Recipe: Spicy Barbecue Chicken

Flavorful and healthy


Instead of using pre-packaged barbecue sauce, which often contain high fructose corn syrup and tend to be very high in sodium, this recipe calls for more natural sources of sugar, including honey and molasses, and no added salt. Instead, you can find flavor in healthy ingredients. Garlic is good for your heart, while cayenne pepper and ginger provide anti-inflammatory protection. So enjoy the flavors and eat in good health!


5 tablespoons (3 oz) tomato paste
1 teaspoon ketchup
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 teaspoons white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon ginger, grated
1 1/2 lb chicken (breasts, drumsticks), skinless


  1. Combine all ingredients except chicken in a saucepan.
  2. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Wash chicken and pat dry. Place it on large platter and brush with half of sauce mixture.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in refrigerator for one hour.
  5. Place chicken on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and broil for 10 minutes on each side to seal in juices.
  6. Turn oven to 350°F and add remaining sauce to chicken. Cover chicken with aluminum foil and continue baking for 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Makes 6 servings
Serving size: one piece

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Calories: 176
Fat: 4 grams
Saturated Fat: <1 gram
Sodium: 199 mg
Protein: 27 grams
Carbohydrate: 7 grams
Sugars: 4 grams
Dietary fiber: 1 gram

Source: Keep the Beat: Heart Healthy Recipes from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2003)

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  • C. Hill

    It’s always good to see the “Digestive Health” team post a recipe full of saturated fat and cholesterol and with pretty much ZERO FIBER. Ok, the recipe says it contains one gram of fiber but, really, what has fiber? Tomato paste? Ketchup? A minced garlic?

    I’m curious!

    • Annette Thomas

      I thinking this recipe is not about receiving fiber but more about a healthy condiment. No sugar, fructose, salt and preservatives. Add a veggie and bread for needed fiber. A healthy diet is about what you put in your body, but also for what you don’t put in.

      • C. Hill

        ok good point it’s about healthy alternatives to bottled BBQ sauce. and i totally agree with you about a healthy diet being about what you don’t put in your body. Like chicken, for example, which is definitely not a healthy thing to put in your body, no matter what condiment you slather over it. The American Medical Association and the American Dietetic Association as well as the American Cancer Society and the Royal Cancer Society as well as virtually every medical and dietetic group in the world recommends eating a plant-based diet and not animal products which are loaded with cholesterol and saturated fat and contain zero fiber. So, to me, this recipe is like one that tells you how to smoke light cigarettes or something. It’s just not healthy.