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Classic Kansas City BBQ Sauce Recipe inspired by Gates Bar-B-Q

Looking for a classic Kansas City BBQ Sauce recipe to make at home? There is none better than you’ll find at Gates Bar-B-Q in Kansas City.

John Padgett cooks Southern BBQ farther South than most people: in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

He opened a restaurant there focused on BBQ and worked to develop a range of sauces to compliment the pork.

He shared his Kansas City-style barbecue sauce with us, along with the story of how it was created:

“I’m a big mustard guy, myself, and my second favorite was always pure cider vinegar with red pepper flakes and salt; however, when I found a Kansas City recipe with ketchup (not overwhelming amounts) and cayenne, it won me over. In fact, that sauce was one of the favorites in the restaurant.

“When I began researching and testing recipes for the restaurant, I knew we wanted several varieties of sauces. Because the concept was Southern BBQ and the customer got to choose what kind of sauce he wanted, we called the restaurant The Naked Pig BBQ:  “We Leave The Dressing To You.” (I sold more T-shirts than food, lol.)

“I knew all about NC, SC, and Tennessee sauces and dry rubs, but not too much in the way of Kansas City-style sauces.  I had always heard that their sauces had a kick to them, so after testing several, I fell upon one that closely resembles Gates Bar-B-Q, and the rest was history.

“It was the perfect blend, and it went really well with the coleslaw I made, which resembled Memphis style slaw.”

Enjoy John’s classic homemade Gates Bar-B-Q style Kansas City BBQ sauce recipe:

Kansas City BBQ Sauce Recipe

Gates Bar-B-Q Style Kansas City BBQ Sauce

Yield: 80 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This recipe for Gates Bar-B-Q inspired homemade tomato-based barbecue sauce is a simple as mix and serve. No cooking required.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons celery seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin, ground
  • 2 tablespoons ground red pepper, (cayenne)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 quarts ketchup
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Simply mix the ingredients together and enjoy.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 80 Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 40Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 590mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 0g

Want More Authentic SC BBQ Recipes?

Check out our SC BBQ Cookbook. Complete with over 150 pages of recipes from generations-old family cookbooks and today's top pitmasters.

Check out these other authentic SCBBQ recipes we’ve published on destination-bbq:

Eastern SC Vinegar-Based Sauce Recipe

Home Team BBQ’s Alabama White Sauce Recipe

And we’ve published the following tomato-based sauce recipes in the SCBBQ Recipes: Going Whole Hog cookbook  (read more about that here):

Sauces and Rubs:

Tomato-Based Sauces

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