Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce

I’ve been using this barbecue sauce and making variations on it for years. Because it’s so versatile, I think it deserves it’s own post here on Urban Cottage Life instead of being appended to another recipe. I present: Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce. It’s great on both chicken and ribs, whether made in the oven or on a grill.

Recipes Are Passed On and Changed

My mother gave me the foundation of this recipe a long time ago, and I think she may have found it in a magazine or newspaper. She was a great clipper of recipes.

The funny thing is, we rarely barbecued when I was growing up and I don’t remember Mom ever making ribs. Back then, barbecuing meant a time-consuming undertaking involving charcoal and lighter fluid, and then grilling burgers and hotdogs over the glowing embers. Gas barbecues only came into vogue after I left home, so I think she must have tried this after she and Dad bought one.

If you’re looking for something different, how about a Sweet Chili Molasses Barbecue Sauce made with Canadian Crosby’s Molasses?

Not sponsored.

Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce

Mom’s recipe had just the three liquid ingredients you’ll see below. I’ve added the aromatics and spices to complement the sweetness of the sauce. You can decide how much of the garlic, ginger and chili pepper to use based on how big your batch of sauce is, and how much spice you like. And if you’d like to play around with batch size, I’ve provided a formula in the notes below the actual recipe.

Although this is indeed a barbecue sauce, don’t limit yourself by thinking you can only use it when actually firing up a barbecue. I’ve used this sauce on both chicken and ribs in the oven many a time, finishing it off with a few minutes under the broiler. This results in delectably sticky results, like the chicken pictured below. When you compare the chicken to the ribs beside it, which were grilled on a barbecue, I don’t think you can tell the difference in cooking methods.

Happy Grilling!

Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce
Prep Time
1 hr 10 mins

The base of this barbecue sauce is sweet with some complexity added by the soya sauce. The addition of aromatics and spices gives it as much of a complementary spicy kick as suits your taste. The quantity provided makes enough sauce for 18 chicken thighs or a few racks of ribs.

Category: Condiment, Sauce
Cuisine: Barbecue
Keyword: Barbecue Sauce, Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce
Author: © Marlene Cornelis/UrbanCottageLife.com 2012–2020
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soya sauce
  • garlic cloves, quartered
  • coarsely cut ginger
  • minced red chile pepper, or dried red chile flakes
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • a pinch of salt if desired (taste first to determine how much is needed based on the saltiness of the soya sauce)
How To Make This Recipe
  1. Mix together and let the sauce steep for at least 30 minutes so the garlic, ginger and chiles impart their flavour.

  2. You can keep the sauce sealed in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days (see Note).

Recipe Notes
  • Have you noticed that this recipe is easily convertible to a formula? It’s one part ketchup, 1/2 part honey, and 1/4 part soya sauce. That makes it easy to make the quantity that you need.
  • You can substitute garlic powder, ground ginger and red chile flakes for the fresh aromatics, in which case the sauce should keep a couple of days longer in the fridge.

More Barbecue Delights

Would I put rhubarb in barbecue sauce? Yes! Try this Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce. And what about pomegranate molasses? Yes again, as evidenced by these Pomegranate Molasses-Glazed Chicken Thighs. And these Red Curry Chicken Drumsticks are another excellent candidate for the grill, even though I made them using the stove. Versatility!

First Published 2012 07 16
Updated 2017 06 29
Republished 2020 07 08


Leave a comment and let's chat!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.