Step up your barbecue game with my sweet, spicy, tangy hibiscus honey BBQ sauce made with easy everyday ingredients in under an hour!
If you're looking for an amazing homemade barbecue sauce for summer, you're in the right spot. This is perfect treatment for your bbq recipes for Juneteenth. Best of all, it's an easy pantry recipe. Let's get into it.
What does it taste like?
The flavor profile of this sauce is a balance of sweet, savory, tangy, and smoky. You'll also taste subtly spicy notes and some earthy floral flavor from ginger, cayenne, and, of course hibiscus.
Although there are a couple of intersecting ingredients, this sauce tastes nothing like my Honey Hibiscus Mocktail--though you should try that one too!
What You'll Need for this Recipe
This is a soulful barbecue sauce using ingredients from the diaspora but you should be able to grab everything from your pantry or the grocery store. Here's the ingredient list for honey hibiscus barbecue sauce:
Boiling Water brings out the flavor and color of the hibiscus and provides a liquid base for the homemade barbecue sauce so that it isn't too thick.
Tomato Paste is the backbone of this sauce. If you don't have tomato paste available, you can use tomato sauce or even ketchup instead. Just note that the texture may be slightly thinner.
Honey is my sweetener of choice in this recipe but you can substitute with brown sugar or another sweetener of your choice.
Apple Cider Vinegar is a common barbecue sauce ingredient and it helps balance out the sweetness. The acidity in the vinegar not only adds tang but also helps tenderize barbecued meats!
Liquid Smoke adds familiar smokiness to scratchmade BBQ sauce so you get cookout flavor even if you aren't grilling.
Spices like garlic powder, onion powder, ground ginger, cayenne powder round out the flavor profile here. Feel free to substitute with fresh versions, if you fancy, and add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
Check out the recipe card below for full ingredients list, measurements, and step-by-step instructions!
Juneteenth Cookout Collaboration
Join me in celebrating Juneteenth with more than 30 other Black culinary creators. Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day, signifying the final emancipation of those enslaved in the US announced in 1865.
This year, we are celebrating "Freedom Day" by offering a delightful selection of mains, sides, desserts, and refreshing drinks that are perfect for backyard barbecues and summer gatherings with friends and family.
Join us in honoring the legacy of progress and freedom by cooking and sharing these recipes. Additionally, you can easily follow each participant by using the hashtag #JuneteenthCookout2023 on Instagram.
Build Your All Red Everything Juneteenth Menu
The color red is an especially significant symbol for Juneteenth as it represents resilience, perseverance, and the bloodshed of African Americans in the fight for freedom. Red foods adorn many Juneteenth tables, and recipes like Red Velvet Bread Pudding, Cherry Tabbouleh, and Watermelon Sangria serve as powerful reminders of the struggles and triumphs of the African American community.
Good Food Baddie - Mango Habanero Wings
Peaches 2 Peaches - Red Velvet Bread Pudding
Sense and Edibility® - Watermelon Sangria
Meiko And The Dish - Juneteenth Red Sherbet Punch
Savor and Sage - Cherry Tabbouleh
Heal Me Delicious - Strawberry Cookies
You can find a list of all recipes from the 2023 Juneteenth Virtual Cookout on the Eat the Culture website.
Tips & Tools
Grab a small saucepan and kitchen spoon to cook the sauce. I recommend using a slotted spoon so that you can easily strain out the hibiscus petals. You'll also need a mason jar or other sealable container to store.
Can I eat the hibiscus? As long as you use food-grade hibiscus petals, yes. You can leave them in the sauce if you don't mind the texture or even run the sauce through a blender or food processor (or use an immersion blender) to make everything smooth.
How long does homemade BBQ sauce last? Fresh barbecue sauce keeps for about two weeks. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
Can I freeze it? Yes. Transfer the sauce into a freezer-safe, airtight container, leaving at least one inch of space at the top before sealing. Freeze for up to three months and thaw overnight before use.
How to fix my BBQ sauce if it's too thin?
This is an easy fix. Combine equal parts cornstarch and water in a separate container and mix vigorously to fully dissolve the cornstarch and create a slurry. Stir this slurry into the sauce until fully incorporated. Start with half a tablespoon of each ingredient and repeat the process if necessary, rather than adding too much at once.
How else can I use hibiscus for cooking?
Hibiscus is an ingredient indigenous to Africa that echoes through diaspora cuisine around the world. I love to make Nigerian-Style Zobo (spiced hibiscus tea) with it and it's a hit in many other drink recipes.
Peep the printable recipe card below for my step-by-step instructions for how to make bbq sauce from scratch. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin this recipe for later and follow me over on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
Hibiscus Honey Barbecue Sauce Recipe
Honey Hibiscus Barbecue Sauce
- 1 saucepan
- 1 kitchen spoon
- ¾ cup dried hibiscus or hibiscus tea bags
- 1 cup water boiling
- ¾ cup tomato paste or ketchup or tomato sauce
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ honey
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Steep hibiscus in boiling water for about 30 minutes. The resulting liquid will be deep purple in color.
- Add tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, honey, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, ginger, and liquid smoke, to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until uniform.
- Stir in hibiscus tea with petals. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Remove hibiscus petals with a slotted spoon or strainer. Taste sauce and add sea salt and black pepper to your preference.
- Use sauce to marinate, baste, or garnish grilled foods. See notes for storage information.