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Culinary Arts

Prepare: Sauce

Aaron Franklin

Lesson time 10:54 min

Learn how to make the MasterClass-exclusive recipe for the balanced, tangy-sweet sauce Aaron uses in his lesson on ribs.

Aaron Franklin
Teaches Texas-Style BBQ
Aaron Franklin teaches you how to fire up flavor-packed Central Texas barbecue, including his famous brisket and more mouth-watering smoked meat.
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[MUSIC PLAYING] - So in Central Texas, it's kind of known that if you have to put sauce on it, it must be pretty bad. Blah, blah, blah, we don't do sauce-- all this stuff. But turns out I kind of do like barbecue sauce and it comes in really handy for ribs and some other stuff too. So I came up with this recipe just for this. It's savory. It's salty. It's got all the aspects that I'm looking for in a good barbecue sauce. So I'm going to work out a recipe for this. I'm going to start off with a little tallow in here. This is a cool thing to do if you cook a brisket or you can buy it at the store. But if you're cooking a brisket, save the fat, render it down in the oven. It's really cool to have tallow that's just rendered beef fat. You can use lard. You can have bacon fat. You can just use oil. It doesn't really matter much. I cook a lot of brisket, so I have a lot of tallow laying around. So I'm going to use tallow. And then from there, I'm going to slice a third of a yellow onion. You can use a white onion if you want. It doesn't really matter. We'll say maybe about four cloves garlic. And I'm going to sauté these things. From there, I'm going to dump in one cup of brown sugar. And in a barbecue sauce, the brown sugar is kind of what makes the glaze. If you see something that's really shiny, and it's kind of sticky, and it kind of has flavors of molasses and stuff like that, that's a really good base for me. I use light brown sugar. So one cup light brown sugar. Gonna throw it over the onions. And yes, that's called B-Sugs. Then after that melts a little bit in here, I'm going to put one cup cider vin. That's also known as apple cider vinegar. Getting my own shorthand. Getting good on this. Then we're going to do two cups of ketchup. I prefer to use organic ketchup. It's got a little bit less sugar. It doesn't have the high fructose. It likely won't burn if you put it on ribs later. So kind of go with organic ketchup if you can. I'm going to do one teaspoon paprika. I kind of like smoked paprika. I think it kind of adds a little bit of a depth, but really any kind of paprika. It just kind of adds to the color a little bit. So one teaspoon of paprika. One teaspoon of mustard powder. That also makes it a little more complex. And it kind of gives a little bit of a tartness to it. It makes it taste a little bit like mustard without thinning it out, so that's why I'm not using regular mustard. Mustard powder is totally good for this. And then we're just going to do one teaspoon of a fine sea salt. I like to use fine sea salt for this because it's such a fine granule that it kind of melts really quick in the sauce and it doesn't leave you a bunch of chunks. It does take very long. It integrates very well. And then probably more for looks than flavor, I'm going to do one teaspoon of black pepper. And then lastly, probably about four dashes of Worcestershire sauce. And that's pretty much it. It is good to go. All righty, ...

The art of smoke and fire

Once a backyard hobbyist, Aaron Franklin is now the James Beard Award-winning owner of Franklin Barbecue, where the line for his famous smoked brisket is hours long. Now the Central Texas barbecue specialist teaches you his meticulous low and slow process for mouth-watering ribs, pork butt, and brisket. With perfectly seasoned cuts and optimal temperatures, you'll learn to handle an offset smoker like a true pitmaster.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

There is so much to learn but you can eat your mistakes and have fun.

It gave me some great skills and knowledge to improve my BBQ

I really appreciate the amount of detail Aaron includes in his class. He provides a great foundation for any prospective pit master to build on.

I will undoubtedly tour this class again. Very inspiring!


A fellow student

Learning from a Master covers a LOT of ground. Learning from experience is the best lesson. There are no shortcuts or magic tricks. Just like most things, learning from tracking my progress and tweaking the process is the best way. Thank you for sharing Aaron!

David N.

"It might keep for a week or two, but I'm not really sure" Where is the science?

Robert C.

I would like to try this, but substitute the ketchup with mustard to make a version of South Carolina mustard-based BBQ sauce.

A fellow student

I would like to substitute the ketchup with canned tomato sauce. Anyone try that? I imagine you would need some some other type of thickening agent?

Paul S.

I posted a reply in the community, I found the recipe easy to follow. I changed a few ingredients which was due to having them on hand. The result was fantastic, I used the sauce on my rib cook yesterday and it was awesome.

Randy W.

The Download Lesson for BBQ Sauce brings up the Pork Ribs lesson. Is this intentional?

Andrew P.

Hello Master Class Team, I can seem to complete this lesson even if I had seen it 3 times. I want to feel proud I went through the whole thing! thanks!

Sam H.

He's using dry measuring cups for liquids which don't convert the same. Guessing we just follow what he's doing on the video instead of a printed recipe?

A fellow student

I am so glad this Aaron did this. Very happy with his attention to detail. High end BBQ.


Hey guys, make sure you join Aaron's Community! There you can discuss BBQ techniques and other class material, network with other BBQ-loving students, trade recipes and stay up to date on class contests & activities. Here's the link: