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Dr. Pepper Barbecue Sauce drizzled in a bowl

Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce sounds incredible to most of us! But why are home versions lacking in the Dr. Pepper flavor department? 

It’s questions like these that put good home cooks to work, and as I stood at my local Sprouts pondering why that bottle of Stubb’s Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce tasted so much more “Dr. Peppery” than my own, I committed to finding out a way to punch that much flavor into a jar of my own homemade sauce.

Secretly, I knew that Stubb’s was probably hand delivered an extract from Dr. Pepper themselves and it did occur to me to just buy a Dr. Pepper extract off of Amazon.

(Home soda makers do this all the time, and for those of you who have my cookbook you will remember we do the same thing when making homemade root beer in flip top bottles.)

But something about that seemed like cheating, so I marched forth with a more honest method… creating my own quick concentrate by reducing a couple cans of DP on my stovetop.

This process is easy enough. I just pour 2 cans of Dr. Pepper into a medium saucepan, and simmer until maybe 2-3 T. of syrup is left.

Essentially, what we’re doing is forcing the carbonated water in the soda to evaporate, leaving behind the syrup, which is the essence of the cola.

Guess what?! It worked PRETTY GOOD YALL!

Dr Pepper Barbecue Sauce Recipe Dripping From A Spoon

Once you have the extract, it’s a total breeze to make barbecue sauce. You just add the other ingredients and simmer until it’s rich and saucy. As with any barbecue sauce the flavors really enhance overnight and this one is not different. The Dr. Peppery flavor really takes over on Day 2.

You can throw this sauce into jars and it will last for quite awhile refrigerated. I think my last batch is on week 3 and it’s still bone-sucking good.

Dr Pepper Barbecue Sauce Recipe in a mason jar

For more great party snacks check out our most popular recipe of all time, Texas Brisket Queso and our Sparkling Tipsy Berries!

Here is the recipe for the Dr. Pepper Barbecue Sauce

If you make the recipe, post it to social media and tag Urban Cowgirl!

I’d love to see how it turns out!

Yields 2 ¾ c. sauce

Dr. Pepper Barbecue Sauce
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2 cans of Dr. Pepper

1 ¼ c. ketchup

½ c. white vinegar

½ c. tomato sauce

2 T. molasses

¼ c. honey

2 t. buffalo sauce

¼ t. salt

¼ t. onion powder

½ t. red pepper flakes

1/8 t. celery seed

1/8 t. cayenne

OPTIONAL: Finish off after cooking with ¼ c. uncooked Dr. Pepper if desired for an extra punch of flavor!


In a medium sauce pan, pour in 2 cans of Dr. Pepper, and turn heat to medium high. Bring to a boil a reduce until syrupy, but do not burn! You may need to turn down the heat. Reduce down, to about 1/3 c. of Dr. Pepper syrup. When done, remove from heat.

To the reduction, add all of the other ingredients and whisk well. Return to the stove and cook over low heat 15-20 minutes until combined. Add in final splash of Dr. Pepper if using. Remove from heat and taste for seasoning.

Store in jars and refrigerate until ready to use. It will enhance in flavor over a few hours, or overnight.

Use on chicken, ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and all your favorite barbecue.

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