Recipe: Collection: A&W Root Beer Stand BBQ and Open Pit BBQ Sauce Clones (2024)

A copycat is posted here:

From: Sara Iowa, 03-23-2008
Source: Restaurant Recipe Secrets by Gloria Pitzer
Board: Copycat Recipe Requests at

Following that copycat, this recipe was posted online:

Makes 32 servings

8 pounds ground beef
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup Open Pit Barbecue Sauce*
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2  1/2 cups finely chopped onions

Brown and drain hamburger. Make an open space in middle of pan and add other ingredients except onions. Stir good and often. When it begins to simmer, add onions. Simmer until onions are translucent and done. Serve on buns. Leftovers can be frozen.

Article: Persistent professor tracked down A&W barbecue recipe
Source: Miami Herald Cook's Corner, 9-12-13


1 pound ground beef
2/3 cup small diced onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1/4 cup water
1 can chicken gumbo soup (Campbells)
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Brown ground beef with onions. Break up meat to a crumble. Drain off grease. Add salt, dash of pepper, 1/4 cup water, chicken gumbo soup, ketchup and 1 mustard. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes

*A note from me on this barbecue sauce, and a few recipes. For those unfamiliar, it is produced by pinnacle foods/kraft, a lower-midwest style sauce first made in Detroit. It is a very thin liquid in comparison to its viscous bbq sauce brethren, tangy, sweet and sharp in flavor rather than being deep, smokey and meaty, bright red in color (some call it fluorescent). There is a pronounced ketchup flavor. It's often used as a base, doctored up by individuals to their taste. The flavor has changed significantly in the past twenty years, so if this recipe was the original, it's likely the result will not taste the same now. The following copycats are unlikely to be that similar, but perhaps will work as a base for experimentation.

Ingredients are: High fructose corn syrup, water, distilled vinegar, tomato puree (water, tomato paste), salt, modified food starch, contains less than 2% of: soybean oil, hydrolyzed corn and soy protein, spice, onion powder, dehydrated garlic, artificial tomato flavor, natural and artificial flavor, colored with (yellow 6, red 40, blue 1, titanium dioxide), caramel color

Here's a copycat, much thicker than the original


8 oz rice vinegar
4 oz apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/3 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons honey (optional)

Gather and measure out all the ingredients for the sauce. (As I begun my tinkering I noted the main ingredients of Open Pit were a sweetener, vinegar and tomato puree. Also, it doesn't contain a fake smoke flavor).

Heat vinegar, tomato paste, and brown sugar in a pot until the sugar is melted.

In a ramekin mix all the rest of the ingredients, except the honey, into a smooth paste and add to the the tomato sauce in the pot. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat to simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. The longer you simmer the sauce the more the vinegar will mellow - so be careful if you want to attempt that true Open Pit flavor. If you want to use the sauce right away, add add the honey below for a little extra sweetness. If you want to simmer your sauce longer you might want to add more vinegar in the beginning. The key to finding the Open Pit flavor is the balance between the sweet and the vinegar.

Remove from heat and add the honey (optional).

Makes about 3/4 quart

2 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon finely ground red pepper
3/4 teaspoon hot sauce (add more or less to your liking)
1 cup Heinz Ketchup

Combine all ingredients, except ketchup, in stockpot and bring to boil – cover and reduce heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Then add ketchup, stir and remove from heat.


1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar (cider is best)
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon liquid hot pepper sauce (Louisiana style, like Frank's)
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Mix in a saucepan; simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.

Recipe: Collection: A&W Root Beer Stand BBQ and Open Pit BBQ Sauce Clones (2024)


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