Char’s Beer BBQ Sauce Recipe

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One of our family’s most precious possessions is my husband’s grandmother’s old recipe box. The weathered metal box is full of food history. We called her “Mom Mom”, but her name was Charlene – Char for short. From her amazing recipe for dill pickled okra to this Beer BBQ Sauce Recipe, she certainly had a flair for flavor. When Yuengling invited us to celebrate their 190th Anniversary with time-honored family recipes, we knew we had to give this recipe a try.

A jar of barbecue sauce next to a beer and an old-fashioned recipe box

Char’s Beer BBQ Sauce Recipe

BBQ Sauce is kind of a big deal where we are from. Southern connections with grilling and barbecue run deep, and everyone has a sauce recipe or two up their sleeve. Char has 8! That’s right, in our treasured box of recipes passed down the line on my husband’s side, there are 8 different recipes for BBQ sauce.

When Yuengling asked us to share a great family recipe to pair with beer, I knew immediately that I was going to make the one labeled “Bar-B-Que Sauce” that uses 12 full ounces of beer. I could think of no better lager to use than Yuengling.

Join us in Celebrating 190 Years of Yuengling and look for limited-edition, 190th Yuengling Lager beer cans. These 5 commemorative cans pay tribute to their enduring history, and the entrepreneurial spirit and relentless determination that has made them America’s Oldest Brewery.

The story of Yuengling is that of a family business. The family has been brewing beer in Pottsville, Pennsylvania since 1829. We are all about family business around here! And beer. 🙂 Click here to read more of the Yuengling story and learn how the daughters are moving the business into the next generation.

Yuengling Traditional Lager

This BBQ sauce recipe is full of bold flavors. It is not a typical sweet + sticky sauce. Char’s Beer BBQ Sauce is perfect for marinating and basting. Full of salty + savory ingredients, this spicy sauce is quite the surprise! Just wait until you read the ingredient list.

I have to admit, when I first read Mom Mom’s recipe, I was like…”What?” The combination of ingredients is unusual, but the result on grilled chicken is spectacular. The peppery heat and tang from the fresh lemons melds with the beer…hard to explain. So let’s get right to it.

Overhead flat lay shot of recipe box, beer can, spices, vintage spoon, and a hand written recipe card for barbecue sauce

Ingredients Needed:

  • Ketchup
  • Beer
  • Salsa
  • Canned tomatoes with green chiles
  • Red wine
  • Butter
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Onion
  • Lemon
  • Mustard
  • Black pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic salt
  • Celery Salt
  • Hot Sauce
  • Jalapeno pepper
  • Yep…all of these things!

Bryan and I can both picture Mom Mom in the kitchen making this barbecue sauce. You know how it goes… a little of this, a little of that. Poking through the pantry to see what else you could add to really spice it up. Charlene was from the generation that used what they had.

I’ve never made a sauce recipe quite like this before, but I’ve got to say…this recipe is straight proof that people did know how to cook long before the internet. 🙂

Family picture collage

Mom Mom was like a character out of a Southern story, and y’all would have loved her. She loved to cook, adored her dogs, and no one could catch more fish than her. (True story!)

Here’s a picture of her actual hand-written recipe. I love the fact that she used beer as the primary liquid ingredient for this bbq sauce recipe. It really deepens the flavor and brings it all together. (Better than using water.)

Family recipe card for Char's Beer BBQ Sauce Recipe

How to Make Char’s Beer BBQ Sauce Recipe:

  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, stir together all of the ingredients until well-combined.
  2. Bring to a low boil, stirring frequently.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reaches your desired thickness.

When these ingredients start coming together, you’ll know this is going to be good. Note, there are NO sweet ingredients, and the only sugar in this bbq sauce is what is in the ketchup and other ingredients.

TIP: For a smoother sauce, use an immersion blender when it is finished cooking to break up the onion, tomatoes, and peppers. This is what we did. Just be sure to pull out the lemon slices first!

A can of beer being poured into a pot of barbecue sauce

If you love this recipe, you should check these out:

Mom Mom’s Dilly Pickled Onion Rings

Roasted Tomato Jam with Yuengling Beer Brats

From now through 5/1/2019, save $2.00 off Yuengling 12 packs OR two 6 packs. You can also save $4.00 off of a 24 pack purchase. Please note that the offer may vary by state, so check your local store for details.

Overhead picture of a blue dutch oven with barbecue sauce

As we imagine Char making this recipe, we also have to wonder what they used this sauce on. Like I mentioned earlier, this is not a traditional sauce. With the amount of salt and acidic ingredients, it definitely works as a marinade.

TIP: To turn this sauce into a “table-style” sauce, I would cut the amount of pepper, garlic salt, and celery salt in half.

We had to try it on some grilled chicken quarters. I poured a cup of the prepared bbq sauce recipe over fresh chicken, flipped to coat both sides well. The sauce gives the chicken so much flavor, helps tenderize the meat, and gives the final dish a gorgeous color and aroma.

Chicken quarters marinating in barbecue sauce

Plus, I can think of no better way to enjoy a cold Yuengling beer than standing grill side, can you?

Today, Yuengling is operated by its 6th generation —all women, four sisters, who have combined over 60 years of brewery experience — Jen, Wendy, Debbie and Sheryl Yuengling. So let’s raise a toast to strong and successful women everywhere…including our dear angel Charlene.

While the chicken is grilling, baste it with more of the prepared sauce. If you like it thick, leave it as is. You can thin it down with more beer if you prefer a thinner, mopping consistency.

Yuengling Traditional Lager - 190th Anniversary Collector's Can

Congratulations to Yuengling for carrying on a time-honored family tradition for 190 years!

More Tips on Making + Using This BBQ Sauce Recipe:

  • For a smoother sauce, blend it using a handheld immersion blender.
  • This recipe makes 8 cups, and makes a great gift for fellow sauce lovers. (We bet they’ve never had anything like it!)
  • Thin with more Yuengling lager for a thinner consistency.
  • Marinate fresh chicken wings with this sauce for 24 hours, then grill. WOW!
  • Brush over shrimp before grilling for a spicy seafood dish. (That’s what I’m going to do with it next.)
  • Make it hotter by adding more jalapenos.

A plate with a grilled, sauced chicken quarter served with fried cabbage

Now THIS looks like a meal Mom Mom would have served! Spicy, grilled chicken with her homemade beer bbq sauce with a side of skillet-fried cabbage. So good!

Char's Beer BBQ Sauce Recipe

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Char's Beer BBQ Sauce Recipe | Buy This Cook That
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4.91 from 11 votes

Char's Beer BBQ Sauce Recipe

Full of wow flavor and surprising ingredients, this family Beer BBQ Sauce Recipe is perfect for marinating and basting chicken and shrimp. You won't believe everything that's in this sauce, or how great it tastes. (Not your ordinary sauce!)
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Keyword bbq sauce recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 16 Half Cup Servings
Calories 122kcal
Author Buy This Cook That


  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 8 ounces salsa
  • 10 ounces diced tomatoes + green chiles
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce plus 3 Tablespoons
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup mustard
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 jalapeno seeded, finely chopped


  • In a large pot or dutch oven, combine all ingredients. Stir until well-combined.
  • Heat over medium-high heat to a low boil, stirring frequently.
  • Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce reaches desired thickness.
  • Remove lemons. You can leave the sauce chunky, as is, or make it smooth with an immersion blender. 
  • Store in an air tight jar in the fridge.


Note that the serving size for this recipe is generous, at half a cup per serving. If you use less, this is a great low-carb barbecue sauce recipe. 
This sauce can be canned using a water bath, process jars for 15 minutes. 
To convert this sauce to a savory "table-style" barbecue sauce, cut the pepper, garlic salt and celery salt in HALF. 


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 122kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 2249mg | Potassium: 264mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 845IU | Vitamin C: 9.2mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

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