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Sticky, Savory, Sweet Homemade BBQ Sauce + Oven Baked Ribs

Homemade BBQ sauce can be so easy and delicious!

This homemade BBQ sauce is equal parts sticky, sweet and savory! It is insanely easy and uses real ingredients! Perfect for oven baked ribs!

I know there are great options for store-bought BBQ sauce (and you know I love a good store-bought sauce, hello Rao’s pasta sauce!) but I really like BBQ sauce. I could eat it, like, a lot. Which brings me to my next point, I don’t love how much sugar or how sweet some BBQ sauces can be. So, I made my own!

It’s so easy and uses real ingredients. There’s no refined sugar and I promise you will not just lick your fingers but you will want to lick the fingers of the person sitting next to you. But, remember, COVID, so lick wisely. (Hmmm, well, that sentence came out more odd than expected but IT STAYS!)

Bonus, I share how I make my oven baked ribs which are a perfect vehicle to get more sauce into your mouth!


Let’s talk ribs! I love pork ribs and my favorite cut are Baby Back ribs. I love their flavor and I love the meat to bone ratio. They also are known for cooking more evenly.

Another great option is St. Louis Style ribs. These ribs are known as spareribs but they have had the cartilage and the breastbone cut out, making them easier to work with.


My favorite way to prepare ribs is in the oven, low and slow. This method really allows the flavors to develop and you end up with a melt-in-your-mouth piece of meat, almost like butter. It is incredibly tender.

An important step to make sure the membrane of the ribs breaks down while cooking is to score the back of the ribs. This is done by cutting little x’s into this white membrane layer. You only want to score the top layer, so do not cut too deep.

This homemade BBQ sauce is equal parts sticky, sweet and savory! It is insanely easy and uses real ingredients! Perfect for oven baked ribs!

After generously seasoning the meat, wrap it tightly in foil to bake. Wrapping it in foil ensures that it will not dry out, resulting in tender, juicy ribs!

This homemade BBQ sauce is equal parts sticky, sweet and savory! It is insanely easy and uses real ingredients! Perfect for oven baked ribs!

The ribs come out tender, flavorful, and juicy!

This homemade BBQ sauce is equal parts sticky, sweet and savory! It is insanely easy and uses real ingredients! Perfect for oven baked ribs!

Not a ribs fan? Come over here so I can feed you delicious ribs that will forever change you! Or, you can just put this mouthwatering BBQ sauce on shredded chicken or pulled pork! The sky is the limit with this BBQ sauce!

This homemade BBQ sauce is equal parts sticky, sweet and savory! It is insanely easy and uses real ingredients! Perfect for oven baked ribs!

To make easy, shredded chicken for BBQ chicken sliders. Add 3lbs fresh chicken (breast or thighs) to the Instant Pot. Add 1/2 TBS salt and 3 cups chicken stock. Make sure the chicken is submerged in the liquid. Lock the IP lid and move valve to “Sealing.” Press “Poultry” button on IP. I allow for the pressure to naturally release for about 5 minutes. Move valve to “Venting.” Place chicken in a large bowl and shred with two forks (or shred chicken in the KitchenAid mixer using the paddle attachment. You will want to do this in batches). Pour BBQ sauce over shredded chicken. Serve on rolls or buns or sweet potato sliders.


Sticky, Savory, Sweet Homemade BBQ Sauce + Oven Baked Ribs

  • Author: Bri McKoy




  • 2 lbs baby back ribs
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 TBS coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp mushroom powder (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

For the BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (or ketchup)
  • 1 TBS Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup 
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce


For the ribs:

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. 
  2. In a bowl mix together coconut sugar through cayenne pepper. Set aside. 
  3. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Add another piece of tin foil onto the baking sheet, big enough to cover one rack of ribs. Place one rack of ribs upside down on tin foil. With a sharp knife, score the back of the ribs to cut through the top layer of the membrane. I like to make tiny x’s all along the back of the ribs. (This will allow the membrane to cook down more and give that fall-off-the-bone tenderness.)
  4. Rub half the spice mixture all over the rack of ribs. Cover tightly in tin foil. Place ribs right side up on the baking sheet. Repeat this process with the other rack of fibs. 
  5. Place in oven for 3 hours. This is the low and slow method. It really allows the flavors to develop while allowing the meat to become juicy and tender. 


For the Sauce:
While the ribs cook, make the sauce! 

  1. In a saucepan over medium high heat, add oil. Once oil is heated, add onion* and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
  2. Add tomato sauce through Worcestershire sauce. Mix to combine. Allow to come to a boil and then turn heat to low.
  3. Let simmer for 25-30 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Pull ribs out of oven and move to a platter or individual plates. Cover ribs in sauce. Enjoy!



*If you like a smooth sauce, you can use 1/2 TBS onion powder and 1 tsp garlic powder in place of the fresh ingredients or, you can blend the sauce in a blender when it is finished. 

*I like to use maple syrup and tomato sauce because I prefer a sticky, sweet sauce that is not too overly sweet. But you can use ketchup and brown sugar if that is what you have on hand! 

This sauce makes the perfect amount for a rack of ribs or 3 lbs of chicken. You can easily double the sauce for more!

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  • JillianSeptember 7, 2020 - 11:53 pm

    Thank you Bri! Made the ribs tonight and they were perfect and tender. Ended up swapping the paprika for cayenne and it had a nice heat to it. ReplyCancel

    • Bri McKoySeptember 8, 2020 - 1:22 pm

      I love that you added more cayenne for some heat! So grateful you tried and loved this recipe!ReplyCancel

  • NikkiSeptember 9, 2020 - 11:38 pm

    Thanks so much for the recipe, Bri. I made these ribs for my family on Labor Day and it was a huge success!! We had a bunch a happy kids and grown ups! The sauce is delicious. ReplyCancel

  • MicheleSeptember 11, 2020 - 2:45 am

    My husband made this BBQ sauce for ribs for Labor Day & it was amazing! We enjoyed it so much we made it again tonight for shredded chicken. Be patient & let it simmer! Bri never steers us wrong! ReplyCancel

  • HeatherOctober 15, 2020 - 4:42 pm

    I made the ribs and the bbq sauce last week for my family, and it was A HUGE HIT. They were seriously the best ribs we’ve ever had! Bri, your recipes and posts are such a bright spot in this dark world!!ReplyCancel

  • RachelNovember 14, 2020 - 11:13 pm

    Just made these and wow! They were so good, and I can’t believe how easy they were!ReplyCancel

  • MissyDecember 21, 2020 - 3:25 am

    I became a Butcher Box subscriber thanks to you and couldn’t be happier. Made the baby back ribs this weekend and OhMyGosh they were delicious. Followed the recipe exactly. My only regret is I didn’t know about this recipe before now. Thanks, Bri!ReplyCancel

  • VeronicaFebruary 3, 2021 - 9:25 pm

    This looks delicious! Would the Umami Seasoning from Trader Joe’s work for the mushroom powder? Thanks so much!ReplyCancel

    • Bri McKoyFebruary 9, 2021 - 9:12 pm

      Yes! You can use the umami seasoning from Trader Joe’s!ReplyCancel

  • AddieMarch 5, 2021 - 12:21 am

    Bri, just so you know, you make me look like a rockstar in the kitchen. Made these incredible ribs tonight and my husband kissed me right there at the table mouth full of ribs in front of the family!  hahaha To say he loved them is an understatement! 
    Thanks for all the joy you bring back to the kitchen! ReplyCancel

hello love...

Welcome! I'm Bri! Accidental home cook. Lover of gathering people around a table over a meal. Author of Come & Eat (September 2017). What I really want is to pull out a chair for you at my table. But until then, I hope you stay awhile and enjoy my stories + recipes!

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