Sweet and Tangy Watermelon BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ribs cut from beef, coated in barbecue sauce, close-up
Ian O'Leary / Getty Images
    10 mins
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Watermelon is a summer favorite in our house. Just about everyone loves biting into a juicy slice at a backyard barbecue or picnic, but getting your watermelon fix is not limited to the summer months. This sweet and tangy watermelon BBQ sauce is as tasty as it sounds, and better yet, it's extremely versatile. The fresh sauce can be used as a marinade, baste, glaze, or even dipping sauce, and it's just as good over grilled chicken as it is for dipping roasted vegetables.

In this recipe, the watermelon and brown sugar are the fresh and sweet flavors that perfectly balance the salty tang of balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and Dijon mustard. We've also added some red pepper flakes for a little kick, but if you like things a little spicier, go ahead and up the dose. Perhaps our favorite thing about this recipe beyond the flavors is that there is no need to prep ahead of time. Just mix all of the ingredients together and you're on your way to one tasty dinner - any time of the year!

One of our favorite ways to use this watermelon barbecue sauce is as a marinade for chicken, pork, fish or shellfish. The instructions below will give you our best practices for getting the perfect marinade.

What You'll Need

  • ½ cup watermelon juice*
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

How to Make It

  1. Stir watermelon juice, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, and pepper flakes together.
  2. Pour enough sauce over your vegetables, chicken, pork, fish or shellfish to marinate reserving some for basting or dipping later. The recipe easily doubles or even triples for larger meals or parties.
  3. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. If grilling, broiling, or roasting, be sure to baste with additional sauce while your vegetables or meat cook to seal in the flavor. Sauce not used for marinating or basting can be spooned over cooked vegetables and meats before serving.

    *Cook's Note: You can easily purchase ready-made watermelon juice for the convenience factor, but we prefer to make our own. Not only will it be fresh, but you can avoid any additional sugars or additives in store-bought brands. To make your own watermelon juice, simply scoop your fresh watermelon into your blender (being sure to avoid any black seeds), blend for about thirty seconds, and you'll have fresh watermelon juice. You can choose to strain the juice to remove some of the extra thickness, but we prefer it a little frothy and thick.

    Nutritional Facts:

    Per 2-tablespoon serving: 50 Calories, 7g carbohydrate, 1g protein, 2g fat, 0.2 dietary fiber, 378 mg sodium, 0.0mg cholesterol

    Recipe Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board
    Reprinted with permission.

    The National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) represents over 1,500 watermelon growers, shippers, and importers across the nation. While their mission is to promote the nutritional, culinary, and convenience benefits of watermelon, what we love the most about this organization is their seemingly infinite number of delicious watermelon recipes.