Tangy Tomato Bourbon BBQ Sauce {recipe}

My passion for barbecue was discovered late in life, at the ripe age of 26, at the very same time and the very same instant I discovered my soulmate of the meat variety.  PORK.  Thank you Charlotte, for introducing this Ohio girl to your precious piggy bounty, abundant sauces, and deep-rooted opinions on all things ‘cue.

Though it greatly annoys  me when a recipes calls for two cups of “your favorite barbecue sauce,” I’ve never attempted to make my own before now.  It’s something I’ve left to the professionals (aka Midwood Smokehouse, my favorite barbecue joint in town).  I favor BBQ sauces that are heavy on the vinegar (that’s eastern NC style for you BBQ neophytes), but I’m also coming around to the sweeter, ketchup-based sauces.  So this recipe, my first ever BBQ sauce, is a mash-up of the two, a combo that’s united with a heavy hand of Four Roses Bourbon.  Bourbon and barbecue?  Puh-lease.  tangy tomato bourbon barbecue

Tangy Tomato Bourbon BBQ Sauce

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup bourbon (Four Roses Single Barrel)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium high heat.  Add onion, and stir to coat.  Reduce heat to medium, and sauté onions until soft and translucent.  Add garlic and sauté one minute more.  Add bourbon, tomato paste, and brown sugar.  Cook until the liquid has reduced by half, then add remaining ingredients.  Simmer on the stovetop until thick, approximately 30 minutes.  Allow sauce to cool, then pour contents into a food processor and pulse until smooth.  Refrigerate sauce overnight.

tangy tomato bourbon barbecue sauce

Once you’ve got your sauce, here are some delicious ways to use it up:


Basic Creamy Slaw

  • 14 ounce bag of shredded cabbage
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat mayo
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder, if desired

Whisk together all ingredients, except the slaw.  Add 2/3 of the slaw and stir to combine.  Depending on the level of sauciness you prefer, you can add the remaining slaw (or refrain).  Refrigerate.

Disclaimer:  I was provided samples of Four Roses Bourbon and a Whole Foods gift card for this post.  All opinions are my own.

You may also like