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A zesty homemade Bourbon Barbecue Sauce perfect for pulled pork or other barbecued meats.

Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Here is the recipe for my husband Jack’s amazing Bourbon Barbecue Sauce. This is the sauce we show served in our Pulled Pork recipe, and it couldn’t be any easier to make!

Our Bourbon Barbecue Sauce is a terrific blend of flavors from the bourbon, ketchup, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, and a small amount of hickory liquid smoke.

If you’ve never cooked with liquid smoke before, it’s a concentrated seasoning used to give meat a smoky or woody flavor, and it can be found in most grocery store condiment or spice aisles, as well as online.  Just be sure to use a small amount of liquid smoke, as the flavoring is very intense – but it’s really the perfect addition to this barbecue sauce. (Liquid smoke comes in a few different flavors such hickory, mesquite, pecan, and cherry. We used a hickory flavor in our recipe today.)


Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

What we particularly like about this Bourbon Barbecue Sauce is that it’s more zesty than sweet, and it really compliments the spices and other flavorings in our pulled pork.  But – if you prefer a sweeter sauce, simply add more brown sugar to the recipe to suits your tastes.

We also used this Bourbon Barbecue Sauce in our Dry Rub Spicy Barbecue Chicken Wings recipe. It’s a versatile sauce that is delicious on sandwiches, chicken wings, or ribs. Enjoy!


Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

You may also like these other Homemade Barbecue Sauce recipes:

This recipe was originally posted here on A Family Feast in December 2012. We’ve made some updates to the post and photos, but it’s the same delicious recipe.

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Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups
  • Category: condiment
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: barbecue


1 cup bourbon whiskey

1 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 ½ cups ketchup

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons molasses

1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon liquid smoke (hickory flavor)

Dash hot sauce


In a 4-quart sauce pan, bring the bourbon to a boil with the minced onions and simmer for five to ten minutes. Most of the bourbon will have evaporated at this point, leaving about two tablespoons of liquid and the onions.

Add the water and all of the other ingredients into the pan with the onions, heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until you reach a thick and smooth consistency.

Using an immersion blender, puree until onions have dissolved, or you can just leave them as-is in the sauce.

Keywords: Bourbon Barbecue Sauce


Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

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  • Clare wrote:

    Hi! How long does the BBQ sauce keep after it’s made? I’d like to make in advance for a Derby themed backyard party.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Clare – The sauce should be fine for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator, so making it ahead will be fine. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Niclas Martinsson wrote:

    Hej Jag undrar om detta Bbq sås recept,När det gäller 1kopp hur mycket är det i svenska mått?
    1 kopp bourbon whisky

    1 kopp finhackad lök

    1/2 kopp vatten

    1/4 kopp brunt socker

    1 ½ kopp ketchup

    2 msk tomatpuré

    2 msk balsamvinäger

    4 matskedar melass

    1/8 kopp Worcestershire sås

    ½ tesked flytande rök (hickory smak)

    Dash varm sås

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Niclas – Hopefully Google translate gave me the correct translation:
      1 “liquid” cup = 250 ml
      1 “dry” cup = 240 grams

      Most of the ingredients in this recipe are liquid cup measurements but we would use a dry cup measure for the onions.

      Hope that helps!

  • Reg wrote:

    As with any other recipe I tweeted it to my liking, but not a a lot. I added a tbspn of garlic and salt and pepper to our liking

    Awesome mix of flavours

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Reg!

  • ken wrote:

    made a double batch. Used one onion and one granny smith apple. Swapped out bourbon for Apple Jim Beam. Yeah buddy.

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds fantastic Ken! Thanks for taking the time to write to us today!

  • ViVi wrote:

    Hi A Family Feast

    I have a few questions about your barbeque sauce. How long will it keep refrigerated? Are you able to freeze this sauce? Have you made it eliminating the onions? Or substituted onion powder ? Thanks in advance.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Vivi – The sauce should be fine for several weeks in the refrigerator. We haven’t tried freezing it and we have only made the sauce as written with onions.

      • ViVi wrote:

        I appreciate your help. I am making it tommorrow ( Tues.). The event is this coming Saturday. I will let you know the feedback.

        • ViVi wrote:

          I don’t have to wait till Saturday. This is THE BEST DARN BARBECUE SAUCE I have ever tasted.
          Including restaurants I have been to. WOW ! ! !

          • Martha wrote:

            Wow – thank you ViVi! So glad you liked the recipe!

  • Sandra wrote:

    Does this have the right ph level to be canned? Anyone know?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Sandra – Great question. We haven’t canned it ourselves. You are correct to note that only certain foods like this can be canned safely. I’ll leave this open to any other readers who might know….thanks for writing to us!

  • Sarah wrote:

    Your photos are amazing! I can’t wait to try this, I need a good bbq sauce recipe, thanks so much!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much Sarah! Hope you enjoy the sauce!

  • matmedmera wrote:

    Very nice recipe . I love this BBQ sauce!
    Greetings from Sweden/ Gosia

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much!!!

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