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+ servings
A clear glass bowl atop a piece of torn burlap with barbecue sauce in it.
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4.41 from 10 votes

Southern-Style Molasses Barbecue Sauce

Make this beautifully sweet molasses sauce the day before in just minutes to have at the ready for your southern style ribs, chops, burgers, and barbecue chicken.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: authentic bbq sauce, bbq sauce, molasses bbq sauce, sweet barbecue sauce
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 115kcal



  • ¼ cup quality olive oil
  • 1 cup diced sweet onion such as Vidalia
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, about 2 cloves
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup molasses I am using blackstrap molasses, but regular molasses works great, too
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a 5 quart heavy bottom sauce pan, heat the olive oil.
  • Add the onion once oil is shimmering and reduce heat immediately. You want to sweat the onions rather than brown them.
  • Add the garlic, red wine vinegar, molasses, and ketchup. Bring to a simmer and reduce until slightly thickened, stirring constantly, about 15 to 20 minutes. **I like to reduce mine by half.
  • When the sauce is viscous enough to coat the back of a spoon, taste. Season if necessary with salt and pepper.
  • Sauce may be used immediately, or refrigerated overnight. The vinegar profile mellows with refrigeration. Sauce may also be frozen for future use.


Serving: 1servings | Calories: 115kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 157mg | Potassium: 373mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 77IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg