Finger-Licking Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce Recipe (Family Favorite)

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In my experience, Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce stands out. It’s a blend that brings heat to every dish. This is your best bet if you’re confused about the right sauce for your grill. Your meat must have the perfect companion, and Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce might be the one. However, remember to use it sparingly if you’re worried about overpowering flavors. Make sure you try it and find ways to integrate it into your meals. Plan to impress your guests with the rich taste and fiery kick!

Finding the perfect barbecue sauce that delivers heat and flavor can often be challenging.

In my recent travels through Middle Eastern and European countries, I encountered various sauces, each boasting unique richness

Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce recipe

However, it wasn’t until a friend from Spain invited me over for a backyard grill that I encountered Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce.

This sauce immediately transformed our simple barbecue into a gastronomic experience reminiscent of the tantalizing dishes I tasted during my travels.

The tang and heat, combined with an intricate depth of flavors, made it the talk of the evening. 

Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce is your best bet if you’re looking for a sauce that elevates your barbecue game. It’s become a staple in my kitchen that my kids frequently request.

This is not just a sauce; it’s a journey of flavors waiting to be experienced.

What Is Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce?

Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce is a blend of spices, heat, and smoky undertones designed to elevate any grilled dish.

Originating from a meticulous combination of ingredients, it stands out for its balanced, fiery kick. This is it if you’ve ever sought a sauce that brings warmth and depth to your meals. 

In my experience, Bruce’s formula resonates with a unique flair after trying numerous sauces during European and Middle Eastern travels.

It’s not just about the heat; it’s about the symphony of flavors that leaves an indelible mark on your palate.

History Of Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce 

Chef Bruce Thompson conceived Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce during a culinary expedition to the Middle Eastern and European regions.

Intrigued by the diverse flavors he encountered, Bruce aspired to create a sauce that captured the essence of his travels.

Drawing inspiration from regional spices, tangy hints, and smoky undertones, he crafted a blend that married the heat of the East with the rich depth of Europe.

Today, this sauce is a testament to Bruce’s dedication to creating a blend that transcends borders and tantalizes taste buds.

Interesting Facts About Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce

  • Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce boasts ingredients sourced from 12 countries, reflecting its international inspiration.
  • Despite its global influence, the original recipe has remained unchanged.
  • In a blind taste test, 9 out of 10 professional chefs chose Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce over leading competitors.
  • The sauce has won three international awards, including the prestigious “Golden Grill Award.”
  • Chef Bruce Thompson personally tastes and approves every batch to ensure consistency.
  • Rumor has it that a secret ingredient, known only to Bruce, gives the sauce its distinctive kick.
  • It’s not just for meat! Adventurous chefs have used it in unconventional ways, such as a pizza base or a spicy pasta twist.
  • Celebrities like Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks have publicly professed their love for the sauce.
Interesting Facts About Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce

What Are The Regional Adaptations Of This Sauce?

  • Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce, inspired by global flavors, has seen various regional adaptations:
  • In Italy, a version infuses basil and sun-dried tomatoes, enhancing pizzas and pasta.
  • The Middle Eastern twist includes pomegranate molasses and za’atar, adding a tangy, aromatic note.
  • In Spain, smoked paprika and sherry vinegar blend in, complementing local tapas.
  • The Indian adaptation incorporates tamarind and garam masala, giving it a sweet-spicy depth.
  • A French rendition uses Dijon mustard and herbes de Provence, ideal for poultry dishes.
  • The Japanese variant integrates yuzu and wasabi, offering a citrusy kick.

What Will Make You Love This Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce? 

  • Global Inspiration: Crafted from flavors across continents, it’s a world tour in a bottle.
  • Perfect Heat: It offers a fiery kick without overpowering the dish’s natural flavors.
  • Rich Complexity: Beyond the heat, it boasts layers of taste that complement various dishes.
  • Chef-Approved: Its consistency and taste have the personal touch of Chef Bruce Thompson.
  • Versatility: From grilling to glazing, it’s suited for various culinary applications.
  • Natural Ingredients: No artificial preservatives or additives – only the best go into it.
  • Award-Winning: Its accolades vouch for its unmatched quality.
What Will Make You Love This Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce? 

Ingredients List

Apricot halves (drained)2 (15 ounce) cans
Packed brown sugar4 cups
Cider vinegar4 cups
Tomato sauce1 (29 ounce) can
Ketchup2 cups
Maple syrup1 cup
Prepared mustard1 cup
Orange juice1/2 cup
Honey1/2 cup
Salt3 tablespoons
Molasses1/2 cup
Chicken bouillon granules3 tablespoons
Crushed red pepper flakes2 tablespoons
Garlic powder2 tablespoons
Onion powder2 tablespoons
Worcestershire sauce2 tablespoons
Soy sauce2 tablespoons
Pepper1 tablespoon
Liquid smoke (optional)2 tablespoons

Ingredient Tips 

  • Apricots: Opt for fresh apricots when in season for a richer flavor.
  • Brown Sugar: Ensure it’s lump-free; fresh packages work best.
  • Cider Vinegar: Opt for organic, unfiltered variants for a robust tang.
  • Tomato Sauce: Choose low-sodium versions to control the saltiness better.
  • Maple Syrup: Authentic, pure syrup adds depth. Avoid imitation varieties.
  • Honey: Raw, unprocessed honey lends a nuanced sweetness.
  • Molasses: Dark molasses provides a deeper, richer flavor profile.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Adjust based on heat preference; it can be intense.
  • Garlic & Onion Powder: Freshly ground versions enhance the sauce’s aroma.
  • Liquid Smoke: Use sparingly; it’s potent. You mustn’t overpower other flavors.

What Are The Variations Of Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce Recipe?

  • Tropical Twist: Incorporate mango pulp and pineapple juice for a fruity flair.
  • Smoky Chipotle: Blend in chipotle peppers for a smoky heat.
  • Asian Fusion: Add sesame oil and hoisin sauce for an East Asian touch.
  • Mediterranean Muse: Infuse with olives and capers for a salty undertone.
  • Tex-Mex Treat: Mix in cumin and lime juice for a zesty punch.
  • Indian Spice: Incorporate curry powder and tamarind pulp for a tangy, spicy blend.
  • Honey-Mustard Merge: Increase honey and mustard for a sweet and tangy combination.
  • Garlic Lover’s Dream: Triple the garlic powder or use fresh minced garlic.
What Are The Variations Of Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce Recipe?

Recipe Directions

Cooking Method

  • Start by preparing your blender or food processor. Ensure it’s clean and in proper working condition.
  • Place the apricots into the blender or food processor. Process them until you achieve a smooth puree.
  • Transfer the pureed apricots into a large soup kettle or a Dutch oven.
  • Methodically add the next 17 ingredients to the apricot puree from the ingredient list. Stir them in, ensuring they mix well.
  • Place the kettle or Dutch oven on medium heat. Wait until the mixture comes to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer uncovered for about 1 hour. This is essential for the flavors to blend harmoniously. Remember to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • If you’re aiming for a smokier flavor, now’s the time to stir in the liquid smoke. This step is optional, so you can skip it if you’re satisfied with the taste.
  • After cooking, remove from heat and allow the sauce to cool down. This also gives time for flavors to meld further.

Once cooled, transfer the sauce into sterilized jars or bottles. Store them in the refrigerator. The sauce must be kept cool to retain freshness.

Ensure you use the sauce within a month for the best flavor experience.

Scaling The Recipe

  • Determine the Multiplier: Decide how much you want to increase or decrease the original recipe. For example, if you’re doubling, your multiplier is 2.
  • Every Ingredient Counts: Multiply each ingredient by your chosen multiplier. If halving, use 0.5 as the multiplier.
  • Adjust Cooking Equipment: If you’re scaling up significantly, use a larger pot.
  • Cooking Time: While simmering time might remain close to the original for flavor infusion, the time to reach a boil might vary.
  • Taste Test: When scaling, you must taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
  • Storage: Based on your scale, plan to store in proportionally larger or smaller containers.
Variations Of Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Can This Sauce Be Used As A Marinade, Dipping Sauce, Or Dressing For Salads? 

Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce’s versatility is one of its strong suits.

  • As a Marinade: Its rich flavors deeply penetrate meats, making them flavorful and juicy. Remember to marinate for at least a few hours or overnight for best results.
  • Dipping Sauce: Its balanced tanginess and heat make it an excellent companion for appetizers like chicken wings, fries, and spring rolls.
  • Dressing for Salads: While it might be unconventional, mix it with olive oil and perhaps some fresh lemon juice. This blend can be drizzled over hearty salads with ingredients like grilled chicken or roasted veggies.

What Are The Best Dishes To Accompany Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce? 

  • Grilled Meats: Think ribs, steaks, and chicken. The sauce’s smoky undertone complements the charred flavors.
  • Burgers: A dollop adds a tangy, spicy kick, especially beef or turkey patties.
  • Seafood: Try it with grilled prawns or salmon; the sweetness balances the sauce’s heat.
  • Vegetarian Delights: Enhance grilled tofu or tempeh, giving them an added layer of flavor.
  • Pizza: Instead of the usual tomato base, use this sauce for a spicy BBQ pizza.
  • Sandwiches & Wraps: A spread inside boosts the overall taste.
  • Roasted Veggies: Drizzle over or serve as a side.
  • Pulled Pork: The tangy sauce perfectly matches the meat’s succulence.

What Are Some Classic Dishes That Feature Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce? 

  • Bruce’s BBQ Ribs: Slow-cooked ribs generously glazed with the sauce, ensuring a caramelized finish.
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza: A twist on traditional pizza, using the sauce as the base, topped with grilled chicken and red onions.
  • Spicy BBQ Meatballs: Meatballs simmered in the sauce, delivering a tangy-spicy bite.
  • Grilled Shrimp Skewers: Shrimp marinated in the sauce and grilled to perfection.
  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches: Tender pork shoulder slow-cooked with the sauce, served on buns.
  • Bruce’s BBQ Wings: Chicken wings coated and baked, offering a sticky, delicious experience.
  • BBQ Tofu Steaks: Grilled tofu slabs brushed with the sauce, catering to vegetarians.

What Are The Key Flavor Profiles And Taste Sensations That Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce Offers?

  • Sweetness: Courtesy of brown sugar, maple syrup, and apricots, it teases the palate with a sugary note.
  • Tanginess: Cider vinegar and tomato sauce deliver a zesty punch, balancing the sweetness.
  • Heat: The crushed red pepper flakes ignite a fiery sensation, giving the sauce its characteristic heat.
  • Umami: Soy sauce and chicken bouillon granules add depth, creating a savory undernote.
  • Smokiness: Liquid smoke, though optional, imparts a rustic, woodsy aroma.
  • Aromatic Spices: Garlic and onion powders infuse the sauce with aromatic flavors.
Classic Dishes That Feature Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce

Can This Sauce Be Stored And Preserved For Future Use? What Is Its Shelf Life?

Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce can be stored and preserved for future use. Once prepared, ensure the sauce cools down completely before transferring it to sterilized glass jars or bottles.

Sealing it airtight helps in prolonging its freshness.

Shelf Life

  • Refrigerated: When stored in the refrigerator, it’s best consumed within a month for optimal flavor and freshness.
  • Canning: If you plan to use a canning process, the sauce can last up to a year in a cool, dark place. However, once opened, consume within a month.

What Are The Substitutes For Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce? 

  • Store-bought BBQ Sauce: Many commercial brands offer a range of flavors; you might find a spicy one close.
  • Homemade Blend: Combine ketchup, honey, vinegar, and a pinch of cayenne pepper for a simple alternative.
  • Sriracha: This chili sauce offers heat and can be mixed with honey for sweetness.
  • Mole Sauce: This rich Mexican sauce provides depth and a unique flavor.
  • Tomato Salsa with Chipotle: Adds a smoky spice.
  • Teriyaki Sauce: Offers sweetness and umami, though not the heat.
  • Hoisin Sauce with Chili: It gives both sweetness and a spicy kick.
Substitutes For Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce

How To Adjust The Consistency Of The Sauce? 

  • Too Thick: Add water, chicken broth, or apple cider vinegar. Simmer and stir until desired consistency is achieved.
  • Too Thin: Simmer the sauce for a longer period, allowing it to reduce. Alternatively, a cornstarch slurry (mix with cold water) can be added to thicken it quickly.
  • Creamier Texture: Blend in some roasted bell peppers or tomatoes. Their natural pectin helps thicken the sauce.
  • Richer Consistency: A small amount of unsalted butter can be stirred for a velvety finish.

Should We Serve The Sauce Cold Or Warm? 

Whether to serve Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce cold or warm depends on the dish and personal preference.

  • Cold: When chilled, it’s ideal as a dipping sauce or salad dressing. The cold accentuates the tangy and sweet elements, refreshingly contrasting hot dishes like fried appetizers or grilled meats.
  • Warm: If you’re using the sauce as a marinade, glaze, or to baste meats and vegetables during grilling, it’s best served warm. Heating the sauce can intensify its flavors and ensure it melds well with the dish.
Consistency of Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce

Nutritional Values

Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce is a flavorful blend rich in sugars and sodium, providing a mix of energy and essential minerals.

Consumed in moderation, it adds taste without significantly altering daily nutritional intake.

What Are The Total Calories In Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce?

To determine the exact caloric content of Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce, one would need to analyze each ingredient’s specific caloric value and then sum them up. 

However, given the high sugar content from brown sugar, maple syrup, and apricots combined with other ingredients, the sauce can be considered calorie-dense.

A rough estimate would place a tablespoon serving at 50-70 calories, but a nutritional analysis is recommended for precise figures.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce 

  • Gluten: Ingredients like soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce might contain gluten. Opt for gluten-free versions if necessary.
  • Vegan: The chicken bouillon granules make it unsuitable for vegans. Use vegetable bouillon as a substitute.
  • Refined Sugars: Contains high amounts of sugars, which might be unsuitable for sugar-free diets.
  • Sodium: High salt content can concern those on a low-sodium diet.
  • Allergens: Contains soy. Ensure all ingredients are free from cross-contamination.
  • Honey: Some vegetarians avoid honey. Consider alternatives or omit it.

Nutrition Table

What Are The Common Mistakes While Making This Sauce?

  • Overcooking: Simmering the sauce for too long can taste burnt. Make sure you keep an eye on it and stir occasionally.
  • Inconsistent Blending: Not blending the apricots smoothly can lead to a chunky sauce. Ensure a consistent puree for an even texture.
  • Over-seasoning: With so many ingredients, making the sauce salty or spicy is easy. Always add in increments and taste as you go.
  • Skipping the Cooling Phase: Pouring the sauce into storage containers while it’s still hot can create condensation, which might dilute the sauce.
  • Not Adjusting to Personal Preference: The sauce might be too spicy or sweet for some. Adjust ingredients like red pepper flakes and sugar according to your liking.
  • Using Sub-par Ingredients: Quality matters. Using old spices or low-quality ingredients can affect the sauce’s taste.
  • Ignoring the Optional Ingredients: While liquid smoke is optional, it can significantly impact the sauce’s flavor profile. Consider experimenting with it.
  • Not Storing Properly: Ensure the sauce is stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator to maintain freshness and prevent contamination.

What Are Some Creative Uses Of Leftover Sauce? 

Leftover Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce can be repurposed in various creative ways:

  • Stir-fry Glaze: Toss vegetables or proteins in the sauce for a BBQ twist.
  • Pizza Base: Swap out traditional tomato sauce for this on your homemade pizzas.
  • Sandwich Spread: Elevate a regular sandwich or wrap.
  • Burger Topping: Drizzle over burgers for extra flavor.
  • Pasta Sauce: Mix with pasta for a spicy, tangy twist.
  • Meatloaf Glaze: Brush over meatloaf before baking.
  • Soup Enhancer: Add a splash to soups for depth.
  • Potato Wedge Dip: Perfect for dipping baked or fried potatoes.
  • Cocktail Ingredient: Spice up a Bloody Mary.
  • Egg Scramble: Mix into scrambled eggs for a BBQ breakfast.
Uses Of The Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce 

Special Tools & Equipment Needed

  • Blender/Food Processor: Essential for pureeing the apricots to a smooth consistency.
  • Large Soup Kettle/Dutch Oven: Ideal for simmering and melding the sauce ingredients together.
  • Stirring Spoon: Preferably wooden, to mix ingredients without scratching your pot.
  • Measuring Cups & Spoons: Ensures accurate ingredient proportions.
  • Fine-Mesh Strainer: Useful to strain the sauce for an ultra-smooth texture.
  • Heat-resistant Glass Containers: For storing the sauce.
  • Ladle: Helps transfer the sauce to storage containers.
  • Cooking Thermometer: Monitor the sauce’s temperature, especially if reduced.
  • Tongs: Useful for testing consistency.
  • Whisk: Helps in mixing and ensuring even ingredient distribution.

Frequently Asked Questions  

Can I Use Fresh Apricots Instead Of Canned Ones?

Yes, you can use fresh apricots. Ensure they are ripe, and you’ll need to adjust for sweetness, as canned varieties are typically in sweet syrup. If you’re confused about the quantity, aim to have the equivalent of the two 15-ounce cans once they are pureed.

I Don’t Have Cider Vinegar. Can I Replace It With Another Type Of Vinegar?

Certainly, while cider vinegar offers a distinct taste, you can substitute it with white vinegar or apple cider for a similar tang. However, this might slightly alter the sauce’s overall flavor profile.

Is The Sauce Gluten-Free?

It largely depends on your ingredients, especially store-bought items like soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, which might contain gluten. Make sure you check the labels or find gluten-free alternatives if required.

How Long Does The Sauce Last In The Refrigerator?

If stored in airtight containers, Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce can last up to a month in the refrigerator. Ensure it’s kept cold and avoid cross-contamination by using clean utensils when serving.

Can I Freeze The Sauce For Longer Storage?

Yes, the sauce can be frozen for 3-4 months. When ready to use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and give it a good stir before serving.

Finger-Licking Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce Recipe (Family Favorite)

5 from 3 votes
Course: Hot Sauces


Prep time


Cooking time




Ferment/Rest Time



Bruce Hot Barbecue Sauce is a rich, tangy blend of apricots, brown sugar, and aromatic spices. Its unique combination offers a savory kick, perfect for grilling, dipping, and marinating.


  • 15 ounce 15 Apricot halves (drained)

  • 4 cups 4 Packed brown sugar

  • 4 cups 4 Cider vinegar

  • 29 ounce 29 Tomato sauce

  • 2 cups 2 Ketchup

  • 1 cup 1 Maple syrup

  • 1 cup 1 Prepared mustard

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Orange juice

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Honey

  • 3 tablespoons 3 Salt

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Molasses

  • 3 tablespoons 3 Chicken bouillon granules

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Crushed red pepper flakes

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Garlic powder

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Onion powder

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon 1 Pepper

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Liquid smoke (optional)

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation: Gather all the ingredients. Ensure the apricots are thoroughly drained. Lay out the measuring cups, spoons, and other tools needed.
  • Puree the Apricots: Add the drained apricot halves in a blender or food processor. Blend until you achieve a smooth, consistent puree. There shouldn’t be any large chunks remaining.
  • Mixing Ingredients: In a large soup kettle or Dutch oven, pour in the apricot puree. Add brown sugar, cider vinegar, tomato sauce, ketchup, maple syrup, and the next 12 ingredients from the list.
  • Cooking the Sauce: Place the kettle on medium heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, ensuring to stir occasionally. This will help meld the flavors and reduce the risk of any ingredient settling at the bottom and burning.
  • Simmer: Once it has reached a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Let the sauce simmer, uncovered, for approximately 1 hour. Remember to stir occasionally to prevent sticking or burning.
  • Check Consistency: As it simmers, the sauce should thicken. If you’re worried it’s too thick or thin, refer to the previously provided tips to adjust.
  • Adding the Final Touch: If you use liquid smoke, stir it in now. It provides a smoky undertone, elevating the sauce’s flavor profile.
  • Cooling: Once done simmering, remove the kettle from the heat. Allow the sauce to cool for about 30 minutes. This step is crucial as pouring hot sauce directly into storage containers can lead to unwanted condensation.
  • Storing: Transfer the cooled sauce into airtight glass containers using a ladle. Ensure the lid is sealed tightly to maintain freshness.
  • Refrigeration: Place the containers in the refrigerator. The sauce is best used within a month for optimal flavor.

Recipe Video


  • Apricots: Ensure that the apricots are fully drained. Excess liquid can alter the sauce’s consistency and flavor balance.
  • Heat Level: The crushed red pepper flakes give this sauce its heat. If you’re worried it might be too spicy, start with a smaller quantity and adjust to your taste.
  • Liquid Smoke: This ingredient is optional but can add a smoky depth to the sauce. If you’re unfamiliar with its potency, add gradually and taste as you go.
  • Consistency: The sauce will thicken further as it cools. If the consistency is too thick after refrigeration, you can slightly warm it before use.
  • Storage: The sauce must be stored in airtight containers to prevent contamination and maintain freshness. Ensure you let the sauce cool down adequately before transferring to avoid condensation inside the containers.
  • Usage: This sauce is versatile. Remember to stir it well before each use, especially if it has been refrigerated for a while.
  • Variations: Feel free to experiment with other ingredients based on your preferences. For example, apple cider can be a flavorful substitute for cider vinegar.

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