Luther’s BBQ Sauce

In Houston Luther’s was known for having really good BBQ, their sauce was smoky, but not overly sweet.  This is our recreation that tastes like their BBQ sauce.  You can use this sauce on brisket, ribs, chicken, and much more.
barbecue sauce

This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for a week if you want to make some ahead of time, or you can even make some to enjoy later down the road.  If you are looking for a BBQ sauce that captures some of what makes Texas BBQ so delicious this recipe is just what you are looking for.

Luther’s Barbecue Sauce

barbecue sauce

Luther’s BBQ Sauce

While the restaurant may not be around anymore, you can still make their BBQ Sauce at home.
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Luther’s BBQ Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 693kcal


  • 18 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-3 teaspoons liquid smoke


  • Mix all ingredients in a medium sized pot, and simmer for 1 hour.


Calories: 693kcal | Carbohydrates: 174g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 5077mg | Potassium: 2222mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 162g | Vitamin A: 2415IU | Vitamin C: 38.7mg | Calcium: 199mg | Iron: 7.1mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. David

    I’d rally like to know the recipe for their seasoned salt that they put on their frys. Anyone have that? I’ve tried several brands of seasoned salts and nothing comes close to what Luther’s used.

  2. Gasper pumila

    Does anyone have the Luther’s rib rub recipe? Please share. I also loved the onion ring loaf and there bbq beans were the best. Anyone know how to duplicate all this?

  3. Ron Tryner

    My first exposure to Houston, Texas BBQ was Luthers back in 1975. I cried when Papas bought hem out. Like everything else around here: the ones that can’t buy-out those that can. The only place that comes close is Demiris BBQ, their sauce has the same kick as Luthers did.

  4. Lisa

    Not even close. My dad was VP of Luther’s and he’s the one who created all of the Luther’s recipes. The recipes were passed down to me.

    • Kathy

      Oh my gosh, I’m looking for the recipe to make the beef rice they served! It was awesome and I’ve never had anything like it since – This was in the late late 70s m, early 80s! Anyone know the recipe and can share??

  5. Michelle

    This recipe is way off. So disappointed. Too thick, too much tomato flavor, and no kick. I haven’t had Luther’s since I moved away many years ago, but this is nothing like my memory of their wonderful sauce. Thanks to Mark for pointing out the real recipe. Look forward to trying that method.

  6. Mark

    This isn’t even close. I was a GM at both Denver locations in the mid-80’s. and people will be shocked at what the recipe is. Basically you chop onions and boil the heck out of them, let the water boil down, this is like concentrated onion water, then you add Open Pit, Yes-Open Pit original bbq sauce to that with brown sugar and Coke Syrup, as in the Coke Syrup restaurants get that they use in their drink systems. If you can’t find Coke Syrup you can add a couple cans of Coke to the water you boil the onions in, the trick is to reduce this to a semi-concentrate. You boil that down and you will be surprized. If after adding everything else the sauce is too thick you just add water and reduce it to where you want the thickness to be. that’s it folks, I’ve been using the recipe for years and winning rib contests all along.

  7. Liz Nelson

    5 stars
    I miss Luther’s so much! I don’t like Papa’s BBQ sauce Luther’s was so much better! I also miss their onion rings. Do you have the recipe for their onion rings? I would so love to be able to make them at home!

    • Stephanie

      So one time I went into Luther’s and someone ordered that onion ring loaf, and went over to the baked potato bar, and scooped up a bunch of butter on it, and ate it. My arteries hardened for that person.

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