Saddle Up for Deliciousness: Cowgirl BBQ Sauce Recipe

Welcome to the world of BBQ and grilling, where pitmasters are masters of meat and sauce. Today, I’ll be introducing you to a recipe for Cowgirl BBQ Sauce that will elevate your grilling game and have your guests begging for more.

There’s nothing like a good BBQ sauce to add flavor and richness to your grilled meats. And this recipe for Cowgirl BBQ Sauce is the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and smoky flavors. It combines molasses, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, liquid smoke flavoring, kosher salt, black pepper, chili powder, ground cumin, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, water, ketchup, celery ribs, yellow onion, and more to create a sauce that is sure to impress.

Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a novice griller looking to up your game, this Cowgirl BBQ Sauce recipe is perfect for you. It’s easy to make, versatile enough to use with any grilled meat, and has a flavor that will transport you right into the heart of cowboy country.

So let’s fire up the grill and get ready to make some delicious barbecue with this Cowgirl BBQ Sauce recipe. You won’t regret it.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Cowgirl BBQ Sauce
Cowgirl BBQ Sauce

Are you tired of bland and mediocre BBQ sauces that never seem to hit the spot? Well, look no further than the Cowgirl BBQ Sauce recipe. This sauce is a perfect blend of sweet and tangy with just the right amount of heat to give your taste buds a kick. It’s an ideal complement to any meat, whether it’s ribs, chicken, or pulled pork.

What makes this recipe truly special is its unique combination of ingredients. From the rich molasses to the zesty Dijon mustard, each ingredient is carefully selected to ensure maximum flavor. And with a touch of liquid smoke flavoring added, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a cowboy country cookout.

But don’t just take my word for it – this sauce has won over countless taste testers and is the preferred choice of many barbecue enthusiasts. So, whether you’re from Kansas City or Santa Fe, this sauce will transport you to a world of mouthwatering delight.

And let’s not forget about its versatility – you can use it as a marinade, glaze or finishing sauce as well. The possibilities are endless! So what are you waiting for? Grab your apron and start making your own batch of Cowgirl BBQ Sauce. Trust me; your guests will thank you.

Ingredient List

 Taste the wild west with this smoky and tangy Cowgirl BBQ sauce!
Taste the wild west with this smoky and tangy Cowgirl BBQ sauce!

Here is a list of Cowgirl BBQ Sauce Recipe ingredients you need to have on hand before making this sweet and spicy sauce.

For the Sauce:

  • 12 oz. ketchup
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup liquid smoke flavoring
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

For the Cowboy Candy (Optional):

  • 3 cups white granulated sugar
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. celery seeds
  • pinch of kosher salt

The Recipe How-To

 No more store-bought BBQ sauce disappointment after you try this recipe.
No more store-bought BBQ sauce disappointment after you try this recipe.

Now, let’s dive into the recipe itself! This cowgirl BBQ sauce recipe is a 2:1:2 recipe, which means that the ingredients are measured by volume with the ratio of two parts ketchup, one part mustard and two parts brown sugar. Here are the steps to make this deliciously sweet and tangy sauce:


  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup yellow mustard
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped


Step 1: Combine Sauce Ingredients

In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix all ingredients until fully combined. Stir occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil.

Step 2: Reduce Heat

Once boiled reduce heat to low, cover with a lid leaving a small gap for ventilation, and let it simmer for an hour. Keep an eye on it and stir every fifteen minutes.

Step 3: Enjoy!

Once the sauce is finished cooking, remove from heat and let it cool. It can be used right away on your favorite meats or stored in an airtight container refrigerated. The longer you refrigerate it in a sealed container, the more intense the flavors will become.

This delicious cowgirl BBQ sauce is perfect for marinating your ribs, topping your burgers in cowboy style, or serving as a dip for chicken tenders. In case you want extra spicy barbecue sauce, add some extra dry spices or hot sauce to taste.

Substitutions and Variations

 Bring the ranch to your own backyard with this Cowgirl BBQ sauce.
Bring the ranch to your own backyard with this Cowgirl BBQ sauce.

The beauty of the Cowgirl BBQ Sauce Recipe lies in its flexibility. You can easily make tweaks and adjustments to cater to your taste preferences or dietary restrictions.

For instance, if you want to reduce the sugar content in this recipe, replace brown sugar with a natural sweetener like honey, agave syrup or pure maple syrup. Alternatively, you can use powdered erythritol or stevia for a keto-friendly version of this sauce.

If you don’t have liquid smoke flavoring on hand, feel free to use smoked paprika or chipotle powder instead. They will still lend a smoky flavor to the sauce that would complement any grilled meats.

For those who can’t tolerate wheat, substitute regular soy sauce with Tamari, which is gluten-free. Also, make sure to use gluten-free ketchup or tomato sauce brands like Heinz or Muir Glen.

For a spicier kick, add hot sauce, gochujang or diced jalapenos into the mix. You can even experiment with different chili powders such as ancho, guajillo or habanero for more depth of flavor.

To vary the recipe even further, try mixing a cup of this BBQ sauce with 1/4 cup Korean BBQ marinade for a fusion twist. Or enhance its Tex-Mex flair by adding 2 teaspoons of ground cumin and substituting celery with 1 diced bell pepper.

Finally, if you want to customize this recipe for a specific occasion or dish, try using different fruit jams in place of cowboy candy for a sweet-hot flavor profile. Strawberry jam pairs well with turkey burgers while raspberry jam works well as a finishing glaze for grilled chicken. For a Southwestern touch, use freshjax sunrise cowgirl spice blend instead of kosher salt and black pepper when seasoning the onions and celery. The possibilities are endless!

Serving and Pairing

 Perfect for summertime BBQs, tailgates, or any other outdoor celebrations!
Perfect for summertime BBQs, tailgates, or any other outdoor celebrations!

Cowgirl BBQ Sauce is a tangy and bold sauce that can elevate any dish with its balance of sweet and smoky flavors. This versatile sauce pairs well with various grilled meats such as pork ribs, chicken wings, and beef brisket.

For a classic barbecue experience, top your slow-cooked pulled pork or brisket sandwich with this thick and juicy sauce. Spread it generously on your turkey burgers to take them from ordinary to extraordinary. It’s also a great way to add flavor to your vegetable skewers or tofu kebabs.

If you’re feeling adventurous, use this sauce as a marinade for grilled Korean BBQ or add it to your finishing glaze for a spicy twist. It’s an excellent dip for fresh celery and carrots, adding an extra layer of flavor to this healthy snack.

For pairing with drinks, Cowgirl BBQ Sauce goes perfectly with a cold beer or a refreshing glass of lemonade. Serve it at your next backyard barbeque party and watch as your guests reach for seconds!

Embark on a culinary adventure by experimenting with different food combinations and see how Cowgirl BBQ Sauce brings out the flavors in each dish. Whether you prefer sweet or spicy, this sauce is an essential pantry ingredient that would add some western flair to all your meals.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Our Cowgirl BBQ sauce is as sassy and spicy as any cowgirl you'll meet.
Our Cowgirl BBQ sauce is as sassy and spicy as any cowgirl you’ll meet.

Having leftovers of Cowgirl BBQ Sauce is a true blessing. This mouth-watering, smoky sauce intensifies in flavor when stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. To store it, allow it to cool to room temperature and then transfer it into an airtight container. Label it with the date, so you know when you made it.

Another great thing about this recipe is that you can make it in advance and store it until you are ready to serve. Just make sure you allow it to cool before putting it in the refrigerator.

For reheating, Cowgirl BBQ Sauce can be microwaved or heated up on the stovetop. When reheating on the stovetop, use low heat and stir occasionally to prevent scorching.

If the sauce becomes too thick after storing or cooling down, add some water and heat it over low heat until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.

Now that you know how easy it is to store and reheat Cowgirl BBQ Sauce, you’ll want to make enough to have leftovers every time!

Tips for Perfect Results

 This BBQ sauce is customizable to your taste, so you can make it as sweet or as tangy as you desire.
This BBQ sauce is customizable to your taste, so you can make it as sweet or as tangy as you desire.

Preparing a perfect barbecue sauce requires careful attention to detail. Here are some tips I have gathered over the years that will help you achieve the best results with this Cowgirl BBQ Sauce Recipe:

First, make sure to use high-quality ingredients. Use fresh celery ribs and yellow onions, along with renowned brands of ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Opt for Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to add depth to the flavors.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to adjust the recipe to your liking. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, add a little more brown sugar. If you want a spicier kick, increase the chili powder or add hot sauce.

Thirdly, always taste the sauce as you cook it. This way, you can adjust the seasoning according to your preference before serving it.

Fourthly, be careful not to overcook the sauce and burn it. Keep a close eye on it and stir frequently during cooking to avoid any mishap.

If you want a thicker consistency like that of Kansas City style BBQ sauce, reduce the amount of water by half. Alternatively, use cornstarch or flour as thickening agents for your desired texture and consistency

Lastly, storing and reheating leftover barbecue sauce is crucial but you have to strictly follow hygiene protocols such as using cleaned jars for storage and microwaving in small intervals instead of overheating at once.

Follow these tips closely, and you’ll have an exceptional Cowgirl BBQ Sauce that will pair excellently with anything from turkey burgers to cowboy country barbeque!


As with any recipe, there are sure to be some questions and concerns that arise. To help you achieve perfect results every time you make this cowgirl BBQ sauce recipe, we’ve provided answers to some of the frequently asked questions below. From substitutions to storage, we have got you covered!

What is cowgirl sauce?

Looking for a versatile hot sauce to spice up your meals? Cowgirl Kitchen Hot Sauce is the answer! This hot sauce is made with a blend of vinegar, aged red cayenne peppers, horseradish, and spices, making it the perfect condiment for any dish from breakfast to dessert. Each bottle contains 12 oz. and is sold separately so you can add as much heat as you like. So, why not kick back and add some cowgirl flavor to your meals?

What is Redneck BBQ sauce?

Introducing Redneck Riviera BBQ sauce, a flavorful concoction crafted by renowned country singer John Rich. With genuine tomato puree, authentic spices, apple cider vinegar, and a dash of real sugar, this sauce is the perfect blend for folks who believe in working hard and playing harder.

What’s the best BBQ sauce ever?

Looking for great barbecue sauce options? Here are some recommendations to help you find what you’re looking for. If you’re after an overall great option, Stubb’s Original Legendary Bar-B-Que Sauce is a go-to. For budget shoppers, Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce offers the best value. For a classic flavor, Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Original Barbecue Sauce is worth considering. If you need a gluten-free option, Lillie’s Q Smoky Barbeque Sauce is a good choice. Buying in bulk? Bone Suckin’ Barbecue Sauce is the way to go. For those who prefer a sweeter sauce, Sonny’s Sweet BBQ Sauce is worth trying.

What makes Kansas City BBQ Sauce different?

When it comes to BBQ sauces, Kansas City’s version stands out with its unique qualities. Of all BBQ sauces, it has a thicker texture and sweetness, setting it apart from the more traditional variety. This sauce typically contains a blend of onions, spices, ketchup, and molasses, as well as other possible ingredients to add an extra layer of flavor, like liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Cowgirl BBQ Sauce recipe is a must-try for anyone seeking to enjoy authentic barbecue dishes. The combination of ingredients like molasses, Dijon mustard, and liquid smoke flavoring creates an unforgettable, smoky-sweet taste that’ll leave your taste buds wanting more. This recipe has been tested and trusted over time by avid barbecue enthusiasts, and it’s no surprise why it continues to be a crowd-pleaser.

Whether you’re making ribs, chicken, or even turkey burgers, Cowgirl BBQ Sauce is sure to enhance the flavor of your dish and make it stand out. And with the various substitutions and variations provided in this article, you can customize the recipe to suit your dietary preferences or shake things up a bit.

What makes this recipe stand out even more is its versatility – from cowboy country BBQ to Kansas City BBQ sauce, the Cowgirl BBQ sauce will not fail to deliver on taste. You can use it as a marinade sauce, finishing glaze or even mix in some hot sauce or soy sauce for a Korean-style BBQ. And with its gluten-free options like the FreshJax Sunrise Cowgirl Sweet Hot sauce readily available, everyone can enjoy this delicious BBQ sauce.

In conclusion, I implore you to try the Cowgirl BBQ Sauce recipe today and transform your next barbecue from good to great. Your friends and family will thank you for serving up such a delightful dish that they are sure to remember for a long time!

Cowgirl BBQ Sauce

Cowgirl BBQ Sauce Recipe

This recipe was adapted from Racheal Ray’s Tasty Travels, Episode Best Barbeque and is from the Cowgirl Hall of Fame Bar-B-Q & Western Grill in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Enjoy! This is a southwestern and Western recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 3 cups
Calories 194 kcal


  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/8 cup liquid smoke flavoring
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup molasses, plus
  • 1 tablespoon molasses


  • Puree onions and celery.
  • In a large sauce pot combine the puree and the remaining ingredients and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove and use as desired. Great on meats, tofu, even vegetables!



Serving: 745gCalories: 194kcalCarbohydrates: 49.6gProtein: 1.1gFat: 0.6gSaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 1719.2mgFiber: 1.4gSugar: 33.4g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Easy, Sauces, Southwestern, Tex-Mex, Vegetable
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Shara @The Bird BBQ

Shara loves to experiment with different flavors and techniques when it comes to BBQ. She has been perfecting her craft for years and loves hosting backyard BBQs with friends & family. She often comes up with creative recipes that her guests rave about.