Are you a barbecue lover? If so, then you must have heard about Memphis City BBQ Sauce.

This delicious and tangy sauce is a staple in the city of Memphis, Tennessee, and is known for its unique flavor profile. In this article, we will explore what makes Memphis City BBQ Sauce so special and how you can recreate it at home.

The Origins of Memphis City BBQ Sauce

Memphis is famous for its barbecue tradition, which dates back to the early 20th century. The city’s barbecue scene is diverse, with different styles of sauces being used by various pitmasters. However, one sauce that stands out from the rest is Memphis City BBQ Sauce.

This sauce has its roots in the African-American community of Memphis. It was developed by local pitmasters who combined traditional southern flavors with their own unique twists. The result is a sauce that perfectly complements the smoky flavors of Memphis-style barbecue.

The Flavor Profile

Memphis City BBQ Sauce has a bold and tangy flavor that sets it apart from other regional barbecue sauces. It is characterized by its perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and spicy notes.

Sweet: The sweetness in this sauce comes from ingredients like brown sugar or molasses. It adds depth to the flavor profile and helps to enhance the natural sweetness of the meat.

Tangy: Vinegar is a key component in Memphis City BBQ Sauce. It provides a tangy kick that cuts through the richness of the meat and adds a refreshing element to each bite.

Spicy: While not all versions of Memphis City BBQ Sauce are spicy, some recipes include ingredients like cayenne pepper or hot sauce to give it a little heat. This adds another layer of complexity to the sauce and can be adjusted according to personal preference.

Making Memphis City BBQ Sauce at Home

If you want to experience the flavors of Memphis City BBQ Sauce in your own kitchen, here is a simple recipe that you can try:

  1. Ingredients:
    • 1 cup ketchup
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tablespoon mustard
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    1. In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients.
    2. i. Ketchup
      ii. Apple cider vinegar
      iii. Brown sugar
      iv. Worcestershire sauce
      v. Mustard

      Garlic powder
      vii. Onion powder
      viii. Cayenne pepper (if desired)
      ix. Salt and pepper

      Note: Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper according to your desired level of spiciness.

    3. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens slightly (about 10 minutes).
    4. Let the sauce cool before using it as a glaze or dipping sauce for your favorite barbecue dishes.


    Memphis City BBQ Sauce is a true gem in the world of barbecue sauces. Its sweet, tangy, and spicy flavors make it a perfect accompaniment to any grilled or smoked meat. Whether you’re planning a backyard barbecue or simply want to elevate your weeknight dinner, give this sauce a try and experience the taste of Memphis in your own kitchen.