Whiskey Bourbon BBQ Sauce

I’m officially back in the city, and officially back to work. After a glorious week off in the country, getting up at 6:30am and getting on a crowded bus this morning felt quite foreign. I’m very glad this is a short work week!

I spent much of my time back home cooking and working on new recipes, which I’ll be sharing soon. Here’s a new one I created this weekend while spending Fourth of July hickory-smoking a 4lb pork butt slathered in a spicy rub until it was fall-apart-tender.

I wanted this to be top secret. I wanted it to have a name like Smokey Joe’s Backyard Moppin’ Sauce. Or Three Finger Willie’s Pit Master Pork Juice. I wanted there to be a lock box with a hand-written sauce- smudged recipe. A recipe passed down through generations, so good, if-I-tell-you-I’ll-have-to-kill-you…

While that would certainly make for a more dramatic story, this sweet little BBQ baby was only recently created, but still worth a lock box. And there is a secret ingredient of sorts: All-American Bourbon Whiskey.

A thick, sticky, and sweet concoction, this sauce was specifically created with pork shoulder cuts in mind. It doubles as both a mopping and a mixing sauce; the strong, deep flavor is perfectly suited for turning tough cuts into irresistibly-lip-smackin’-good pulled-pork sandwiches.

Recipe after the jump…

Whiskey Bourbon Barbeque Sauce
Makes enough sauce for moppin’ and mixin’ 4lbs of pork butt (also called pork shoulder)

1 medium sweet onion, minced
1 1/2 tbs. fresh garlic, chopped
2 tbs. olive oil
6 oz. (typically one can) tomato paste
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup good American bourbon whiskey
*salt and pepper, to taste

1. Add garlic, olive oil and onions to a tall-sided pot.

2. Season with salt and pepper and sweat the onions over medium heat until they are translucent.

3. Add tomato paste, stir until warmed and combined.

4. Add honey, molasses, vinegar, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, and whiskey, and bring to a boil.

5. Turn burner down to medium-low heat, and let ingredients meld together for at least 30 mins or up to an hour. The sauce will continue to bubble and simmer.

6. Optional: I use an immersion blender after the sauce has finished cooking to make the texture smoother. A food processor or blender will do the trick as well, although you may omit this step and the sauce will still be delicious with larger bits of onions and garlic throughout.

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Hi! I'm Laura, the food-obsessed cook, writer, and photographer behind Fork Knife Swoon, where you'll find mostly sweet, seasonal recipes and stories from my Northern Virginia kitchen.

All photography and content copyright Laura Bolton ©2021, and may not be used without permission.