Spicy Honey BBQ Sauce
This honey bbq sauce recipe is sweetened with honey and brown sugar, and made nice and spicy with both jalapeno and habanero peppers, though you can easily adjust the heat levels to your own personal preferences.
If you love your barbecue sauces a little bit sweet and a little bit (or a LOT) spicy, this is the recipe for you, my friends. I’ve made a lot of homemade bbq sauces over the years, and there’s nothing better than making it yourself.
I’ve purchased some pretty darned great barbecue sauces from the store and from artisan sauce makers, but when you make it at home, you’re able to control exactly what ingredients go into the final sauce, and also the level of heat.
Most bbq sauces on the market just aren’t spicy enough for my personal tastes. That is why I’m cooking with habanero peppers today for this recipe.
Habanero peppers? YES!
AND jalapeno peppers as well, because we all know about Mike’s #JalapenoObsession. Can’t help it!
How to Make Homemade Spicy Honey BBQ Sauce
Making your spicy honey bbq sauce is easy enough.
Heat up a large saucepan to medium heat and add olive oil with onion and peppers. I used my cast iron pan for this because I love the way it conducts heat, so everything cooks nice and evenly. Cook them down about 5 minutes or so, until everything softens.
Toss in the garlic and cook another minute, until garlic becomes fragrant. You’ll be able to smell its awesomeness. I LOVE the smell of cooking garlic.
Next, stir in your remaining ingredients – tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, honey, spicy chili flakes, ground mustard, smoked paprika, tequila, brown sugar, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Apple cider vinegar brings an additional sweetness along with the welcomed tang, but you can use other vinegars if you’d like.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes. You can simmer longer if you’d like, but don’t let the sauce reduce too much.
Give it a taste. Good? Great! Add it to a food processor and process until it is nice and smooth. You can serve this right away, or let it sit awhile to allow the flavors to more fully develop.
I’ve included a longer video below showing HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE, as well as information on how to adjust the heat levels.
Adjusting the Spiciness
As mentioned, I made this nice and spicy by using 2-3 jalapeno peppers and 4 small habanero peppers. If this is too hot for you, you can either reduce or skip the habanero peppers entirely and just focus on the jalapeno pepper. Dial back on the chili flakes as well.
For a NO HEAT version of this recipe, use a sweet bell pepper instead. Any color will do, though I prefer a red bell. You will still get amazing flavor.
Want an even HOTTER version? Add in more habanero peppers, or use hotter peppers. Ghost peppers or 7-Pot Peppers are GREAT here. You can also add a few splashes of your favorite spicy hot sauce.
What Can I Use Instead of Honey?
If you prefer to skip the honey, agave nectar is a good alternative. Molasses is popular for barbecue sauce recipes as well.
Or, just double up on the brown sugar.
Recipe Ideas for Honey BBQ Sauce
This spicy honey bbq sauce recipe is GREAT on pretty much any grilled foods – figure chicken, pork, shrimp – though I LOVE it with chicken wings. Heck, I love it on almost anything. Here are a few recipes to get you thinking.
Try Some of Our Other BBQ Sauce Recipes
If you love honey bbq sauce, you might enjoy these honey mustard recipes as well.
Here is the Recipe Video with Instructions
Patty’s Perspective: This is pretty hot for my palate, but the beautiful sweetness really helps to balance it out. I can really taste the complex layers of spices in this sauce. Definitely a winner in my book and will be my go-to barbecue sauce for this summer.
If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
- 2-3 jalapeno peppers diced
- 4 habanero peppers diced
- 1 sweet onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons spicy chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 ounces tequila
- ½ cup brown sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large saucepan to medium heat and add olive oil with onion and peppers. Cook about 5 minutes, or until everything softens.
Add the garlic and cook another minute, until garlic becomes fragrant.
Add remaining ingredients and stir until everything is combined.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes.
Strain into a storage container. You can serve this right away, or let it sit awhile to allow the flavors to more fully develop.