Aunt Dora’s Southern Barbecue Sauce

Side Dishes and Sauces

Aunt Dora’s Southern Barbecue Sauce

This recipe is from an incredible menu of Southern barbecue as it was prepared several generations ago at Leonard’s Barbecue on Old Highway 51 South in Memphis, Tennessee. It was passed down to me from my aunt, Dora Simmons.


Servings: Makes About 16 Pints

7 cups chopped onion
1 gallon ketchup
8 cups water
2 cups chili powder
¼ cup dry mustard
2 ½ cups Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 gallon red wine vinegar
4 pounds dark brown sugar
2 ½ cups plus 3 tablespoons paprika
12 bay leaves
2 cups crushed red pepper flakes


Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring just to a boil, then immediately remove from heat (mixture will be very thin). Cool and seal in sterilized containers with tight-fitting lids. Store for 30 days to age. When ready to use, open only as much as is needed. When sauce is exposed to air, it will thicken immediately. Use on pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, etc. Note: You can cut this recipe down, but the results may not be the same. Be sure to follow canning safety procedures.