For someone who doesn’t love to drink bourbon, I sure love cooking and baking with it. This BBQ sauce is no exception, and it’s one of the first bourbon recipes published here on FITK, back in 2016.
It’s tangy, acidic, and slightly sweet, and slightly spicy, with the hint of smoky bourbon that takes it to the next level. Once you see how easy it is to make your own BBQ sauce at home, you’ll never buy from a jar again. In no time you’ll be slathering it on grilled chicken wings, tossing it with pulled pork, and using it as a dipping sauce for everything.
It’s easily made vegetarian and vegan, too, so no matter what dietary needs you or your guests might have, everyone can enjoy this bourbon sauce recipe!
What You’ll Need to Make Bourbon Sauce
Simple, basic pantry ingredients make this sauce with absolutely no chopping of ingredients. The simple ingredients for this quick bbq sauce come together in less than 15 minutes, making it perfect for quick weeknight dinners and easy enough to make when hosting guests for a delicious dinner!
- Bourbon – even if you’re not a bourbon drinker, you’ll love the smoky bourbon flavor and dimension it adds to the sauce!
- Ketchup – for an easy tomato base
- Honey and Brown Sugar – both help thicken the sauce and add sweetness to balance out the acid and spice we have in the sauce
- Onion and Garlic Powder – flavor, flavor, and more flavor!
- Hot Sauce – to add a kick to the sauce
- Worcestershire Sauce – for a wonderful umami addition.
What kind of Bourbon should I use?
The best kind of bourbon is the one you have in your liquor cabinet already. In my opinion, anyway. I generally have Bulleit, which is what I’ve used for this recipe. That being said, I would recommend using something cost effective. You don’t want to use your best bourbon for this recipe, since it’s mixed with so many additional flavors.
How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce
It’s so super easy to make this homemade sauce, which makes it perfect for any occasion. There are just two simple steps and you’re on your way to slathering this thick, smoky, tangy sauce on everything.
First, whisk together all the ingredients in a saucepan. Don’t forget to pour in the bourbon, and no one will be judging if you pour yourself a little too, go ahead, enjoy it!
Next, simmer the sauce ingredients for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the sides so the sugars do not burn. As the sauce simmers, it will begin to thicken slightly and the flavors will meld together. I would recommend taste testing the sauce as it cooks, too, and if needed, adjust any flavors to your preference.
Once the sauce has simmered, it’s ready to be devoured! Yes, really, it’s that easy to make! If storing the sauce immediately, let it cool, then pour it into a jar with an airtight lid and place in the fridge until ready to use. You can make it up to 2 weeks in advance. If you’re ready to use immediately, at this point you can continue with your recipe as needed and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can.
Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 6 months. You can make it up to 2 weeks ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge until you need it.
It’s got a slight kick to it, but it’s not overpowering. It’s more tangy and sweet than spicy. Feel free to adjust the level of hot sauce when you make it to adjust to your needs.
You can use vegetarian or vegan-friendly Worcestershire sauce and substitute brown sugar or maple syrup for the honey to make it vegetarian/vegan-friendly.
There sure is! I recommend swapping it for the buffalo sauce in my cauliflower bites (or going half and half with the sauces!
Yes, depending on your ingredients. If you need to be gluten-free, be sure to check the ingredients you’re adding. Specifically, look at the Worcestershire ingredients and maybe even your hot sauce ingredients to be safe. If you have those items gluten-free, yes this sauce will be gluten-free.
Ways to Use Bourbon BBQ Sauce
Any recipe that uses regular barbeque sauce can be substituted with homemade bourbon bbq sauce. Here are a few favorite ways to use this homemade sauce. Have a favorite? Be sure to leave a comment below and let us know!
- Chicken Wings or Cauliflower Wings
- Sous Vide Chicken Wings
- Burgers or Portobello Mushroom Burgers
- Jackfruit or Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- Babyback Ribs or other smoked meats or grilled chicken
- Add it to a salad dressing
More Easy Sauce Recipes to Love:
- 5 Minute Buffalo Sauce
- Easy Romesco Sauce
- Spicy Teriyaki Sauce
- Homemade Ponzu Sauce
- Red Enchilada Sauce
Get the Recipe Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
- ¼ cup bourbon
- ½ cup ketchup
- 2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic power
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, vegetarian or gluten-free, if needed
- Salt, to taste if needed
- Whisk together all ingredients in a wide saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Whisk occasionally, scraping the sides as needed so any sugars don’t burn. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Let cool slightly and transfer to a jar or use immediately. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
- honey changed from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup
- brown sugar changed from 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup
- Reduced cooking time by half (no significant difference was made by simmering longer)
By the Way…
This recipe is part of our collection of savory homemade sauce recipes. Check it out!
Can you use apple juice instead of bourbon??
Hi! Yes, that should work! If you find it too sweet, try adding an extra splash of apple cider vinegar.