This is a recipe that bears repeating* for a few reasons: 1) it’s a very close approximation to the famous sauce; 2) it’s delicious; and 3) we tried to sneak this into Low & Slow 2 (on sale and in stores May 2015!) to accompany the Burnt Ends cook, but our clever editor felt that republishing the same recipe in a followup cookbook was a no-no. We tried to make the case that this sauce and burnt ends were born to go together. That Mr. Bryant himself, may he rest in peace, might approve because his legendary barbecue restaurant in Kansas City put burnt ends on the map. That if only we’d known, we would have saved this recipe for Low & Slow 2 instead of parking it in the first book. To no avail. So here it is, free and for all to enjoy.

Not Arthur Bryant’s BBQ Sauce 

Generations of great backyard cooks have tried to replicate the signature grit and spice of Arthur Bryant’s sauce to no avail. Do dried ground peppers make it gritty? Is pickle juice the secret vinegary ingredient? There’s no short supply of theories about what goes into the sauce to make it so unique. This version is a fair likeness, but you can also buy the real deal online. I recommend using half-sharp paprika because it lends a perfect balance of sweetness and fiery heat to a recipe. This paprika is made from a pepper that has more punch than the red bell peppers used to make sweet paprika, and it adds just the right amount of zip to this sauce.

Makes about 4 cups

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

1 (8-ounce) can tomato paste

1/4 cup lard

1/4 cup molasses

2 tablespoons half-sharp paprika

1 tablespoon celery seed, ground

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.


*Originally published in Low & Slow: Master the Art of Barbecue in Five Easy Lessons (Running Press, 2009)