BBQ Sauce - Cloning a Commercial Product


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
You could certainly roast them but if you have a grill I think the better option would be to, at least, grill the onions, red peppers and jalapenos.  You'll get some smokiness from the grill, and including a bit of char from the onions will add some flavor and just a bit of bitterness to your sauce.  For the peppers, grill them until the skin is blistered and charred all over then throw in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow them to steam a bit.  You can then easily remove the skins. 
Joined Aug 21, 2004
I like to lightly semi-cold smoke the mirepoix (vegies,peppers, garlic, whatever etc). Then chop them up and saute to a dark brown, to caramelize the natural sugars. to start my sauce. That way I get a good start on smokiness and sweetness to my sauce.
Joined Oct 23, 2008
Something I recently learned about the professional / competitive BBQ circuit that is relevant here; the ingredient list you posted included a "flavor enhancer" - this is most likely MSG. I have learned that MSG is an incredibly potent thing to add for dry rubs.. and I assume BBQ sauce (many chefs use their dry rub as a basis for their BBQ sauce as well).

It seriously should not be underestimated. It can make the difference between a sauce/rub tasting good and someone going.. "holy cow! how did you make that so flavorful?" I've only recently started incorporating it into my dry rubs and a little bit makes a big difference in side by side tasting I have done.
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
I don't know about that eastshores eastshores . That's an ingredient I can live without. It's controversial and probably not villainous but I can do without. Besides, my mil puts msg on her roasts and they still taste like nothing.
Joined Oct 23, 2008
It's controversial and probably not villainous but I can do without.
It's only controversial because a single physician wrote an unfounded op-ed on MSG being the reason people felt sick after eating at Chinese restaurants and that became household legend. Sure, there are some people who may have a reaction to msg, just as some people have a seafood allergy. MSG is naturally occurring in many foods, cheese, tomatoes, and seaweed for instance. Still - there will be people who identify as being sensitive to msg, just as there is a large group of non-celiacs that believe that gluten is harmful to them. Here's what the FDA says about it:

Is MSG safe to eat?

FDA considers the addition of MSG to foods to be “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). Although many people identify themselves as sensitive to MSG, in studies with such individuals given MSG or a placebo, scientists have not been able to consistently trigger reactions.
Regardless everyone has the right to choose what they like to consume. I just wanted to add both the knowledge of its use in competitive BBQ and my experience in performing side by side comparisons.
Joined Mar 21, 2008
Spice pack appears throughout that list. That is where I would start. I am guessing it is the rub they put on the meat used to make the BBQ sauce(a pretty common thing). So start with those ingredients, they are listed in order of amount in the spice pack. Once you have that then work on the base for the sauce.
Joined Jul 13, 2017
I am also depesperately looking for this sauce, i am South African and it would be great if someone figured it out,
here is the where its sold online link
and here
I was searching online for it and found this, guess i am not the only one who saw how expensive these South African resturants are due to a secret sauce.
here at tesco
Joined Aug 26, 2016
yes, i am cautious about the wood i use. same with charcoal, I use hardwood lump. all different size pieces, takes a little longer to start, but pure wood. briquettes are powdered charcoal and 25 to 50% other stuff, especially the match lite kind.

and Yes i know that meat fat dripping onto hot coals makes smoke that may contain carcinogen, but the flavor it gives.

All seriousness aside, if I removed everything from my diet that might contain something potentially dangerous to my health, I would quickly die from thirst (our well is below an old tobacco farm).

LoL...somebody actualy told you not to use treated wood. Don't ask me why...I just find that funny.

Anyway...'ol barbecue guy from ENC here as well. You're cooking your stuff right...I know that just from the few things you've said. I don't use any fruit wood, but really just because I didn't grow up with that. The old men around home usually threw oak, pecan, and hickory in their burn barrels. I try to stay with oak and pecan. Most any oak will do...I even use live oak...but red tends to be the best. But...BUT...pecan is my go-to. Slightly more flavorful than the oaks, but not as overbearing as I find hickory. Pecan...yep...that's my style.

As to the OP...I think we should hook him up with a gallon of John Boy & Billy's Grillin' Sauce. It sounds like what he's looking for...and it's a bit more "local" than the South African stuff.
Joined Dec 19, 2014

You actually eat this? People actually eat this???

Irradiated Spices & Herbs
Brown Sugar
Brown Sugar (again)
White Sugar
White Sugar (again)
Sucrose (again)
Corn Syrup Solids
Sodium Benzoate
Sodium Benzoate (again)
Sodium Benzoate (yet again)
Potassium Sorbate
Potassium Sorbate (again)
Chemically Modified Starch
Modified Starch
Colourant (again)
Antioxidant TBHQ

Do you have any friggin' clue how bad that is for your body? Sorry, I don't like to judge, but that is exactly what nature has NOT intended us to eat.

Ok, back to our regularly scheduled programming....
Joined Apr 14, 2020
I have recently bought a grill. I am thinking about mastering my barbecues skills. Even though a good - looking grill is surely great I think that, in the end it's the taste of the meat that matters most. I am now looking for a perfect sauce that will become my signature. Whenever my friends come to visit us I would make the best barbecue they have ever tasted. Yeap, this is what self-isolation does to you :). I wish you all to stay safe and healthy in order to be able to enjoy a nice bbq in the evening on the back porch.
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Joined Nov 5, 2007
Here's my basic BBQ sauce foundation.

Saute 3/4 cup of onion and 2 or more cloves of garlic in oil of your choice. Pour off the oil (or not) and add these ingredients -

3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup vinegar (I used Apple cider vinegar)
3 T molasses
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t black pepper
1 t ground cumin
1 t chili powder

Give it a good stir, and let it simmer, if needed, to get the consistency you want.

That last ingredient, the chili powder, is completely at your discretion, depending on how you like it. It could be the plain, mild commodity stuff from the Mega Mart, it could be ground cayenne grown in your own garden. It could be a blend of homegrown, ground ghost peppers with smoked paprika added, or include some ground chipotles.

Basically start with store bought ketchup and dress it up the way you want. I will recommend you use good, quality ketchup and avoid the high fructose corn syrup types.

Joined Jun 19, 2020
Its nice smoking the onions and pureeing them into the sauce, also adding some Gochujang for some heat is a nice touch.
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