How to Make a Homemade Spicy BBQ Sauce


Barbecue sauces are a must-have when it comes to most barbeque foods. Whether it’s for slathering onto ribs or drizzling onto your burgers or even hotdogs, a good barbecue sauce is a great way to add more flavour. There is a wide range of options to choose from in modern times, with each being perfect for different recipes and cuts of meat. The only thing that matters is how sweet or spicy you want your BBQ sauce to be. If you don’t like the taste of any of the sauces that you get from your supermarket, many pitmasters and chefs recommend making your own BBQ sauce from scratch. Often, the spiciness of a store-bought bottle of sauce can be quite less, so making your own spicy barbecue sauce not only allows you to add more heat but lower the overall sweetness, too. When you make BBQ sauce from scratch, there are quite a few recipes that you can follow. But even if you make your sauce from the four most basic ingredients, you can still customise it to be spicier. Then, once you’ve made your sauce, you can check out the following options for Big Green Egg charcoal BBQ grills and start grilling right away.

Pick your level of spice

When making your spicy barbecue sauce, the first and most important thing you need to consider is how spicy you want the sauce to be. Many barbecue sauces only have enough heat to lightly burn at the back of your throat. And, more often than not, any sweetness the sauce has is used to even out any excess spiciness. But making your sauce from scratch allows you to make it as spicy or as sweet as you want it to be. Reducing the amount of sweetness is entirely viable since many people eat less sugar for health reasons. So, in addition to the lessened sweetness, adding more tabasco or even pureed chillies can really kick the heat up. You also don’t have to be limited to just one source for spiciness. Many store-bought spicy BBQ sauces frequently have cayenne as well as habanero peppers in their ingredient lists. If you want a spicy barbecue sauce that burns, you can mix many different chillies, like jalapeno, habanero, peri peri and serrano peppers. Just make sure you have a glass of milk ready.

Choose how sweet you want it

Just like choosing how spicy you want your sauce to be, you can also choose how sweet it is. Many sauces often have a certain amount of sweetness to make sure the heat doesn’t pack too much of a bite. But, you’re also likely to find some barbecue sauces that are still quite spicy despite being noticeably sweet. If you want to make these kinds of spicy-but-sweet sauces, make sure to use a chilli higher on the Scoville charts. Like with store-bought options, also try to use fruitier flavours to add sweetness, like apple or cherry. This allows the sauce to still be spicy enough that the heat remains but not enough that it cancels out the sweet flavours.

Pick out your other ingredients

Many of the barbecue sauces made in older recipes have four main ingredients, all of which mix together to add sweetness, tartness and a hint of savoury. When mixed and then reduced, tomato paste, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar can form the thicker sauce we’ve come to love. However, since then, many brands have started to add a few extra ingredients to make their sauces stand out more. When mixing your sauce, consider what you want to add as an extra ingredient. One common ingredient many people add to their sauces, especially when they know their guests are mostly adults, is whiskey or bourbon. Since the result is going to be spicier, you can try to use tequila instead. If you want to make your barbecue sauce more ethnically flavoured, either for Korean barbecue or otherwise, mix in some of that culture’s spices as well. A general East Asian-inspired BBQ sauce would likely include soy sauce and sesame oil while a South Asian sauce might include a bit of garam masala or even turmeric. Substituting some of the barbecue sauce’s original ingredients for more ethnic options might also be a great way to add more unique flavours to your dish and its sauces.

Mix your ingredients

Once you’ve gathered together all your ingredients for the BBQ sauce, all that’s left is to mix it up. Depending on what the ingredients you’ve chosen are, you may need to dice them up finely first. Some whole ingredients like ginger, garlic and even green onions can be added to the sauce but need to be cut up first to be easy to eat. With your ingredients diced, you then need to combine them. Though many recipes say to blend them, some BBQ sauce recipes leave the sauce with visible pieces still in it. As odd as it may seem, these kinds of sauces are great for burgers and hotdogs, since there’s more to bite into. A chunkier barbecue sauce is especially great if you use fresher chillies since a majority of the heat is in the seeds and pulp.

Cook it down

If you’re going for a thicker barbecue sauce, chunky or not, all that’s left to do before serving is to let it boil down. This process removes a majority of the excess water in the mixture, making the tomato paste, vinegar, and your chillies drier and a bit more potent. The evaporation also makes your sauce an actual sauce instead of a gravy, also allowing it to be spread far easier than before.


Depending on what you put into it, making a spicy BBQ sauce from scratch can be extremely easy. The base of the sauce is a simple mix of tomato paste, sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, and adding heat to it can be as simple as dicing and adding a few dashes of Tabasco. From there, you only need to boil it to get rid of the excess water. Customising the spicy BBQ sauce to make it your own is just as simple, so you can make it however and whenever you want.


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