rice or even fluffy mashed potatoes.
And however you choose to serve them, a dish of fresh green salad is all you will need by way of accompaniment.
What you will need
To make the barbeque sauce you will only need a saucepan.
For the meatballs you will need a mixing bowl and large frying pan (with a lid). I like both these items – the mixing bowls because they have lids which makes them easy to cover, and the frying pan because it doesn’t have a metal handle so there’s less chance of burning yourself.
You will also need a box (or cheese) grater for grating the onions.
This recipe will serve 2 to 3 people as a main meal. To make a larger batch, simply double the ingredients.
**You can get the full list of ingredients and complete instructions for making both the barbeque sauce and the meatballs on the printable recipe card at the end of this post**
For the meatballs
Mince – I like to use a mixture of half pork and half beef mince for the meatballs but you could use all beef if you prefer. Try to get mince with a low fat content so that the meatballs don’t shrink too much when you fry them.
Onions – this should be grated on the largest holes of a box grater.
Panko breadcrumbs – these are used to help bind the meatballs and stop them falling apart. If you can’t get panko you can substitute with a slice of bread soaked in milk and then squeezed out, but I would recommend the panko as they give a lovely light texture. I’ve included a link to the brand that I buy on Amazon.
Egg – also used for binding
Spices – the spices are a mixture of ground coriander, ground cumin and garam masala, with the addition of a small amount of cayenne pepper for heat. If you don’t have these spices in your kitchen you can substitute them with the equivalent amount of mild, medium or hot curry powder, depending on your heat preference.
Salt – for seasoning. I always think that meatballs without any salt taste quite bland, but it’s up to you whether you add any or not.
For the barbeque sauce
Passata – this is pureed tomatoes that have been sieved to remove any seeds and bits of skin. It’s normally sold in bottles or cartons in any supermarket, alongside canned tomatoes. If you can’t get passata, you can substitute it with tomato ketchup.
Fruit chutney – I use mango chutney, but you can use any fruity chutney.
Brown sugar – for sweetness
Vinegar – provides the tanginess
Worcestershire sauce – for the saltiness
Paprika – to add a touch of smokiness
Water – not too much, a quarter of a cup is plenty.
What to do
Place all the ingredients for the barbeque sauce into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Reduce the heat to a strong simmer and leave the pan on the heat (uncovered) for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened. The actual time will vary depending on how quickly the liquid evapourates.
The sauce should coat the spoon, but still have a pourable consistency. It will thicken further as it cools.
If you find the barbeque sauce does not thicken sufficiently, you can thicken it by stirring in a slurry made with one heaped teaspoon of cornflour (cornstarch) and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir this mixture slowly into the sauce, over a low heat, until the sauce thickens to your liking. You may not need all the cornflour.
While the sauce is simmering, you can mix the meatballs.
Place all the ingredients (except the oil) into a mixing bowl.
Mix thoroughly until all the ingredients have been combined. Ensure the spices are well distributed throughout the mince.
Form the meat into golfball-sized balls. I used 250 grams of mince and made 9 meatballs.
Heat 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a frying pan and arrange the meatballs in a single layer.
Fry gently until the meatballs are nicely browned on all sides.
This will take between 3 and 5 minutes per side.
Once the meatballs are cooked, remove them from the pan and let them drain on a piece of paper towel.
Tip – I turn the heat down and cover the frying pan with a lid until the meatballs are ready to be turned. The lid keeps the heat in the pan and helps the meatballs to cook through.
Test that the meatballs are cooked by cutting one in half – there should be no pink showing.
Serve the meatballs on a bed of spaghetti or linguine and pour the barbeque sauce over the top.
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You can store the barbeque sauce in the refrigerator in a mason jar, or another jar with a tightly fitting lid, for up to 2 weeks.
I wouldn’t store the raw meatballs for more than one day before cooking them. Arrange them on a plate and cover with plastic wrap, or store them in a plastic container.
Cooked meatballs can safely be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat them in the microwave and consume them immediately. Discard any meatballs that have been reheated and not eaten.
Can I freeze barbeque sauce?
Yes, you can freeze this sauce for up to 3 months. Defrost it in the refrigerator and reheat in a saucepan on the stove.
The meatballs can be frozen either raw or after they have been cooked.
Arrange the meatballs on a baking tray and put them into the freezer for a few hours until they are solid then transfer them to a freezer bag. Freezing them in this way ensures the meatballs stay separate when frozen and you will be able to remove as many as you want when you are ready to et them.
Raw meatballs can be fried from frozen. Keep the heat low and add another minute or two onto the cooking time.
Pre-cooked meatballs can be reheated in the microwave.
Save for later
If you would like to make this barbeque sauce (either with or without the meatballs), why not save the recipe to one of your Pinterest boards. Just click on the image below.
Alternatively, you can save the recipe by clicking on the floating heart icon on the right-hand side of the page.
If you enjoyed this recipe you may like to see some of my other sauce recipes:
- Crispy fish fingers with homemade tartare sauce
- Crispy air-fryer chicken wings with blue cheese sauce
- Jack Daniels dipping sauce
- Crispy roast duck with cherry sauce
- Hunter’s sauce
- Cheesy honey mustard sauce
Best barbeque sauce (served with meatballs)
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- ½ cup /120 ml passata
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- ¼ cup / 50 grams brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons fruit chutney
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ cup / 120 ml cold water
- 8 ounces / 250 grams beef mince or a mixture of beef and pork
- 1 large egg
- 1 medium onion (coarsely grated)
- ½ cup / 35 grams Panko breadcrums
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to your own taste
- ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (optional)
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- Place all the ingredients for the barbeque sauce into a saucepan.½ cup /120 ml passata, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, ¼ cup / 50 grams brown sugar, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons fruit chutney, 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ cup / 120 ml cold water
- Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Reduce the heat to a strong simmer and leave the pan on the heat (uncovered) for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened. The actual time will vary depending on how quickly the liquid evapourates.
- The sauce should coat the spoon, but still have a pourable consistency. It will thicken further as it cools.
- Optional – you can thicken the sauce with a mixture of 1 teaspoon of cornflour (cornstarch) and 1 tablespoon of water. Stir to remove any lumps, then drizzle the mixture into the sauce, stirring continuously. You may not need all the cornflour mixture
- Place all the ingredients for the meatballs (except the oil) into a mixing bowl.8 ounces / 250 grams beef mince, 1 large egg, 1 medium onion (coarsely grated), ½ cup / 35 grams Panko breadcrums, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon garam masala, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon salt (optional), ¼ teaspoon black pepper (optional)
- Mix thoroughly until all the ingredients have been combined. Ensure the spices are well distributed throughout the mince.
- Form the meat into golfball-sized balls. 250 grams of mince will make 9 meatballs.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a frying pan and arrange the meatballs in a single layer.2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- Fry gently until the meatballs are nicely browned on all sides. This will take between 3 and 5 minutes per side.
- Once the meatballs are cooked, remove them from the pan and let them drain on a piece of paper towel.
- Serve the meatballs on a bed of spaghetti or linguine and pour the barbeque sauce over the top.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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