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Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce Recipe
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4.91 from 11 votes

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce Recipe

This bbq sauce recipe is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy with jalapeno peppers, bourbon and honey. It's tangy and flavorful and great on anything. Fire up the grill!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course, sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bbq, bbq sauce, grilling, recipe, spicy
Servings: 6
Calories: 123kcal


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers diced (use hotter if you'd like, such as habanero)
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (use ketchup for a sweeter version)
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (try it with tequila or rum instead, or use broth or apple juice for a non-alcoholic version)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (try it with ghost pepper powder for extra hot)
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey (maple syrup is a nice substitution)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (use less or omit for less sweet)
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan to medium heat. Add onion and peppers and cook for 5 minutes to soften.
  • 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 for 10 minutes to let the flavors mingle. You can simmer longer if you'd like.
  • Option 1: Strain into a serving container and use as desired.
  • Option 2: Transfer the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth for a thicker version. Use as desired, or strain to thin it out, plus more vinegar or water to thin as desired.
  • You can serve this right away, or let it sit awhile to allow the flavors to more fully develop. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.



Makes 2-1/2 cups unstrained.
The Heat Factor. Jalapeno peppers have a nice level of heat for most people, though more serious chiliheads can easily use hotter peppers to really heat things up. Try this bbq sauce recipe with serrano peppers for even more heat, habanero peppers for some serious heat, or ghost peppers for something truly spicy. Carolina Reapers, anyone? Oh boy!
Bourbon Alternatives. I have made this bbq sauce with tequila and rum as well and loved them both. Give those a try for a nice variation!
Non-Alcoholic Version. If you'd prefer to skip the booze, use a flavorful broth or apple juice instead, or skip it entirely. You may need a bit of water to thin out the bbq sauce, though.


Calories: 123kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 390mg | Potassium: 301mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 1148IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg