Dead Guy Sauce

August 21, 2010
11 Ratings
  • Makes about 2 cups once reduced
Test Kitchen Notes

Remember Shakespeare's famous line about a rose by any other name? Apparently it applies to barbecue sauce as well. We were both amused and baffled (Googling made us none the wiser) by ShoeboxKitchen's recipe title, but the sauce speaks for itself: it's tangy and bright with layers of flavor, but without the cloying sweetness of so many other barbecue sauces. This sauce would be great slathered on chicken, or with pulled pork, which is how ShoeboxKitchen recommends serving it on their blog. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon tobasco
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for about half hour, whisking periodically, until the sauce just begins to thicken. Serve immediately, or reserve in the refrigerator and reheat.
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46 Reviews

The P. August 15, 2022
I knew this sauce would be good just by looking at the recipe but I didn't think it was going to be even better in the flesh. Very good. Very, very good.

I used it as a side dipping sauce for some slow-grilled chicken legs and thighs that I marinated overnight (canola oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper (scant), chili powder, and sweet paprika).

Dead Guy Sauce is tangy but not too tangy with the sweetness in the background and just a hint of heat. I added a teaspoon of garlic powder to the recipe.

I'll definitely add this to my rotation of finishing/dipping/side sauces.

Anastasia B. May 10, 2019
This has been my "go to"sauce for pulled pork since 2010. I initially saw the recipe on Pinterest. I bring it to potlucks and parties with pulled pork and everyone wants the recipe. It's tangy and delicious. A keeper for sure.
Sean H. December 18, 2018
This one caught my eye and I decided to give it a try.
I followed the recipe except at the end, I did let it reduce as per the instructions, but then decided I did not want it anymore concentrated than it was, so I took some of the liquid, but it in a ramekin with some cornstarch to thicken it up a little so it would barely stick to the back of a spoon (I used about 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch).

I really liked the sauce, but then again I love vinegar, my wife, on the other hand, could not handle it as she does not like a lot of vinegar. It did remind of a great Carolina bbq sauce.
I used this sauce with a bottom round roast I did sous vide at 140F for 23 hours.
It was good, but next time I would change the temp to more like 137F.
MTDavids November 15, 2017
Tried this on chicken...Thank you ShoeboxKitchen, you made our chicken sing. We are new to this site, and you certainly got us off on the right tongue...errr...foot.
theresa June 13, 2016
This was honestly a HUGE let down. There is so much apple cider vinegar its all you can taste. It's super sweet, and tart, and acidic that it was essentially inedible. Would highly not recommend.
The P. May 26, 2016
Going to try this with chicken on the grill.
stacy August 20, 2015
I love this recipe, I usually halve the vinegar if we're serving it for others, for hubby and me it's fine with the full amount - it is quite strong
zoemetro U. August 30, 2014
Made this last weekend to to baste smoked chicken thighs. My family went crazy!!!! Crazy in 2 ways: first, they left the house from the smell of vinegar reducing; second, they have never tasted such wonderful BBQ chicken! Thank you ShoeboxKitchen. I am making it again today to put on smoked ribs for a party tomorrow. I have no idea if it will work--but why not? Also, we used leftover sauce to add some zing to grilled cheese with tomato an cheddar.
David April 2, 2014
Sorry to be the odd one out, but this did not turn out well for me Far too much apple vinegar overpowered the taste of everything else. Would not recommend this recipe based on the exact ingredients listed
Eunice B. March 23, 2014
Used this on chicken for a birthday cookout and everybody went nuts over it. This is going to be my go-to sauce now. Thank you! :)
Ashley M. January 12, 2014
Absolutely delish! Used raw ACV (that was all I had) and sriracha instead of tobasco for a super spicy version - it was all gobbled up!
Miachel P. June 5, 2013
Hm...the title sounds like Fried Green Tomatoes!
All jokes aside, this sauce sounds delicious. ;)
ssnow October 8, 2012
serve with pulled pork
Greg D. January 22, 2011
Added a 1/4 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet for a richer color. When I saw the title, I thought this would be made with Dead Guy ale. I usually like more onions in my barbeque sauce (Fanny Farmer 12th edition recipe is the one I usually favor), but this can more easily double as a marinade, I suppose.
RaquelG September 15, 2010
Mmmmmm reminds me of my meatloaf sauce - I use just your first three ingredients (apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and ketchup) and bake it on. This sounds like an awesome spicy version that will definitely be on the next one!
imwalkin September 12, 2010
Just saw this yesterday, made it, and marinated some thick cut rib pork chops. Cooked the chops slow over indirect heat on the grill, basting twice with more of the sauce. It was outstanding. Really liked that it was not too sweet, not to spicy, just nicely balanced. Drizzled some on a sandwich of sliced chicken breast today and it was again a winner. Thanks!
KristiB September 12, 2010
We were out of BBQ sauce so I made this for our brisket last night. It was really good!
ShoeboxKitchen September 8, 2010
Thanks, everyone. We are truly and humbly thankful to be recognized among so many wonderful recipes and experienced cooks. We are relatively new to this whole test kitchen and food blogging gig and we have learned much more from this community than we could ever hope to contribute. Many, many thanks to all of you!!

Edamame2003, we honestly think your rooster sauce looks amazing and plan to try it out ourselves. We also love what you're doing on your blog. Thanks for the recipe and the healthy competition!

Sagegreen September 8, 2010
Congrats, Shoebox Kitchen! Wonderful recipe. I love your use of cider vinegar and brown sugar.
edamame2003 September 8, 2010
congrats shoebox! now you've made me hungry for a pulled pork sandwich...
lapadia September 8, 2010
I would like to add that I look forward to seeing future recipes from you both!