How to Make the Most Delicious Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce, According to Sandra Lee

Summer's long, lazy days might, in theory, leave a little more room for cooking, but who wants to be in the kitchen when there's fun to be had outside? Whether you're at the pool, the beach or just your own backyard it's the season for chilling—and grilling.

And nobody does a kitchen shortcut like Sandra Lee. The queen of semi-homemade cooking has given us tons of great tips over the years via her TV shows and cookbooks and she now has a new show, Dinner Budget Showdown, streaming on ROKU. On the show, three home cooks are tasked with making their version of a cheffy dish. The challenge it to make a luxe dish without breaking the bank. The contestant who makes the best food with the smallest grocery bill wins free groceries for year.

On the show, Lee serves as co-host and executive producer and helps the contestants along the way with her tips, tricks and other culinary advice. When we sat down with her recently to talk about her return to food TV we chatted about the show; her role as ambassador of QVC's Age of Possibility platform, which celebrates women over 50; her love of club stores (Sam's Club and Costco ftw!); and some of her favorite summery shortcuts.

Lee, who has written two grilling-related cookbooks, loves to fire up the grill and cook supper outside. As we chatted, she shared her go-to bbq sauce recipe, which we definitely took notes on. Here's what you need to know.

Related: Sandra Lee's Favorite Things to Buy at Costco & Sam's Club


"I'm kind of a big sauce girl and a big molasses girl," Lee told us. And, as we know, she's also a big semi-homemade girl. Her sauce marries all of those things by starting with a bottle of her favorite brand of bbq sauce, Bullseye Original. "I embellish it with hot sauce and with molasses to make it a little thicker and a little richer," she says.

Lee didn't mention a specific brand of hot sauce, but she's all about encouraging cooks to choose their own adventure, so if you like something with some heat and a kick of vinegar, go with a brand like Tobasco. If you prefer a smoky heat, grab a chipotle-based hot sauce.

The amount of molasses and hot sauce depends on how much sauce you need and your flavor preferences. Start with a little bit of each, then taste and adjust to make the sauce work for you.

Once you have the sauce dialed in, slather it on ribs, brush it on chicken or serve it alongside the ketchup, mustard and relish so your guests can use it on their burgers and hot dogs.

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