Red Pepper Watermelon BBQ Sauce

Boxcar BBQ Batch #004

What do you get when you combine juicy watermelon with the fiery heat of fresh Fresno peppers? A BBQ sauce that just screams summer.

With this BBQ sauce recipe, fresh chunks of watermelon, along with watermelon juice and brown sugar bring the fresh and sweet flavors. It’s rounded out by the tangy kick of balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and Worcestershire. Then add in a little fresh lime juice for zest. To add a bit of a kick, the sauce features red hot chipotle peppers for smokiness and Fresno peppers for spicy fresh heat.

Note that if you can’t find Fresno peppers in your grocery store, red or even green jalapeno peppers should suffice.

With the fresh flavors of summer, this sweet heat BBQ sauce is extremely versatile. Use it as a marinade, slap it on some ribs, or spice up some chicken wings at your next summer BBQ.


  • ~30 minutes prep
  • ~45 minutes cooking sauce
  • ~5 cups

Grocery List

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 cup of watermelon juice
  • 4 cups fresh diced watermelon
  • ~4 ( more or less depending on heat preference) of red jalapeno or fresno peppers, with stems removed, seeded and diced
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, diced


  • In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Then add in garlic and ginger and cook for about 1 minute.
  • Next, add in the jalapeno peppers and sauté for another minute.
  • Then add in the watermelon chunks and juice, along with the lime juice, tomato paste, brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire, soy sauce, and vinegar.
  • Stir ingredients together and then add in the rest of your seasonings.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
  • Continue to simmer until the fruit has softened and the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Puree the sauce using either an immersion or regular blender. Process until smooth — if the sauce is too thick, add in a 1/2 cup of water to reach desired consistency.
  • Once smooth, return to the stove and let it simmer for another 20 minutes — stirring when the sauce begins to bubble.
  • Once done, remove from heat and pour through a strainer to remove any pepper or fruit skins.
  • Serve with your favorite BBQ meats, or store in a glass jar with a lid for up to two weeks and enjoy!