BBQ Sauce like Franklin

Overall Comments – Interesting but not one of our favorites. Should try it again considering adjustments tried below, but…

Made first batch on April 27, 2016. Aaron calls this his sweet sauce. See the paragraph at the bottom about how the dill flavor came to be part of flavor profile. That article goes on to say they tried adding pickle juice and other things but could not get it right.


  • 1-3/4 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water – when the 1/4 C vinegar is deleted we may want to add 1/4C more water*.
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon white vinegar – First batch had too much vinegar so should omit this white next time*.
  • 1/4 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and warm gently over medium heat.

Excerpted from my copy of Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto.

* May, 2016 – First batch Mary made per the recipe but it had too much vinegar for our taste. Second batch I made roughly per the recipe but left out the white vinegar and added water. By mistake had about 2t too much dark brown sugar. Then let it come to a boil with the lid on rather than only warming. Still too much vinegar and too sweet. Cumin smell when cooking was very strong both times. Threw it out.

From an article in Texas Monthly here about duplicating his sweet sauce for HEB:

…an elusive flavor in Franklin’s sweet sauce that they never found a good way to replicate. Aaron Franklin shared how he arrived at his “aha” moment [for the missing dill flavor].

We were working on the recipe and going back and forth on it a bunch, but there was one thing they couldn’t quite figure out. They kept coming back with their ingredients, and they were right, but it just didn’t taste the same. They kept tasting something like dill, but we didn’t have any dill in our recipe. Then one day I was standing there in our kitchen staring at a wall full of pickle buckets that we stored our sauce in.

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