No party? No problem. These barbecue sauces will add zing to any backyard grilling you might be doing this weekend.

Ginger Rosemary Ribs
Coral Von Zumwalt

If you’re sitting out any big Fourth of July gatherings that might be happening this year, you’re going to have a little more time to dial in your backyard (or patio, or stove-top) barbecue. Which is why we’re sharing a few of our all-time favorite sauces worth making at home. Yes, you could buy some store-bought sauce, but it’s likely going to be a little too sugary, and it definitely will not have the zip and zing of fresh garlic, freshly ground spices, and, most of all, the loving hand of a home cook. 

Here are six amazing sauces (and recipes to go along with them). We’ve got one from Oakland-based barbecue star Matt Horn; this one’s on the sweet side, but a mix of honey and brown sugar gives the flavor a sophistication that keeps it from being cloying. Cherry-Zinfandel sauce is a little tangier; tamarind chipotle skews fairly traditional but with a slightly offbeat twist. Whiskey barbecue sauce edges away from the traditional ketchup-forward base, and peach barbecue doesn’t actually have any ketchup in it at all, although the inclusion of tomato sauce and fruit ensures that the expected push-pull of sweet and tart elements is fully there.

Don’t feel you need to use these sauces on the proteins and preparations they’re paired with here: They’re all interchangeable and can be used on burgers, chicken, tofu, beans, or whatever else you want to get saucy with on this fine holiday. So go ahead and exercise your right to cook whatever you please—and have a great long weekend!


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