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Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

A zesty homemade bourbon barbecue sauce perfect for pulled pork or other barbecued meats.

Here is the recipe for Jack’s amazing Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, used in our Pulled Pork  and Bourbon Spice Barbecue Chicken Wings recipes.  What we particularly like about this sauce is that it’s more zesty than sweet, and compliments the spices in the pulled pork  and the chicken wings without overpowering the flavor of the meats. (But – if you prefer a sweeter sauce, then just add some brown sugar to the recipe to your liking.)

This sauce is a terrific blend of flavors from the bourbon, ketchup, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce and a small amount of liquid smoke.  If you’ve never cooked with liquid smoke, 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.  Just be sure to use a small amount as the flavoring is very intense – but it’s perfect for this barbecue sauce.


Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Bourbon Barbeque Sauce - A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups


  • 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
  • Dash hot sauce


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Using an immersion blender, puree until onions have dissolved, or you can just leave them as-is in the sauce.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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    Leave a Comment


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

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

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

    • 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!

  4. 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.

    • 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.

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

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


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