Marinades, Sauces, Rubs & Salsas

Dr Pepper Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauces flavored with soda are a great American tradition. This one features the granddaddy of American soft drinks—Dr Pepper—which was invented in 1885, a year before Coke. The setting was Waco, Texas, then, also known as Six Shooter Junction. The place was Wade Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store, where a pharmacist named Charles Alderton combined spices, sweeteners, and carbonated water to come up with this uniquely American beverage.

As for the name, it was Wade Morrison’s attempt to woo a Virginia girl he was courting (her father was Dr. Charles Pepper). His sweet, tart, aromatic soda possesses just the flavor profile you want in a barbecue sauce.

Serve this with Foolproof Barbecued Chicken.


Other Great Barbecue Sauce Recipes:


Dr Pepper Barbecue Sauce

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Makes about 2 cups


  • 1 large juicy lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and lightly crushed with the side of a cleaver
  • 1 thin (1/4-inch) slice onion
  • 1 cup Dr Pepper
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons A.1. steak sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar,or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea)

Recipe Steps

1: Cut the lemon in half cross wise and cut a 1/4-inch slice off of one half. Remove any seeds in this slice. Juice the remaining lemon: You should have 2 to 3 tablespoons juice.

2: Place the lemon slice, 2 table spoons of the lemon juice, and the garlic, onion slice, Dr Pepper, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, liquid smoke, and pepper in a heavy nonreactive saucepan and gradually bring to a boil over medium heat.

3: Reduce the heat slightly to maintain a gentle simmer. Let the sauce simmer gently until thick and richly flavored, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice, hot sauce, and/or vinegar as necessary and seasoning with salt to taste, if desired.

4: Strain the sauce into a bowl (or clean glass jars) and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, until serving. The sauce will keep for several months in the refrigerator.

5: Bring to room temperature before serving.

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Steven Raichlen, a national barbecue treasure and author of The Barbecue! Bible, How to Grill, and other books in the …

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