Copycat Tony Roma’s Blue Ridge Smokies Sauce

This copycat Tony Roma’s Blue Ridge Smokies sauce is fantastic. It has some of your ‘standard’ BBQ sauce ingredients, such as ketchup and liquid smoke. That’s not what made it so special to me. It’s the red wine vinegar. The vinegar really adds a nice edge to the sauce. It’s like a nice combination of a KC BBQ sauce with a little North Carolina vinegar-based sauce.

My first experience at Tony Roma’s was in Salt Lake City, Utah, many, many years ago. I instantly fell in love with their ribs. Ribs, ribs, ribs. Tony Roma’s started my love of ribs and I now make them often at home on my own smoker.Copycat Tony Roma's Blue Ridge Smokies SauceI rubbed a rack of ribs down with a copycat Famous Dave’s rib rub, let it get happy overnight, then tossed the ribs onto my Weber Smokey Mountain for 6 hours. I then slathered on some copycat Tony Roma’s Blue Ridge Smokies sauce. The end result was tender, tasty, and finger-licking amazing.

If you don’t like liquid smoke, substitute smoked salt and leave out the Kosher salt.

Copycat Tony Roma's Blue Ridge Smokies Sauce

Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Author Mike


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar I substituted Sugar in the Raw
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder


  • Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Bring to a boil while stirring constantly.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer, stirring often, for 30 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved.
  • Sauce gets better when refrigerated overnight. Warm slightly before using.

2 thoughts on “Copycat Tony Roma’s Blue Ridge Smokies Sauce

  1. Finally a website that will let me comment on this sauce without “joining” it. I had this recipe on a card for years, likely found on the Top Secret website. Tried making it a month ago, and it’s wonderful! I’ve never been to Tony Roma’s (27 year vegetarian) and I’ve never bought their sauce in the store. Looking at the ingredients I expected this to be bad, or at least mediocre. Not true, it was great. I ended up using agave syrup instead of molasses, because the last of the molasses was used up making baked beans. (and I want to get rid of it, quite honestly). I imagine this would have a more depth to its flavor if I had used molasses. This is a great sauce. It has heat, sweetness, and the vinegar taste all at once. I’ll never understand the people of the Carolina’s preferring a vinegary sauce. That stuff is awful. A modified version of that works, though.

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