Spicy Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

For smoke flavoring, I like to go to the source. No liquid smoke here. A great way to make this sauce is, if you have room, to put the ketchup in the smoker along with your ribs or pork shoulder (or whatever you happen to be cooking) for the first two hours of a long smoke. Put a drip pan under the meat and substitute a tablespoon of the drippings for the bacon fat below, as this adds a nice little extra something.–Mitchell Rosenthal

LC Yes, Smoked Ketchup Note

Yes, smoked ketchup. This recipe actually has you smoke ketchup. Believe it. Better yet, taste it, whether by the spoonful or slathered all over some ribs that are cooked low and slow, just as they ought to be.

Special Equipment: 2 to 3 handfuls hickory chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

Spicy Bourbon Barbecue Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 2 H, 40 M
  • Makes 1 1/2 quarts

Ingredients

  • Two 24-ounce bottles ketchup
  • 2/3 cup bourbon
  • 2/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup dark molasses
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/3 cup hot red pepper sauce, preferably Tabasco
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon rendered bacon drippings
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Directions

  • 1. Prepare a barrel smoker. You want the temperature to be between 225°F and 250°F (107°C and 121°C).
  • 2. Place the ketchup in a large metal bowl, place the bowl in the smoker, and add a handful of the soaked hickory chips to the coals. Smoke the ketchup for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Be mindful of maintaining a consistent temperature inside the smoker, adding charcoal as needed to keep it in the 225°F to 250°F range (107°C and 121°C). You may need to add more soaked hickory chips to keep the smoke flowing.
  • 3. Transfer the smoked ketchup to a large pot. Add the bourbon, mustard, molasses, water, hot red pepper sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, bacon drippings, and salt and stir well to combine. Place over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has thickened and darkened slightly. Immediately slather the sauce over some ribs or other meat of some sort. Any leftover sauce will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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Comments
Comments
  1. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Melissa Maedgen] This recipe makes a ridiculous amount of sauce, so if you’re just cooking up a couple racks of ribs, I would recommend not just halving but quartering the recipe. Either that or plan to freeze the leftovers. That said, it’s a delicious, very robust sauce, and definitely worth doing if you’ve got the smoker going anyway. Smoking the ketchup is an interesting touch. The ketchup can smoke right alongside your meat, and once that’s done, the sauce comes together quite easily. The resulting sauce is not overwhelmingly smoky, but simply tastes more like barbecue. Using liquid smoke instead of actually smoking the ketchup would not give the same result, so don’t even think about it. This is a very intense sauce, so use it sparingly. You want the meat to be the star.

  2. Peg says:

    This has become our favorite barbecue sauce. I can’t believe how much flavor the smoking of the catsup adds to the sauce. Since we are blessed with plenty of freezer space we always make a full batch and freeze the extra.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Lovely to hear, Peg! Thank you. Never would have thought to freeze the sauce, what a swell trick…!

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