I've been trying to refine my BBQ sauce lately and I'm really curious if I can improve it, or if I'm mixing a sauce for a wrong purpose. The times I've made it, it have been used as a marinade for steaks, and a spread on the steaks while they've been on the grill, though if found the base of it as a ribglaze.

So far I have:

  • A dash of Jack Daniels
  • 2 cups of ketchup
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of cider winegar
  • A dash of orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons of Worcesthershire sauce
  • 3 clovers of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard

Am I using it "wrong" (debateble since you can't tell what's right and wrong anyway)...should I look more at a non-galizing sauce for a steak instead?

  • there is a lack of spice, as almost everybody else suggested, and you may also want some pepper and chili...
    – bubu
    Jul 10, 2010 at 13:27
  • Just found this searching through closed questions. Not sure that this is really a good candidate for closing. The title needs to be juggled, but it can be massaged into a recipe improvement question.
    – hobodave
    Jul 28, 2010 at 2:58
  • I changed the title to reflect the body of the question. I think this got closed by some early day anti-recipe zeal. I think this is a great example of a well asked, on-topic recipe-based question.
    – hobodave
    Jul 29, 2010 at 21:12
  • I voted to reopen. Looks good to me.
    – Aaronut
    Jul 29, 2010 at 22:52
  • Also voted to reopen. However, I would like to see the OP ask a more specific question about what is wrong--is the consistency wrong, the flavour, is it cooking strangely, does it burn on the grill, etc etc.
    – daniel
    Jul 30, 2010 at 5:10

3 Answers 3


I use a similar recipe, unfortunately I don't remember the original source, but I've changed over time anyway.

Things I don't use that you have in your recipe:

  • Sugar
  • Jack Daniels
  • Cider Vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • mustard

Things I do use:

  • Lots of fresh ground spices. Typically 4 or 5 cloves, teaspoon of cumin seeds, tablespoon of fennel seeds, black pepper and salt.
  • Fresh herbs, including Rosemary, Bay and thyme
  • Balsamic vinegar - about half a bottle of inexpensive stuff
  • Orange zest - zest of one whole orange
  • Smoked Paprika - about 4 heaped teaspoons
  • Olive oil - about 4 tablespoons

grind-up the spices and place in the marinade tray. medium fine chop the fresh herbs (leave the fresh bay leaves whole) with the orange zest and a whole bulb of garlic, then add to the spice mixture. To that add juice from an orange, the Balsamic, followed by the ketchup and olive oil. Mix well.

Score the meat well and add to the marinade tray. rub the marinade mixture into all the scores so that the meat is well penetrated.

Cover the tray with foil and cook in an oven for about an hour (depends on the meat and the amount) once it's out of the oven it can be placed on the barby.

  • Last editon of the sauce was made with paprika and cayenne pepper, and the other people at the BBQ have been poking me for a recipe...more expiriments to come :D
    – cyberzed
    Aug 3, 2010 at 11:49
  • So he removes half the ingredients in this recipe and calls that improving it. That's not an improvement. It's a new recipe.
    – Rob
    Aug 24, 2019 at 11:02

I've only made a couple of bbq sauces, but they've always come out really well. I'd suggest you should add some spices to your recipe (or just add a bbq rub).

  • paprika
  • black pepper
  • coarse salt
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • cayenne pepper

Another good ingredient is liquid smoke as it gives it a nice smokey flavor.


I think the basic foundation of your sauce is quite good. If it didn't come out the way you wanted it to come out, maybe the amounts of things you used were imbalanced. Personally, I wouldn't mind making your sauce and seeing how it works. But I'll see if I can "improve" your sauce by maybe mentioning a few add-ins. I'll put the stuff of your stuff included in this idea of your sauce with my additions.

A dash of Jack Daniels (1/2 cup of any whiskey, whether it be Jack Daniels or Evan Williams, etc.) 2 cups of ketchup (French's ketchup is what I would go with but really any ketchup is fine) 1/2 cup of brown sugar (personally I would use dark brown sugar because the light brown sugar isn't quite as successful in some sauces I've done) 1 cup of cider winegar (maybe you could try white vinegar instead to bring out more of a tang) A dash of orange juice (try one cup of apple juice instead) 2 teaspoons of Worcesthershire sauce 3 clovers of garlic 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard 1/2 cup grape jelly 1/3 cup brewed coffee (get a cup of coffee to go at your local cafe but don't add cream or sugar, go home and add 1/3 cup of the coffee in the sauce) 1 tablespoon curry powder 1/4 cup cocktail sauce

This is from my memory of using these other ingredients. I don't know if it will work for you but it's what I would suggest if you want to tweak your sauce a bit.

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