Inspired by some of the classic seasonings used in Chinese cooking, we came up with this delicious variation on a traditional barbecue sauce. While not a traditional Chinese recipe, this sauce will no doubt remind you of certain flavors you may have come across at Chinese restaurants.

This sauce can be paired with a variety of proteins, but would best compliment fatty cuts of meat such as pork ribs, beef ribs, or duck exceptionally well.

The secret ingredient in this recipe is Chinese five spice powder, which is a combination of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, and fennel seed. Five spice powder is a staple in Chinese cooking and lends a complex, exotic flavor to this sauce. If you can’t find Chinese five spice powder in your local grocery store, try an Asian grocer, or order it online.


  • Apply the sauce during the last 5 minutes or so of grilling time to prevent burning and excess char.
  • Portion the sauce out so that you have some for basting and some for the table.
  • Excess sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or frozen for up to six months.
  • Left over sauce that has been used to baste raw meat should be discarded.
Prep Time



Cook Time



Ready In







1-1/3 cups ketchup

1 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon of minced ginger root

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper


Step 1

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir to combine.

Step 2

Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 3

At this point the sauce is ready to use or can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container for future use.