Spicy, Smoky, Vinegary, Sweet
Nothing says summer quite like BBQ and for me that generally means a good BBQ sauce. Though I love this zingy Carolina Gold, sometimes I’m in the mood for something with more decidedly classic BBQ flavors. This Spicy Red BBQ Sauce has notes that are equal parts spicy, smoky, vinegary, and sweet.
Adjusting the heat level
I usually tend to make this Spicy Red BBQ Sauce one level below slap-yo-mamma-hot. My definition of this is that it leaves a properly spicy burn in the back of your throat for several minutes after eating it, but doesn’t necessarily make you chug a gallon of milk when eaten in reasonable portions. I think this heat level works best for basting grilled chicken because it provides just the right amount of kick to make the chicken interesting, but because the chicken is merely basted, rather than swimming in the sauce, it shouldn’t be overwhelmingly spicy for most adults.
If you are serving this bbq sauce to a crowd that appreciates milder flavors, or if you are serving a dish where you intend to drench the meat in sauce, I tend to lower the spice level a bit. This can be easily done by first limiting the amount of cayenne pepper in the recipe. Simply omit the cayenne until very last, tasting the sauce prior to adding it and then combining it in 1/4 tsp increments until the sauce has reached your preferred level of heat.
If for some reason you’ve accidentally added too much and want to mellow the flavors a bit, this can be done by adding acid, sweetness, and/or dairy. Increasing the tomato paste, vinegar, honey (or zero carb sweetener for Keto), or adding a dollop of sour cream or yogurt can go a long way to mellowing out spicy flavors when you’ve accidentally made the heat level too high.
What to serve this Spicy Red BBQ Sauce with
This Spicy Red BBQ Sauce is a fantastic basting sauce for classic grilled chicken but is also equally delicious drizzled on top of beef brisket and shredded pork roast. I love to use it in this BBQ Chicken Salad recipe and it’s also fantastic on these Pressure Cooker Boneless Beef Ribs.
If you’re looking for other BBQ sauce options, make sure to check out my recipe for Carolina Gold Mustard BBQ Sauce.
A note for special diets
This Spicy Red BBQ Sauce is grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, low-carb, and friendly for Paleo diets. It is also friendly for Keto and Low-FODMAP diets with some adjustments.
In order for this diet to fit Keto and Low-FODMAP diets, you’ll simply want to swap the raw honey out for a 1:1 zero carb sweetener such as Stevia in the Raw or granulated Lakanto Monkfruit sweetener. I tend to think that these alternative sweeteners are a bit sweeter than honey, so I prefer to start by adding half the amount of sweetener than the amount of honey called for and adjusting to taste.
Cal: 28, Fat: 3g, Sod: 69mg, Carb: 1g (net carb count 1g)
Looking for an upgrade to your kitchen tools?
Check out my shop page here for my must-have kitchen tools and other Whip & Wander favorites.Print
Nothing says summer like this Spicy Red BBQ Sauce, with notes that are spicy, smoky, vinegary, and sweet. This sauce fits Paleo, Keto, and Low-FODMAP diets.
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 6 tbsp tomato paste
- 5 tbsp raw honey (or 2 1/2 tbsp 1:1 alternative such as Stevia in the Raw or granulated Lakanto Monkfruit for Keto or Low-FODMAP)
- 1/4 cup garlic oil (may sub extra virgin olive oil + 2 tsp garlic powder)
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp chipotle powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 1/4–1 tsp cayenne powder (adjust to spice preference)
- Combine all ingredients except the cayenne pepper in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Allow to come to a low simmer, stirring to combine the ingredients often.
- Taste for spice level and then begin to add the cayenne pepper in 1/4 tsp increments until it reaches your desired level of heat.
- Allow to simmer lightly for 10 minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken. Remember that it will thicken more once it has cooled.
- Leftovers may be refridgerated for 3-5 days.
Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
- Serving Size: 2 tbsp (with honey)
- Calories: 40
- Sugar: 4
- Sodium: 69
- Fat: 3
- Carbohydrates: 5