Honey and Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Bourbon BBQ Sauce
DebbiSmirnoff / Getty Images
  • 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 3 1/4 cups (52 servings)
Ratings (21)

The combination of Kentucky bourbon with honey results in a fantastic barbecue sauce—the sort that has been used in the South for longer than people can remember. It's a sweet, thick, tomato-based barbecue sauce that matches the Kansas City style. For those who are sensitive to the vinegar found in many types of barbecue sauce, it has no vinegar at all but uses a bit of Dijon mustard for tanginess.

This is a spicy sauce, using cayenne pepper and Tabasco for the heat. You can tone down the heat by reducing or eliminating those spices, or kick it up a notch by adding more.

Rather than using ketchup, as many recipes do, this one calls for tomato paste. This eliminates the additives, preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup found in most commercially-produced ketchup. Tomato paste is inexpensive and it is easy to find organic tomato paste with the only ingredient being organic tomatoes.

However, you might find you miss some of the spices in ketchup. You can add that back in with jerk seasoning, which includes allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, and Scotch bonnet peppers.

What You'll Need

  • 2 cups honey
  • 1 (6 ounces) can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
  • Optional: 1/3 cup jerk seasoning

How to Make It

  1. Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  2. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.
  3. If not used immediately, store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Stir the barbecue sauce before using it.

Your homemade barbecue sauce should be good for two weeks when kept refrigerated. Discard the sauce if you see any mold, it becomes discolored, or you detect off-flavors.

Using Honey and Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Honey and bourbon barbecue sauce has a high amount of sugar, which can burn if you are grilling. It is best used after you have cooked the meat. You can brush it on at the end of cooking or in the final minutes of smoking. 

This sauce is great when served on the side so your guests can add just as much as they wish to beef or pork ribs, brisket, or pulled pork. It will also go well on burgers and sandwiches, adding delicious barbecue flavor.

Precautions

Note that this sauce is not cooked, so the alcohol in the bourbon remains in the sauce. This can be a concern for those in alcohol recovery or who avoid alcohol for religious reasons, so use caution when serving this sauce to others. If you are taking it to a gathering, prominently label the dish as having bourbon honey barbecue sauce so those who wish to avoid any trace of alcohol may do so.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 56
Total Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Unsaturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 7 mg
Carbohydrates 14 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Protein 0 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)