Once you make this completely unique Oklahoma BBQ Sauce, you’ll be hooked. Full of deep, contrasting yet complementary flavors, it’s different than any other barbecue sauce you’ve had. Both sweet and tangy, it has just the right amount of spice from three different kinds of ground peppers. And, it’s been made hundreds of times, always comes out right – and has been a hit with everyone I’ve served it to. I’ve even received fan mail from Europe about this unique and pleasing BBQ sauce!

Delicious Oklahoma BBQ Sauce Recipe

I found this recipe from mom’s friend Anne Reed in mom’s recipe box after she passed away. On the back of the card, Ann wrote: “Delicious with ribs, beef, ham or chicken. I have been making this for 20 years and it is special in our house.” It’s very easy to make, with just the right balance of spice and sweet. I especially like the interplay of flavors in our BBQ Chicken, BBQ Beef and Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

Original hand written card showing the recpe for Oklahoma BBQ Sauce

What is Oklahoma Style Barbecue?

Good question! And, not one that’s easy to answer – because Oklahoma BBQ is so unique, it’s not easy to describe. Basically, it’s a combination of a few other barbecue styles from around the southern US. It has some of Memphis BBQ Sauce flavors (ketchup, vinegar and similar seasonings), together with a bit of Western North Carolina BBQ (ketchup and vinegar).

Ingredients for Oklahoma Barbeque Sauce

While the ingredient list for this delectable sauce is long, there’s minimal prep involved – you only have to chop one (onion):

  • Tomato juice
  • Medium to large onion
  • Garlic powder
  • Celery seed
  • Butter
  • Ketchup
  • Granulated sugar
  • White wine vinegar
  • Chili powder
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ground black pepper
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground cloves
glass bowl holding Oklahoma Barbecue Sauce with a basting brush on the side, with sauce on it.

How to Make Oklahoma BBQ Sauce

Given how fabulous and versatile this BBQ Sauce is, you’re going to be amazed at how easy it is to prepare – only 2 steps!

  1. Combine 4 base ingredients and cook.
    In a large saucepan, stir together the tomato juice, onion, garlic powder and celery seed. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium and boil for 15 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients.
    Remove from heat and add butter, stirring until melted. Stir in remaining ingredients.

How easy is that?

Storing Oklahoma Style BBQ Sauce

This sauce can be kept in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for several months.

Can I freeze Oklahoma Barbeque Sauce?

Yes, you can freeze this sauce, but why would you? It will last for months in your refrigerator!

How to use Oklahoma BBQ Sauce

There are many, many ways to use this amazing BBQ Sauce. The traditional way to serve it in Oklahoma is alongside (not slathered on) smoked beef brisket. I’ve also served it with smoked pork tenderloin, grilled pork chops and ribs as well as in these recipes:

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glass bowl holding Oklahoma Barbecue Sauce with a basting brush in front, with sauce on it.

Oklahoma BBQ Sauce Recipe

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Once you make this completely unique Oklahoma BBQ Sauce, you’ll be hooked. Full of deep, contrasting yet complementary flavors, it’s different than any other barbecue sauce you’ve had. Both sweet and tangy, I has just the right amount of spice from three different kinds of ground peppers. It’s been made hundreds of times, always comes out right – and has been a hit with everyone I’ve served it to. I’ve even received fan mail from Europe about this unique and pleasing BBQ sauce!

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Just over 1 quart 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale

(See gluten-free adaptations in the Notes section at the bottom of the recipe.)

  • 2 1/2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, stir together the tomato juice, onion, garlic powder and celery seed. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium and boil for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and add butter, stirring until melted. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Notes

Gluten free: Use gluten-free ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.

Make ahead: According to Ann, the sauce will keep indefinitely, covered and refrigerated.

  • Author: From “Fresh Tastes from A Well-Seasoned Kitchen” by Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: Sauces, easy sides
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

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glass bowl holding Oklahoma Barbecue Sauce with a basting brush in front, with sauce on it.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I’ve provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


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