Marinades, Sauces, Rubs & Salsas

St. Louis Barbecue Sauce

BBQ Sauce

St. Louisians have been pouring a slight sweet, slightly tart, mildly spicy red sauce on barbecue since 1926. Invented by an itinerant grocer named Louis Maull, the classic sauce differs from most American barbecue sauces in that it contains no liquid smoke. If you live in St. Louis, you’d buy a bottle of Maull’s at your local supermarket (heck, you probably already have a bottle in your refrigerator). Being a made-from-scratch sort of guy, I created the following barbecue sauce modeled on Maull’s.

St. Louis Barbecue Sauce Recipe


St. Louis Barbecue Sauce

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Makes about 2 cups


  • 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
  • 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon thawed orange juice concentrate
  • 2 teaspoons A-1 Steak Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt (kosher or sea), or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Combine the tomato puree, vinegar, corn syrup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, lemon zest and juice, orange juice concentrate, steak sauce, soy sauce, Tabasco sauce, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and cloves in a large deep heavy nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually bring to a boil, whisking often.

Step 2: Reduce the heat to medium and let the sauce simmer until thick and richly flavored, 6 to 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or pepper as necessary.

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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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