Honey BBQ Sauce

by Mike Bradley

Everyone loves honey barbecue sauce, right? I mean, even people who hate barbecue still use some honey barbecue sauce on their chicken nuggets sometimes. So of course I have my own honey barbecue sauce recipe. This sauce is very sweet and pairs well with something that is very savory, such as smoked meat.

This sauce is simple to make – just mix all ingredients together, except the cornstarch. That’s where you get a bit of freedom, since it won’t alter the taste greatly to add more than I did. Why would you do this? Just to make the sauce a little thicker, to your own personal liking. I prefer barbecue sauce that is on the thinner side, but I know some like a heavier sauce. So while I add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken it up just a little, it’s perfectly acceptable to add as much as triple that amount to thicken the sauce. Be aware that it should be the last ingredient that you add, and that it requires a good bit of effort with a whisk to get it to properly combine into the sauce.

Heating the mixture will allow the brown sugar to caramelize a little and thoroughly smooth out the sauce. Once that is done, I go to my final step. This is the same for every single barbecue sauce I make because I insist on a smooth, lump free sauce. The last step, as always, is to pour the sauce through a very fine strainer into a bowl. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous or particularly steady handed, you could strain it directly into a funnel into your storage bottle… but I always go bowl first, then bottle. Refrigerate the sauce completely before use to ensure all components have a chance to cool and settle before serving. Using any of my barbecue sauces without enough refrigeration produces a very tangy taste, which dies down when cooled.

So there you have it – enjoy! (It is the heart of BBQ season so don’t you worry, more summer favorites coming soon!)

Honey Barbecue Sauce Recipe



  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 5 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch*


  1. Start by mixing all of the wet ingredients in a medium saucepan – ketchup, mustard, honey, liquid smoke, maple syrup, vinegar, and soy sauce.
  2. Add brown sugar and whisk until dissolved. Add the cornstarch and whisk thoroughly until none can be seen in the mixture. *You may add up to 6 tbsp to achieve the thickness you desire.
  3. Cover the pot and simmer the mixture on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl – this will help to remove any lumps.
  5. Use a funnel to help pour the strained sauce into the bottle of your choosing. Refrigerate for 8 hours before using. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for several months.

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