APL BBQ Sauce Recipe

APL BBQ Sauce Recipe

The following recipe is from the May 6 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here!

No subject will fire up a debate quicker than the topic of barbecue (pun intended). The varieties go on and on—North Carolina, Memphis or Texas, beef versus pork, vinegar, mustard or tomato based sauces—but it all comes down to three important factors: the meat, the heat and the flavoring components. However, any serious barbecuer knows that the best barbecue sauce is the one that you make yourself, and everyone has their own secret ingredients. I'll let you in on the secret ingredients in my sauce (which is pretty great): British all-purpose HP Sauce and a dollop of sriracha. It's an unlikely combination but it does the trick.

Adam Perry Lang knows a thing or two about barbecue and has spent years perfecting his ultimate barbecue sauce recipe. APL BBQ Sauce from Serious Barbecue starts with the classic combination of ketchup, mustard, and vinegar, and adds grated apple and apricot preserves for sweetness. This recipe is meant to be used as a base, so feel free to add your own secret ingredients.

  • Yield:about 7 cups


  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium sweet white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional if needed
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, plus additional as needed
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 jalapeno chile, grated on a Microplane grater, stopping before the seeds
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, grated on a Microplane grater.


  1. 1.

    Pour the oil in a large saucepan and place over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Stir in the garlic, onion, bell pepper and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Pour in the bourbon and cook until the alcohol has cooked off, about 5 minutes. There will no longer be the strong smell of alcohol.

  3. 3.

    Combine the chili powder, black pepper, allspice and cloves and add to the pan. Cook, stirring continuously, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.

  4. 4.

    Stir in the water, brown sugar, ketchup, molasses, mustard, vinegar, hot sauce and preserves. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally to be sure that nothing sticks to the bottom and burns. Continue to simmer, stirring often, about 45 minutes.

  5. 5.

    Add the jalapeno and apple. At this point the sauce can be left chunky or blended in a blender (blend in small batches since it will still be hot), or in a bowl using an immersion/stick blender until smooth.

  6. 6.

    Season to taste with additional allspice, cloves, salt, and vinegar to taste.