Kansas City Style Dr Pepper Mop – BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauces vary from region to region, and if you’re going to claim your sauce is from a particular region, it

better be accurate.  Otherwise, just call it BBQ sauce.

Kansas City style BBQ sauce is a tomato based sauce with a complex sweet/sour, smokey and tangy flavor profile.  That’s very open to interpretation, but essentially it’s a sweeter BBQ sauce, with well-blended and bold flavors.  And lots of smoke.  Traditionally, the smoke comes from the bbq itself, and cooking meats for a long time over hard wood fires.  BBQ pit masters become very particular regarding their selections and ‘blends’ of hardwood.  Some use hickory, mesquite, oak, applewood, cedar, and so on, others use blends of hardwoods.  In the end, whatever you choose, the smoke makes the difference.

As you can probably tell from previous posts, I have an abnormal obsession with bbq.  As a chef, as an amateur, at home, in a restaurant, as a personal favorite, it’s far and away one of my favorite food preparations.  I am passionate about great bbq, and feel that over the years, I have developed a trick or two.  I hope you enjoy my recipe, and moreover enjoy the subtle differences that make my sauce my own.

This particular sauce, also known as a ‘mop’ due to its thick and viscous nature, calls for liquid smoke to add the smokiness, and I love using Dr Pepper to add a little additional sweetness and complexity of flavor.  Bringing the sugar to full caramel stage before adding anything additional also adds complexity of flavor, and helps darken the sauce.  It seems to work very well with other bbq flavors.  Otherwise and in essence, it’s more or less a basic dynamite bbq sauce!

Kansas City Style Dr Pepper Mop – BBQ Sauce

Prep time:  5 minutes
Cook time:  1 hr
Yield:  2 cups finished sauce


2 cups ketchup
4 tbsp French’s yellow mustard
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cans regular dr pepper
1/2 yellow onion, rough chop
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp chili powder


In a heavy bottom sauce pan, begin heating the granulated sugar with about 1 tbsp water.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until medium amber caramel.  Add the brown sugar.  Cook for about another 30 seconds.  Add the vinegar and vigorously until the caramel is completely dissolved.  Add the dr pepper and bring to a simmer.  Add everything else, bring to a low simmer, and simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Strain and use right away.


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