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Rigil (Rigil5) Writes:

"Does anyone have a copycat recipe for Arthur Bryant's BBQ sauce? Iv been trying for years, the only thing I can say is the base is pickle juice, tomato sauce and some kind of oil/butter/lard. The spices are Paprika, Cayenne pepper and others. Please let me know any other ideas."


November 22, 2006 at 10:37 pm
(1) Tom McHale says:

Try This




January 30, 2007 at 6:49 pm
(2) Bill Smith says:

With all respect Tom, Arthur Bryant’s Sauce wouldn’t have rice vinegar in it. I’m not saying it doesn’t taste like it, and I will certainly try it, but the origin of Arthur Bryants Sauce was from an area of Kansas City that would have never even heard of rice vinegar.

March 23, 2007 at 11:33 am
(3) Al Bailey says:

There’s one more ingredient needed – celery powder. When Mr. Bryant’s neice was mixing the seasonings by hand she occasionally would put too much of one thing or another in the blend, and on one occasion she overdid the celery powder.

December 13, 2007 at 10:36 am
(4) KJV says:

What gives the gritty texture?

September 9, 2010 at 5:39 pm
(5) Tom says:

I made Tom’s recipe and it’s gritty. No gound up peppers in mine. It’s the paprika that’s making it gritty. Other than that it’s not to bad.

April 15, 2008 at 3:40 pm
(6) Jack Clark says:

The gritty texture . . . I asked one of the AB’s people about that the last time I was there. He said it was ground-up dried peppers. Gotta work that in to the recipe somehow. Wouldn’t be the same.

May 10, 2008 at 5:38 pm
(7) Patrick says:

Since I eat at AB’s regularly, I decided to make this recipe. While not exactly like the AB classic, isn’t half bad. I modified the ingredients just a bit to cut down on sugar and increase spicyness. My version follows and I think it is a closer match:


June 1, 2008 at 3:39 pm
(8) Frank from St. Paul says:

Last week we got some mexican sauce which was called “achiote”
made with annato seeds. Seemed very similar, might be part of the graininess and taste of the never to be duplicated AB original.

The restaurant is a wonderful experience. Everybody was having a good time.

June 1, 2008 at 3:39 pm
(9) Frank from St. Paul says:

Last week we got some mexican sauce which was called “achiote”
made with annato seeds. Seemed very similar, might be part of the graininess and taste of the never to be duplicated AB original.

The restaurant is a wonderful experience. Everybody was having a good time.

June 30, 2008 at 5:50 pm
(10) Richard says:

When I lived in Chicago, a friend who went to school in KC used to drive to Bryant’s annually to refill a water-cooler bottle full of Bryant’s sauce. He said the secret ingredient was pig’s blood.

July 22, 2008 at 1:04 pm
(11) sherryb says:

Are you kidding?!? really, pig’s blood? if so, it must be the best pig’s blood in the world? Why do so many people want to re-creat this sauce? when they can go to the store and buy it??

December 26, 2008 at 2:57 pm
(12) A says:

With all due respect, I tried both of the recipes and they were quite disappointing, I found them to be quite rancid.

I have been making BBQ sauces for just over 4 years now (Yes, I’m still learning) and I found that there was something missing (tomato sauce?) something of that nature, I have concocted something similar which uses almost the same ingredients but with tomato sauce.

I realize that Bryant’s has been around for(100 years?) but there has to be something missing, until I ever make it to KC I will get the “experience” and maybe then I will be able to put my finger on it…

I appreciate the input that everyone has posted, it was worth a shot trying it out.

December 29, 2008 at 10:47 pm
(13) Shoe says:

I am good friends with Paul Kirk (KC Baron of BBQ) and he has ‘broke’ this recipe before, but would not disclose the whole recipe to me. But he did advise me that one of the main spice ingredients is crab boil spices. Sadly…I am still working on the rest.

July 19, 2009 at 6:28 pm
(14) candace says:

He sells this sauce by the bottle. Pigs blood is not an ingredient. Tomato paste is an ingredient.

September 17, 2009 at 9:54 am
(15) Richard Adams says:

Brown sugar is just white sugar with either light or dark molases mixed in (thus light or dark brown sugar). For 1/2 cup light brown sugar add 1/2 tsp. molases and mix well (it really does eventually mix in). I live in Kansas City, MO.

September 17, 2009 at 10:04 am
(16) Richard Adams says:

AB’s sauce is not typical KC tomato based. It is vinegary. It has some tomato paste in it. If I used Patrick’s recipe, I would add 1 tsp. celery seed and 1/2 small can tomato paste. Celery seed is very strong so don’t use more. I am not the same Richard from comment 9.

September 17, 2009 at 10:34 am
(17) Marvin Stamm says:

The Travel Channel is showing a barbeque show featuring Arthur Bryant’s, which must be why all the interest. Starting with patrick’s recipe, use 1 cup apple cider vinegar. Who ever heard of balsamic or red wine vinegar in Kansas City in 1905?
Add 1 tsp celery salt and ground dried red cayenne or jalapeno peppers, about 1 tsp. And black pepper should be 2 or 3 tsp. There is your gritty quality. And 1/2 cup brown sugar. It is supposed to be vinegary so no more sugar. I also live on KC and am 87 years old. I know my additions to patrick’s recipe are the real deal.

October 27, 2009 at 5:53 pm
(18) Tim D says:

What about the ‘sage’ flavor it has a lot of. I see no sage in the recipe listed. That’s what I like sooo much of in AB original sauce!

January 27, 2010 at 7:50 pm
(19) arkminer says:

Well, dang.. i just threw away the bottle but the last thing listed is LARD… When you see the large bottles in the store, there are several layers. I’m not sure why, but when A. Bryant’s was sold to a corperation the taste has not been the same. In my opinion. Plus, the size of the sandwiches are smaller. don’t eat at any of the stores except the one at 18th and Brooklyn ;-)

February 14, 2010 at 9:53 am
(20) normzach says:

two attempts with bryants rub and bbq on ribs – first time just the rub, second time just the sauce – both times discarded ribs as the paprika and cayenne pepper in the rub and sauce were over bearing (paprika listed as no. 1 ingredient) and left an very unpleasant after taste. rub and sauce consigned to the trash.

will not recommend

February 25, 2010 at 8:03 pm
(21) Arkminer says:

Normzack, guess that why there is about 100 BBQ places =)

June 24, 2010 at 6:37 pm
(22) Appie says:

Oh yeah, TRY THIS:

2 cups water
1.5 cups white vinegar (that’s right, you fancy bastards!)
1 (8oz) can tomato paste
1/4 cup lard
1/4 cup molasses
2 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp ground celery seed
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dry mustard

‘Nuff said, end of the thread!

August 30, 2010 at 11:22 am
(23) diana says:

I was there just yesterday and there is definitely cumin in there. I couldn’t put my finger on that taste until I remembered that, to me anyway, cumin tastes like B.O. smells (haha). Hand-ground Cumin & celery seed (or at least rough ground) would also add to gritty texture as well. By far, the best ribs I’ve ever had. Now…onto try Memphis ribs!

December 26, 2010 at 1:43 pm
(24) Rick says:

Well, obviously, personal tastes vary…A LOT! And regionally, people tend to like what they grew up on and have already cultivated a taste for.
I donít have such preconceived notions. Being from L.I., NY, I did not grow up on BBQ. I have lived in VA for the past 30 years and learned to enjoy BBQ. I have also eaten at ABs and loved it. I am searching for a great sauce and canít stand commercial sauces found in stores which are so sweet they reek of sugar. I will have to make it myself. Even if I were not a type 2 diabetic, I donít like sweet stuff as part of a meal except for side dishes (e.g. cranberry relish), dessert, or snacks. So I was encouraged to see that there are BBQ sauces that are vinegar based rather than molasses based (yech) or corn syrup based (double yech) .
I realize it only sheds partial light, but the bottle of Arthur Bryantís Rich & Spicy Sauce says the ingredients in the bottle are:

I donít know if what they put in the jars differs from the sauce at the restaurant (other than the sodium benzoate), but clearly if the recipe doesnít have tomato paste and brown sugar (not molasses, then it can not be correct.

July 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm
(25) Mark Socha says:

I tried all of these recipes, I don’t think any are all that close. I’ve been working on this for three months and have sampled about a gallon on sauce, and today, July 31, 2011, I think I have come up with the closest yet (according to my taste buds). I’d love to hear comments or suggestions:

Mark Socha’s recipe:

1/2 cup distilled vinegar (all other recipes use too much)
1.5 cups water
1/2 cup paproka
1/4 mustard (this is what gives it the orange color, and I believe to be the secret ingredient)
1/8 cup kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup lard
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cummin

Cook over medium heat, bring to a boil, let cool.

This recipe is so close it’s not even funny. I read everyone’s suggestions on ingredients. Someone said Arthur Bryant once bragged that his sauce was not tomato based. But the bottle says it has tomato paste. And lard.

But, the sauce has changed over the past 30 years. When I first tried it, it was not thick, but runny, and if you got some under your fingernails, you couldn’t wash it off, it had to wear off. Back then it was a lot more orange in color. It was a lot spicier in 1980. But for the most part, except for the texture, it has stayed mostly the same. My recipe is similar to the old, original.

I’d love to hear comments.

August 20, 2011 at 9:36 pm
(26) Brian says:

Great job, I feel like I’m back in KC. Is there anyway to get it a little thicker?

August 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm
(27) Mark Socha says:

To get this thicker, try 1 cup of water rather than 1.5 cups, or a little tomato past

October 24, 2011 at 11:59 am
(28) Zack Hensley says:

Mark! I just tried this recipe with a few little tweaks but it was PERFECT!

I added 2 teas. Of tomato paste a tablespoon of brown sugar, and a teas. Of chayenne ( like things on the hotter side) I did a cup of water instead of 1.5

All I all It was thick and beautiful and exactly like AB’s

I think I’ll be making it for a long time! Thank you!

October 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm
(29) Mark Socha says:

Thanks. My daughter makes her own cloths (shirts, dresses, etc). It costs more for her to do that, plus the time, than it would to go out and buy the cloths. She asked me the other day, why don’t you just go out and buy the sauce. I asked her why she doesn’t go out and buy her cloths.

End of conversation.

December 1, 2011 at 1:41 pm
(30) Tony Berry says:

Why do I think that I am tasting tumeric, which I love, by the way…?

February 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm
(31) Bill Smith says:

I do believe we have a close recipe here. I first posted in 2007. And getting rid of the exotic rice and balsami vinegars is a great start. People ask why we just don’t go buy it…..well they just don’t understand that for some people, they have an innate desire to duplicate a good recipe. It’s sort of all about the challenge, I think. Having a son who lives in KC, I always have a bottle. They are given to me at various Christmas and birthdays, but it’s still fun to try to come up with a close recipe. But believe me, knowing the origins of Arthur Bryant at 17th and Brooklyn in Kansas City…..it was a pretty simple recipe. It may have changed some through the years but it’s still the best I’ve ever had. However, everyone has different tastes.
Bill Smith

March 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm
(32) Mike P says:

I used to live in KC back when Aurthur was still alive. When you went into the place there was always a 5 gal. water bottle full of sauce or two in one of the windows on the ledge, which caught the afternoon sun. The bottle had distinct layers of different ingredients, some clear. I always assumed this was a curing process for the sauce. This was not in any kind of refridgeration. You slipped the guy making sandwichs a buck and your sandwich was so huge you could make 3 or4 more from it! The french fries were incredible and the oil may have rarely been changed. There was iced mugs of Pabst Blue Ribbon for $.75, before it was ironic to drink it. I had heard at the time that people had done some lab analysis on the sauce and could not crack it exactly. Heading back next week to KC and will stop by 18th Brooklyn store. From ratings I see online it is no longer KC’s most popular spot for BBQ, but it is a classic in my book even if a little of the MOJO has slipped away.

May 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm
(33) Tom McHale says:

Boy a lot of comments since I posted in 2006. I’ll try Mark’s receipe sounds good. Innthe early late 70′s early 80′s I used to visit TWA and always made it to Arthur Bryant’s for a rib sandwich – butcher paper, couple of slices of white bread and a rack of ribs and sauce. Can still taste it.

May 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm
(34) Thomas Z says:

Mike p

That counterman was Richard Ainsworth. Not sure of spelling. Richard had HUGE hands, and could put a pound of meat on your sandwich. If you got a combo ham, beef, or pork or turkey, you would be eating all day. The fries were handed out in the same way.
When I was going as a youngster, the old municipal stadium housed both the KC As and the Chiefs. I remember well those bottles of sauce ageing in the front window. I also remember the bull mastiff that prowled behind the counter, cleaning up the scraps.
The beer was served in real glass mugs, with about 3/8 inch of ice coating the interior. Great memories.

May 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm
(35) MJ says:

I assume it’s Original sauce people are trying to reproduce. I’ve tried Rich & Spicy and it’s not especially interesting.

Based on color, consistency, and taste, I think there is a lot of achiote paste in the Original sauce. Achiote paste is available in little boxes in Mexican or Puerto Rican markets, near the bouillon granules.

Achiote paste is made from the orange-red coating from achiote seeds (AKA annatto) with some salt, garlic, and cumin.

I’m going to try Mark’s recipe, but expect I’ll be substituting achiote for the paprika.

June 1, 2012 at 10:09 am
(36) Zaaaguy72 says:

Marks recipe is very close except for one key element. AB uses “double strength” pickle juice as the vinegar element. Why do you think you get a big handfull of pickle chips with every sandwich??

June 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm
(37) Danny Breeds says:

I’m looking forward to trying Mark’s recipe this weekend. I’m going to follow it exactly except for a dash of sugar and some tomato paste to thicken it just a bit. I’ll report back on Monday.

I’m with others on here. There is just no way Arthur had access to Achiote sees or the exotic vinegars. However he made it, it was simple ingredients that he had access to in KC. I think Mark’s is on the money and maybe someday, I’ll even have the guts to try the pickle juice as a substitute for the vinegar. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if that’s what Arthur used.

Arthur Bryant’s remains the only restaurant I’ve driven 500 miles to eat at. Woke up on a winter morning in Minneapolis, had the hankering, and drove to KC for dinner. Nothing beats it.

June 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm
(38) Danny Breeds says:

So I made Mark’s version of the sauce with the ingredients plus the tomato paste and brown sugar. And unfortunately, the first version of it was inedible. The power from the white vinegar was frankly repulsive. I had to throw it out. But, there was enough there that I definitely thought Mark was on the right path.

So, I made it again. This time, I used Apple Cider Vinegar. I also cut it down even further to a 1/4 cup. And I’ll be damned if I didn’t have the closest thing to Arthur Bryant’s BBQ sauce. Here is the final version that I think nails it with my additions to the quantities as well:

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (all other recipes use too much)
1.5 cups water
1/2 cup paprika (Spanish if you can find it)
1/4 mustard (this is what gives it the orange color, and I believe to be the secret ingredient: Mark is probably right)
1/8 cup kosher salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
1/4 cup lard
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Cook over medium high heat. Bring it to a boil, remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to a jar with a tight seal and let sit for at least 24 hours. The sauce will thicken sufficiently in this time. It will still be loose than a standard KC sauce, but will stay together.

As others have noted, you could try to use a pickling liquid in place of the vinegar. I didn’t have any on hand to try that. But the key to the recipe is that a little vinegar goes a long, long way. Thanks to Mark as I believe he laid out the correct path to the finish line. I hope my advancements brought us further to our goal.

July 2, 2012 at 12:30 am
(39) keith popely says:

Thanks, Danny. I’ll be trying your version tomorrow or the next day.

July 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm
(40) Bill says:

I don’t know about y’all but anything with that much paprika In it is gonna taste like mud. Anyone that makes this is gonna end up throwing it away.

July 18, 2012 at 1:24 pm
(41) Danny Breeds says:


While you are obviously entitled to your opinion, I find it interesting that you simply deride the effort without suggesting one of your own. Here’s what I know. I had a BBQ for 20 people this past Saturday. I made this sauce. I didn’t have to throw any away. Next time, I should probably plan on making more. But hey, I’m sure it was just that these people didn’t know any better right?

Reduce the amount of paprika if you think it’s the key. But at least grace us with your infinite wisdom regarding the AB secret recipe since you claim to know how things will taste just from seeing them on the Internet.

July 21, 2012 at 5:56 pm
(42) Allan C says:

Have made this recipe for about three months now since I first saw Mark’s posting. Have never had to throw any away and use the amount of paprika posted. I’ve always used the apple cider vinegar and today will try the tweeks Danny’s brought to the recipe. Incidentally, I don’t use any brown sugar. We love this sauce.

August 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm
(43) Damn Skippy says:

Can I get a point of clarification? In Mark’s recipe, the quantity and form of the mustard: that is 1/4 Cup of prepared yellow mustard (like you put on hot dogs)?? Not some ground yellow mustard seed? I am building up the courage to try this recipe. BTW, here in the St. Louis area, I have found the AB original sauce in stock at my local Super Walmart (at least two locations had it). The price was $3.29 a bottle (so I stocked up).

September 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm
(44) Tony says:

@DSkippy, it’s yellow, prepared mustard.

I was at AB’s in July and Mark and Danny’s recipes seems to make a good approximation.

I went off of Mark’s, but added the garlic powder and tomato paste like Danny, as well as 0.5 teaspoons of celery salt and turmeric. I also halved the sugar, as I don’t recall it being sweet, and halved the salt, since I thought AB’s was too salty to being with. The celery salt also has, um, well, salt.

Some notes:

In my next batch, I’m thinking about upping the vinegar by up to a half. It just didn’t seem like it had the same bite as AB’s.

I’ll also may reduce the tomato paste somewhat I think the resulting consistency was too thick and it muted the other flavors. I added it last and thought the sauce was spot on right before its addition.

Also, to the posters above talking about ground peppers, paprika is ground peppers, and paprika is what makes this sauce.

September 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm
(45) Danny Breeds says:


Arthur used to claim he never put tomato in his sauce. I did it mainly to thicken it up a bit as I don’t think it has much flavor, but you can definitely skip it.

I’m glad you tried it and think it’s on the right path. Someday, we’ll get that baby down to a science.

October 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm
(46) Johnny Boy says:

Fenugreek. Try it. You’ll like it.

February 24, 2013 at 3:49 am
(47) Matthew Smith says:

Does anybody know the recipe to AB’s BBQ Rub?

March 2, 2013 at 4:36 pm
(48) waynewalt says:

I read in here that it would stain under your finger nails yellow. That would be turmeric. Would also give it an orange color.

May 15, 2013 at 10:24 pm
(49) Sid B says:

I like Danny Breed’s version. I live in Alaska and my brother brought me a bottle per my request, because it is my wife’s favorite sauce. I modified Danny’s by using PBR beer in place of water. Getting close and a very usuable recipe. Not quite their yet. I use to go there in the old days and the flavor is definitely something that I will never forget. My son brought some homemade Gate’s and Sons last week. Almost identical to the real stuff. Gate’s and Sons is my all time favorite.

September 23, 2013 at 2:36 am
(50) MikeLM says:

Driving from Chicago to Houston some years ago, went 300 extra miles out of our way to have lunch at Arthur Bryant’s. It was worth the trip. Bought a bottle of the sauce. Ingredient list was pretty vague about the spices, but it listed celery seed. I think that’s one of the secrets of its great flavor. Amusingly, the BBQ sauce in the Cookbook <i>The Fanny Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook,</i> 1964 edition also calls for celery seed. The word seems to have spread from KC all the way to Boston.

The day after Bryant passed away, the editorial cartoon in the KC Star was a picture of AB carrying a briefcase and trudging up a cloudy path toward the Pearly Gates. Saint Peter is running toward him, arms outstretched and beard flying over his shoulder. The caption is “Did You Bring the Recipe?”

December 7, 2013 at 2:02 am
(51) Lufus Satartia says:

Grew up a little over a mile from the the original Brooklyn Ave. location though I now live in St. Louis. Have eaten there or, more likely, carried out bags of sandwiches and fries, more times than I could ever count. In fact, I was in KC a few weeks ago and stopped for some Q and a bottle of the original recipe sauce.

So I was pretty excited to find this thread as I have searched before for the recipe w/ no results. I tried three versions (Danny Breeds recipe, same made with pickle juice instead of the water & vinegar, and equal volumes of those two mixed together). The texture is right-on and the sauce did thicken as Danny says. All three had interesting flavors and might make a good stand-alone sauce. I like Danny’s original best with the mixture second (pickle juice was a bit too strong for my taste so less might be better). Sadly, IMO the flavor is missing something. Not sure what but I just thought of Masa Harina, as a possible ingredient to try. Have used it in Chili and liked the result so maybe??.

January 4, 2014 at 9:40 pm
(52) Albemarle Willie says:

Mr. Bryant’s Original is decent sauce but, I’m a simple man and I like a simple sauce:
Per Cup White vinegar
the rest ‘more or less’
TB Cayenne
TB light brown sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
a dash or 3 of tabasco
mix in a saucepan
heat on low heat for a few minutes to take the edge off the vinegar a little.

January 7, 2014 at 9:10 pm
(53) MikeLM says:

Dang it, Willie- if you ain’t got the celery seed you ain’t got Arthur’s sauce!

January 15, 2014 at 9:16 am
(54) Dave M says:

I know this is an old thread, however I only just found it.

Thanks for all the great work from everyone in trying to great this GREAT BBQ sauce recipe worked out.

I’ve been trying for quite some time to get it as exact as I can.

Here’s something for you all to chew on. The ingredient listing on the label has CHANGED since 2005/2006.

It used to read:

water, apple cider vinegar, salt, spices, tomato paste, lard (pork fat), celery seed, dehydrated onion, dehydrated garlic, sodium benzoate,
partially hydrogenated soybean oil

Now it reads:

Water, seasoning (sugar, mustard flour, spices, dried garlic, dried onion, soybean oil), vinegar, salt, tomato paste, lard, xanthum gum, sodium benzoate (preservative).

The original label was purchased at the store itself, and I kept to bottle. I think as they started marketing it on a wider basis they added the xanthum gum as an emulsifier. I’m also guessing that they additionally included the celery seed “spices”.

I can say that I believe the celery seed is the gritty element.

As for spices I have used:

Cumin (a little)

Anyone have any further thoughts?



January 15, 2014 at 9:48 am
(55) Dave says:

I just found this thread! Lots of people have done a lot of work on this one.

Here’s what my research (started in 2003 and off-and-on since):

The original label in 2003 (bottle purchased at store) listed the ingredients as:

water, vinegar, salt, black pepper, spices, tomato paste, lard (pork fat), ground celery seed, dehydrated minced onion, dehydrated finely minced garlic, sodiium benzoate (preservative), partially hydrogenated soybean oil

The ingredients are now listed as:

Water, seasoning (sugar mustard flour, spices, dried garlic, dried onion, soybean oil), vinegar, salt tomato paste, lard, xanthum gum, sodium benzoate (preservative)

I have found that, like MikeLM said, that ground celery seed is important, and gives that gritty texture.

I have never used sugar. Arthur claimed that he never used tomato, so I’m not sure what to do with that!

I think Danny is real close!

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