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Easy Honey BBQ Sauce – great as a marinade or for basting and slathering on grilled chicken, pork or beef.
I’ve heard it said that “the secret’s in the sauce.” However, this sauce is a secret no more because I’m sharing it with you today!
You might think that something as simple as Honey BBQ Sauce is a no-brainer recipe to develop. Throw in a little of this and that and slather it on something grilled. Maybe it’s that easy for some, but for me this was a labor of love. I’ve made many, many batches of Honey BBQ Sauce trying to come up with just the right combination and sweet and tangy, spicy and bold, with the perfect amount of rich tomato flavor. And boy was it worth it! This has everything we love in a good BBQ sauce without artificial flavors, colors, and no high-frutrose corn syrup (HFCS) or preservatives.
I’ve had trouble finding a good store-bought BBQ sauce that meets our super high standards.
It seems like every bottle I pick up has HFCS as one of the first ingredients. As much as I love a good smoky flavor, I’ve read that liquid smoke is not healthy either. Some of the more natural high quality sauces we tried were horribly sweet, so much so we couldn’t eat it. That’s saying a lot coming from a blogger that posts weekly desserts.
Finding the perfect consistency was another reason we wanted to create our own sauce.
I have to admit that some of my first recipes turned out more like a gourmet ketchup than BBQ sauce, but I finally dialed in the right formula. This Honey BBQ Sauce slathers beautifully, has a nice shine and makes your grilled foods glisten! Did I mention that it’s also a great marinade? I truly believe that my husband would drink this out of the jar if I would let him – it’s that good!
If you’re not into a little spicy in your sauce, just leave it out, or reduce the amount.
We turned up the spicy a bit by using Korean-Style Red Pepper (Gochugaru) seasoning…which has a distinctive flavor we love, without bringing too much of the “OMG that’s hot!” uncomfortable heat. The Korean-Style Red Pepper also compliments tomato-based sauce perfectly.
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Honey BBQ Sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large shallot finely minced
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper more or less to taste
- 1 can tomato paste (6-oz)
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Heat vegetable oil in a deep medium saucepan, over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped shallot to the hot oil and sauté for about 5 minutes or until slightly soft. Add the crush red pepper and sauté for another minute. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently (uncovered) for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Check the seasoning and add more salt if needed.
- I used Korean-Style Red Pepper (Gochugaru) seasoning in place of the crushed red pepper. Feel free to use your favorite hot pepper seasoning like cayenne if desired.
- Sauce will keep for up to a week in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.
- Use as a marinade and/or slather on grilled meats
Click on the photos to find out more about the products used in our recipe:
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I love homemade sauces and can’t wait to turn this base recipe for Honey BBQ Sauce into other amazing flavors. I also want to make this easy Red Enchilada Sauce from Erin at Well Plated. It sounds and looks so good! My son goes nuts for the signature Japanese Steak House Yum Yum Sauce like this brilliant homemade version from Real Housemoms. And finally, check out this delicious Comeback Sauce Recipe from Amy at She Wears Many Hats. It’s a super popular southern treat for sure!