Dee’s Homemade BBQ Sauce and Baby Back Ribs

Once you try this homemade bbq sauce, you’re gonna wanna drink it! The sweetness of the orange juice combined with the tanginess of the mustard and vinegar make for one amazing bbq sauce to douse all over these tender baby back ribs.

dee's bbq sauce dripping from spoon

I’m not sure what the name of this barbecue sauce used to be, but since I’ve known it I’ve always called it Dee’s BBQ Sauce because Dee is the one who gave it to me.

I used to work with a woman named Dee so many years ago and when we worked closely together, we used to sit in our office and talk about food. Food, food, and more food. How we got on the subject of homemade bbq sauce I have no idea, but somehow we did and eventually Dee gave me her family’s recipe.

I was blown away when I made this for the first time. The OJ is the most unusual thing I’ve ever seen in a bbq sauce, but I’m telling ya it WORKS!!! My mom and I constantly say how we could literally drink this sauce, and usually when making it we have to “sample” it many times. Haha!

dee's bbq sauce and ribs


  • Orange juice — sounds pretty strange to have orange juice in bbq sauce, but it really works!
  • Butter — anything with butter is better and this sauce proves that theory.
  • Sugar — makes it a sweet barbecue sauce.
  • Vinegar — white distilled vinegar adds a little tang.
  • Mustard — the bright yellow stuff, also adds tanginess.
  • Ketchup — a usual candidate in Kansas City style bbq sauces.
  • Worcestershire — gives a salty, umami like flavor. Also found in a lot of Kansas City sauces.


This is a two-step sauce, but it takes really no time to come together. About 30 minutes of cooking and you’re done!

Bring the orange juice, butter, sugar, vinegar, and mustard to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the ketchup and Worcestershire and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. If desired, add hot sauce to taste.

bbq sauce in jar


One of my favorite things to do with this sauce is slather it on a rack of baby back ribs. I used to smoke my ribs and while the flavor of smoke on ribs is amazing, I never could get them tender enough.

My mom has a technique for cooking ribs that makes the most tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs I’ve ever had, so I began using her method and will never go back to cooking ribs any other way.

If you already have an electric skillet, you’re halfway there. If not, you should think about getting one. I use it for a lot of things, such as my Red Wine Braised Pot Roast and my Gluten Free English Muffins to name a few. This is the one I use as it works really well for braising meats.

Make sure to remove the silver skin from the underside of the rack of ribs. Make a tiny slit at the end of the ribs to get a hold of it. Using a paper towel to help hang onto it (it’s wet and slippery), pull it all the way down the length of the ribs. It should peel right off.

Preheat the electric skillet to 375 degrees. Add a little olive oil (about a tablespoon) to the skillet. Carefully place the rack of ribs in the skillet and brown on both sides. Add one carton of chicken stock (4 cups) and bring to a full boil, then reduce to a simmer (about 200-225 degrees).

Cook the ribs for about 3-4 hours, checking the liquid level and adding water as needed as the stock evaporates. Flip the ribs over every 1/2 hour to an hour. You’ll be looking for fall-apart tenderness where the bones should look like they’re going to slip right off the meat.


I like to leave my ribs in the skillet with the lid on and allow them to cool before removing them and wrapping them in foil. I put them in the fridge to “firm up” before putting them on the grill brushed with the sauce.

It’s a great make-ahead method because all I have to do when ready to eat is brush them with the sauce and grill ’em up! You don’t have to do this ahead of time, but it makes for such an easy dinnertime! The ribs are already cooked and tender, so it’s about warming them up and getting a little char on them.

If you don’t feel like grilling them, you can always do what my mom does and put them in a 350 degree oven on a baking sheet and baste them with the sauce. It should take about the same time (roughly 30 minutes).

baby back ribs and sauce

This Labor Day weekend, get the grill fired up and make both the sauce and ribs ahead of time. Throw ’em on the grill just before the party and you’ll have everyone licking their fingers!!

dee's bbq sauce dripping from spoon

Dee’s BBQ Sauce and Baby Back Ribs

Once you try this homemade bbq sauce, you're gonna wanna drink it! The sweetness of the orange juice combined with the tanginess of the mustard and vinegar make for one amazing bbq sauce to douse all over these tender baby back ribs.
4.46 from 11 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course, sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 2 cups of sauce


  • Electric Skillet


  • 1 cup (240 ml) orange juice
  • 1 stick (½ cup or 113 g) butter
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 cup (225 g) ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins is gluten free)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • hot sauce to taste (if desired)


  • 1-2 racks baby back ribs
  • 1 32-ounce (4 cups) box of chicken stock or broth
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • In medium saucepan over medium high heat, add orange juice, butter, sugar, vinegar, and yellow mustard and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, as well as salt and pepper and hot sauce, if using. Continue simmering for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and pour into jar. Will keep in refrigerator for a week or two. It may be frozen as well, but will need to be whisked over low heat and you may need to add a tablespoon or two of additional ketchup to bring it all back together.


  • In electric skillet set at 375°, add about one tablespoon of olive oil. Place ribs in skillet and brown on both sides. Add chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer (about 200-225°) and braise until ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, about 3-4 hours.
  • To make ahead of time, allow ribs to cool slightly in covered skillet. Wrap in heavy-duty foil and refrigerate until about 30 minutes before serving.
  • Light up grill to medium. Brush one side of ribs with sauce and place, sauce side down, on grill. Grill for about 10 minutes, brush other side, and flip over. Grill for another 10 minutes. Keep flipping and saucing until desired char is achieved and ribs are nice and hot.
  • Remove from grill and serve with extra sauce.
Keyword bbq, Gluten Free, sauce
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6 thoughts on “Dee’s Homemade BBQ Sauce and Baby Back Ribs”

  • I followed this recipe to a T, made half of the recipe as there are only the two of us. It was so delicious
    And I will certainly make it again. Love the hint of orange flavour on my ribs. Ribs with this sauce were outstanding.

  • Oh wow – this is now my fiancé’s favorite rib treatment. Soooo good – I’m spreading the word! I think this is my seventh batch😃😃

  • You are speaking my language! I love all things BBQ and I think BBQ sauce is a side dish, not a condiment. This is AMAZING!!! My new favorite BBQ sauce, so easy and amazing flavors. Just the right amount of sweet and tanga = WOW!!! I am heading out for my OJ so I can make another batch, I’ve already used up the first batch I made. Thank you = )

    • Haha! Did you drink the first batch? Lol! I find it hard not to keep sticking my finger in it or sneaking a spoonful 🙂

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