Honey Chili Barbecue Chicken. An easy homemade chili barbecue sauce gets combined with sweet honey. Then, it’s brushed on in multiple layers to create a deliciously sticky sweet glaze on barbecue chicken.
If you have never made your own barbecue sauce before, you should definitely give it a shot. I make several kinds of barbecue sauce.
It seems I am always experimenting with making them a little more or less spicy, tangy or sweet. With a good tomato base you can develop your own signature sauces by varying the three key elements.
There is endless variety in the herbs and spices you can add to create fragrant or spicy versions. Smoked spices like chipotle powder and smoked paprika can add an additional smoky hint.
Use different vinegars in varying amounts to play with the tangy side of your sauce. I’ve used everything from rice wine vinegar to balsamic in my sauces.
The sweet side of Honey Chili Barbecue Chicken
Finally, for the sweet side there are also many options. Honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar are some possibilities.
All of these will add a unique flavor component to a good barbecue sauce.
Today’s sauce takes its taste inspiration from a pot of chili con carne. I used chili powder and cumin as the base spices for a very fragrant spicy sauce.
Using readily available chili powder, also allows you to add more or less to suit your own taste easily.
One of my favourite ways to use a homemade barbecue sauce is to add honey. Adding it to the finished sauce creates an awesome barbecue glaze for chicken or pork.
Simply add honey in about a 4:1 or 3:1 ratio of sauce to honey to create a sweet sticky barbecue glaze. That glaze is especially awesome on some well grilled chicken wings.
Several coats of the glaze in the final minutes of cooking time will make for some of the best barbecue chicken you will sample this grilling season.
Need some side dish inspiration?
We have plenty side dish inspiration too, including everything from baked beans & corn bread to deliciously different potato and pasta salads. Be sure to check them all out in our collection of 35 Best BBQ Side Dishes too.
Originally published June 2012. Updated July 2020.
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Honey Chili Barbecue Chicken - an easy homemade chili barbecue sauce gets combined with honey, then brushed on in multiple layers to create a deliciously sticky sweet glaze on barbecue chicken.
- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of chicken pieces, well trimmed
- ⅓ cup honey
For the Barbecue Sauce
- 1 large red onion, , diced
- 6 cloves minced garlic
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes, or an equivalent amount of vine ripened, finely diced tomatoes in season.
- 1¼ cups brown sugar
- ½ cup malt vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 4 tbsp chili powder, (more or less to taste)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- To prepare the barbecue sauce
- Saute the onion and garlic all together with the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan until the onions have softened.
- Add the tomatoes. Simmer gently together until the tomatoes begin break down and get mushy (or until the sauce is reduced by ¼ if using canned tomatoes).
- Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce.
- Simmer all together over low heat for about a half hour or until the sauce reaches the consistency of a good barbeque sauce. I like mine a little thicker than most because it is easier to brush on whatever is being grilled. Store in airtight mason jars in the fridge.
- To make Honey Chili Barbecue Chicken
- Take one cup of this sauce and blend in ⅓ cup good quality honey.
- Grill your chicken pieces until almost completely cooked, then start brushing on the glaze over low flame, turning the chicken pieces often and continuing to brush multiple layers of the glaze onto them, until the pieces are fully cooked.
- See note re: nutritional info below.
The nutritional amounts given are for the BBQ sauce/glaze only. Calculate chicken nutrition separately, depending on which chicken parts you are using.
Serving Size1 serving
Amount Per Serving Calories 71Total Fat 2gSaturated Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 0gSodium 127mgCarbohydrates 15gFiber 1gSugar 13gProtein 1g