Stout Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Photographs: Joshua Bousel

Winter is a call for us to beef up the heartiness of just about everything. Though I'm not normally a huge fan of stout beers, when the frigid cold has set in, there's something appealing to drinking what feels like a meal in a bottle. I wanted to take that appropriate seasonal heaviness and apply it to a barbecue sauce. So I married the two to create a stout barbecue sauce.

Adding nearly a bottle of beer to an otherwise common mixture of barbecue sauce ingredients meant that I had to boil it down for well over a half-hour so it'd return to an acceptable medium-thin consistency. In doing so, the flavor profile of the beer undoubtedly changed, and while that chocolaty robustness of the Guinness remained, the bitterness really amped up. Straight off the spoon this wasn't my favorite sauce. I did, however, venture forth and baste it on some barbecued ribs—that's where it totally rocked.

This full-bodied sauce found a balance where the bitterness became an undertone and the heartiness complemented the smoked meat. With most of the bottle still left in the fridge, I'm pondering what else this could smother. Any suggestions?

Recipe Facts



Active: 30 mins
Total: 60 mins
Makes: 2 cups

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  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 8 oz stout beer
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until lightly browned, about 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Stir in the tomato sauce, beer, molasses, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until sauce is reduced to a medium-thin thickness, about 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Transfer the sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. Allow the sauce to cool, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.