Honey Hog Barbecue Sauce v3.0

Honey Hog Chicken

I’m getting ready to cook up a big pile-o-pork for a graduation party. I’d like to make all my own rubs and sauces for it, so I thought I’d start with a quart-sized batch of Honey Hog sauce.

1/2 cup honey
1 cup raw or turbinado sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 (12-ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 cup gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup tamarind concentrate
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
1 tablespoon half-sharp paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon allspice

Combine the tomato paste and sugar in a medium sauce pan and cook over low heat, stirring often, until the sugar melts into the paste.

Honey Hog Barbecue Sauce

Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stirring constantly, raise the heat a little until the sauce is bubbling away nicely. Keep stirring and cook until all the sugar has dissolved and the sauce starts to thicken a little bit (about five minutes).

Honey Hog Barbecue Sauce

Reduce the heat to low and let sauce cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Bottle and store in the fridge. Makes about 1 quart.

Honey Hog Chicken

Since you can only tell so much about a sauce while tasting it off of a spoon, I tried it on some grilled chicken thighs to get an idea of how it would work and play with others.

About 2 hours before cooking, I dusted some bone-in, skin-on thighs with a bit of salt, pepper, and paprika. I put them in a single layer on a sheet pan and let them sit uncovered in the fridge to let the seasoning work its way into the thighs and dry out the skin a bit to make it crispy.

I set the grill up for a raised indirect cook over medium (350°F) heat. I used the plate setter under the cooking grid on the Big Green Egg to diffuse the heat.

I put the thighs on the grill skin side up, closed the lid, and let them cook for 20 minutes. I flipped them and let them go another 20 minutes. I flipped them back skin side up and checked for doneness. While chicken is technically done when the juices run clear and the internal temperature hits 160°F, that leaves the thighs kind of rubbery. I like mine cooked a little longer to at least 180°F so the meat is tender and the skin is crisp.

This batch of thighs needed about 20 more minutes to hit 180°F. At this point I sauced them on both sides with the Honey Hog, put them back on for 10 more minutes, sauced them one last time and moved them to a warm plate and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Sometimes less is more. I basically doubled the main ingredients in the v2.0 recipe, but decided to leave out some of the herbs and spices that I didn’t think were key players. The result is a sauce that has a nice sweet and tangy tomato flavor with enough heat and spice to make it interesting. It’s not as complex as the previous version, but I like the clean, straight forward taste.

The sauce was lovely on the chicken thighs – adding a nice spicy sweetness. The thighs themselves were so crispy that biting into one was like biting into a slice of bacon. Mmmmmmmmmmmm… chicken bacon… mmmmmmmmmm…

The Nutrition:
3 ounces of chicken meat is only about 100 calories and 4 Weight Watchers points. The sauce maybe adds another 1/2 point per thigh.

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3 thoughts on “Honey Hog Barbecue Sauce v3.0”

  1. alright, I have been making your version 1.0 for several years now. In fact it is my wifes go to condiment. She is a ketchup girl (eats ketchup with her ketchup) but is always quick to remind me to make more of the Honey Hog when we are running low. In any event, I went to look at how you tweaked version 2.0. In that version you mentioned using raw sugar but I do not see it listed as part of that recipe. However, the all purpose rub 1.5 has turbinado sugar in it. In your post for version 2.0, when you mentioned the use of raw sugar was this because you recommended using your Rub 1.5 which has raw sugar in it? Also this lates version calls for the use of pomegranate mollasses and tamarind concentrate. version 2.0 leaves it up to you to choose either one. Should both be used if making version 2.0? Sorry for all the nitpicky questions on a recipe/blog post that is somewhat dated?

  2. Glad you guys like the sauce. That you’ve been making it for years is a big compliment, thanks!

    I should probably give them names rather than version numbers as they are all really different sauces, not new and improved versions of each other. I like Version v1.0 as much as v2.0 or v3.0, but for other reasons.

    In v2.0 the raw sugar is coming from the General Purpose Rub v1.5. I updated the post to make that clearer. I liked the idea of having a rub that could be the base for a sauce, but I ended up tweaking ingredients around so much that it never was very practical. If I were doing a ton of catering it would make more sense.

    I used both tamarind and pomegranate molasses in v3.0 to kick up the sweet/tart part of the sauce. I like the combo, but I think I like the pomegranate more and am thinking next time about dropping the tamarind entirely and using a 1/2 cup of the pomegranate.

    Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions because answering them always helps me see my blog how my readers see it.

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