Easy Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Bourbon BBQ Sauce is thick, rich, and deeply flavored. What makes this sauce special is brown sugar, ketchup, and a variety of seasonings.

a jar of homemade bourbon barbecue sauce and a basting brush

You can use bourbon barbecue sauce on a variety of meats such as ribs, pulled pork, and chicken breasts. This makes a wonderful basting sauce, but be sure to save some to dip your meat in.

This smoky bourbon BBQ sauce recipe is tangy and made richer and more complex with blended bourbon. Bourbon gives this barbecue sauce a depth of flavor that complements a variety of meats such as steaks and chicken breasts. It also makes a wonderful basting sauce; be sure to save some to dip your meat in.

Spicy and sweet with smoky flavors, you can make this mouthwatering BBQ sauce recipe in no time at all. All you need is brown sugar, bourbon, ketchup, liquid smoke, garlic, and onion. 

What Is Liquid Smoke?

Liquid smoke is a concentrated seasoning that gives meat a smoky or woody flavor. It can be found in most grocery store spice or condiment aisles, as well as on line. You only need a small amount as the flavoring is very intense. Liquid smoke comes in a few different flavors, such as hickory, mesquite, pecan, and cherry. Hickory flavor is perfect for this recipe.

What Kind of Bourbon for This Bourbon Barbecue Sauce Recipe?

Don’t break the bank for a pricey bourbon, but also don’t buy one just because it’s cheap – it’s likely to be harsh, and the taste will come through in the sauce. As long as the bourbon is tasty enough to drink, you’ll be good to go. If you aren’t a regular bourbon drinker, here are a couple of ideas:

  • Jim Beam is a decent, inexpensive bourbon.
  • Makers Mark is a more expensive, sweeter bourbon with caramel and vanilla notes that make a nice contrast to the smoky spice. 

What About the Alcohol in This Barbecue Sauce?

The amount of alcohol that remains in food after it is cooked depends on a number of things – how long the food is cooked, the size of the pot (larger = more alcohol evaporation), and what other ingredients are in the recipe. In this BBQ sauce with bourbon recipe, simmering the sauce for 20 minutes will reduce the alcohol content. The raw taste of the alcohol goes away, but the bourbon flavor remains. 

Will This BBQ Bourbon Sauce Keep?

Yes, store your bourbon barbecue sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks – a mason jar works great. Make a double batch and freeze some for later (it will keep for up to three months). It’s really nice to have BBQ sauce on hand whenever you need it. 

How to Use Your Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

There’s no end to the ways you can use this bourbon BBQ sauce. Here are some ideas you may not have thought of: 

  • Use this bourbon barbecue sauce recipe as a pizza base instead of the traditional tomato sauce. Try BBQ sauce, grilled and chopped chicken, red onions, and cheddar on your next pizza. 
  • Spoon onto tostadas, tacos, or quesadillas.
  • Spread on a smoked Gouda grilled cheese.
  • Dress up a baked potato.
  • Slather on burgers, sliders, or pork chops. Smothered burgers topped with bacon are really good.
  • Use as a dipping sauce for bone-in chicken.
  • Spoon over chicken breasts, cover, and pop into a 400-degree oven for about 30 minutes.
  • Use to make hot wings in place of hot wing sauce.
  • Use as a glaze on meatloaf
  • Add to a slow cooker pot roast.
  • Perfect with smoked brisket.
  • Serve with cocktail meatballs.
  • Use to make baked beans.
  • Mix with ranch dressing for salads. Or mix 1/3 cup BBQ sauce with 1/2 cup mayo, 1 tablespoon of diced sweet pickles, and salt/pepper to taste. 

Bourbon BBQ Sauce Recipe

Bourbon barbecue sauce is rich, thick, and perfect for ribs, chicken, pulled pork, French fries, and much more. It has just the right balance of sweetness and heat, and the bourbon flavor comes through really nicely. After one taste, I have no doubt this will become your new favorite BBQ sauce.

Bourbon BBQ Sauce is great for summer cookouts. Since this delicious sauce is made with bourbon, be sure to pair it with a cool and refreshing summer cocktail.


Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Bourbon
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Heinz ketchup
  • Liquid smoke
  • Garlic
  • Minced onion

How to Make Bourbon BBQ Sauce

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar and bourbon.
  2. Add ketchup, liquid smoke, garlic, and minced onion. Stir until well blended.
  3. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
homemade bourbon BBQ sauce in a jar with a basting brush on top

Favorite Summer Drink Recipes

Be sure to check out more of my easy sauce recipes and the best summer recipes here on CopyKat!

a jar of homemade bourbon barbecue sauce and a basting brush

Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Bourbon Barbecue Sauce is rich, thick, and perfect for ribs, chicken, and pulled pork.
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Cajun
Keyword: Bourbon BBQ Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 838kcal


  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/2 cup blended bourbon
  • 1/2 cup Heinz ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion


  • In a saucepan combine brown sugar and bourbon. Turn heat to medium and mix well.
  • Add ketchup and remaining ingredients. Stir until all is well blended.
  • Heat through for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally


You want to make sure the most of the alcohol cooks away.
You can use this as a basting sauce for BBQ, or you can spoon it over chicken breasts and pop those into a 400-degree oven covered for about 30 minutes.
You can also prepare this with wings for a great change on hot wings.


Calories: 838kcal | Carbohydrates: 141g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 1143mg | Potassium: 524mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 133g | Vitamin A: 615IU | Vitamin C: 5.9mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 1.3mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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