A quick and simple Kansas City style barbecue sauce recipe you’ll want to slather on chicken, steak, pork…anything! Only 70 calories per 2 tablespoons!
Remember my grilling phase? It was the one I found myself engulfed in just before my “Felicity” phase (still in full swing, by the by), if that helps to jog your memory.
Well, it’s seen quite the resurgence since I got home from San Antonio—where I’d only days before scarfed a serious amount of seriously good barbecued pork. The only real trouble I’ve run into here at home with my grill is: it’s making me complacent.
I haven’t been too adventurous or creative with what I’ve chosen to char and for the most part, I’m just constantly rotating the same six or seven summery favorites: chicken, pork, steak, veggies, s’mores…
Solution for the moment? S’more s’mores.
But inevitably, the marshmallows or the grahams run out—never the chocolate—and I’ve been forced to turn boldly to homemade sauces.
First on my list: Kansas City-style barbecue sauce—so named because it follows in the tradition of Kansas City’s signature sweet, spicy, and tangy barbecue. Here, I’ve achieved the flavor and texture with a thick tomato base (ketchup), brown sugar, molasses—for richness and depth, vinegar—for welcomed tang, and chipotle chile in adobo—for an interesting dimension of spice and certainly for heat.
I don’t want to get all gushy here, because, well, ohmybarbecuuue, so how ’bout we just leave it at this: make it. Use it to baste chicken breasts while you’re grilling, then generously brush some more on top once they’ve developed a smoky caramelized crust on all sides. And just as you’re about to take your first bite, swish your forkful of chicken through the tiny pool of sauce that has formed on your plate. You will not regret it.
Simple Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups ketchup
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 chipotle chile in adobo finely chopped (sold in a can in the Latin foods section)
- Heat the oil in a sauce pan set over medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the ketchup and stir to incorporate. Add the molasses, brown sugar, vinegar, and chipotle chile. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until it has thickened slightly, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Allow the sauce to cool slightly, then transfer it to a blender and pulse until smooth. Brush it on grilled chicken, beef, pork, or use it as a sandwich spread or a dipping sauce. The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.