Barefoot Contessa's Barbecue Sauce

Total Time
Prep 10 mins
Cook 45 mins

The Contessa told an interesting story about this recipe. She said that about 20 years ago she asked a chef on the show to make three types of barbecue sauces: one mustardy, one tomatoey, and one Chinesey. When she tasted them, the first one was too mustardy, the second was too tomatoey, and the third was too Chinesey! She decided to try combining the three, and she said it turned out being the best sauce she'd ever tried. This is the result, and it's her favorite to this day.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a large saucepan on low heat, saute the onions and garlic with the vegetable oil for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browned.
  2. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 30 minutes.
  3. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator.
  4. The Contessa recommends using this with about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of chicken. Just marinate it in 2/3 of the barbecue sauce for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator, then slap it on the grill. Serve it with the extra sauce on the side!


Most Helpful

this is the only bbq sauce I have ever really liked. I do add liquid smoke and a bit od hickory smoked salt to it,. I am from bbq country, so I know from which I speak. also, I cut down a bit on the mustard and some times add a bit of red plum sauce.

kydiva41 May 23, 2009

Wow-Super Tangy, nice and thick, absolutely delish! I worried 1 cup of cider vinegar was going to be too much, but after letting it simmer and thicken for 30 minutes everything came together so well that I wouldn't change a thing. I might also try this with pulled pork for sandwiches, maybe adding a tablespoon or two of brown sugar as we like pulled pork a little sweeter. Thanks for sharing this recipe Ev! Nick's Mom ** UPDATED to ADD* We tried this BBQ sauce mixed with a shredded beef roast today. Served on buttered bakery rolls with sharp cheddar cheese, wonderful!

Brenda. September 04, 2006

Awesome Sauce! Wows everyone every time I serve it. I make it exactly as directed, cept I leave out the Chili flakes and use low-sodium soy sauce. Its even better 2-3 days after you make it. I always make it ahead. Freezes wonderfully as well. Thanks Ina!!

Anonymous May 21, 2015

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