Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Spicy Apple Barbecue Sauce

Recipe from Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible Best Ribs Ever

This Missouri-style sauce is inspired by B.B.’s Lawnside in Kansas City. Apple juice makes it sweet and ground cloves and cinnamon make it spicy—think of it as a sort of liquid apple pie.


  • Yield: 2-1/2 cups
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  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons mild red pepper or chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper

Step 1: Place the ketchup, apple juice, molasses, cider vinegar, brown sugar, granulated sugar, red pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and celery seed in a large heavy nonreactive saucepan and gradually bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking to mix.

Step 2: Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer until thick and richly flavored, about 40 minutes, whisking it often. When it’s properly cooked down, you’ll have about 2-1/2 cups. Season the sauce with salt and black pepper to taste; it should be highly seasoned. The sauce can be refrigerated, covered, for several weeks. Let it return to room temperature before using.

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