A thick, smoky, semi-sweet, and tangy barbecue sauce featuring your favorite Bourbon. Slather it on wings, burgers, cauliflower bites, or use it as a dipping sauce.
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.
Simple, basic pantry ingredients make this sauce.
- Bourbon – even if you’re not a bourbon drinker, you’ll love the 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 is the kind you have around, in my opinion. 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.
Make it from Scratch
It’s so super easy to make this homemade sauce. There are just two steps:
First, whisk together all the ingredients. Don’t forget to pour in the bourbon 😉
Next, simmer for 10-15, stirring occasionally and scraping the sides so the sugars do not burn.
Really, it’s that easy! Pour into a jar and slather it on EVERYTHING.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use whiskey? Yep!
How long will homemade Bourbon BBQ Sauce last? Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 6 months.
How spicy is this sauce? 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.
Is this vegetarian? 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.
Is there a vegetarian appetizer I can use this with? There sure is! I recommend swapping it for the buffalo sauce in my cauliflower bites (or going half and half!).
Is it gluten-free? Depending on your ingredients. Specifically check the Worcestershire ingredients and maybe even your hot sauce ingredients to be safe. If you have those items gluten-free, yes!
More Easy Sauce Recipes to Love:
Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
- ¼ cup bourbon
- ½ cup ketchup
- 2 TBSP 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 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 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)
This post was originally published in May 2016; the photos and text were updated in January 2021. Changes to the recipe were noted in the recipe card.