Made From Scratch: Maple-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

This versatile sweet-and-tangy flavored Maple-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce will knock your socks off. 

Maple-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce || A Less Processed LIfe

You can't have barbecue without barbecue sauce. It's just that simple. While more often than not I tend to purchase my favorite barbecue sauce from the store, when I have the time, I like to make my own batch from scratch. Don't be scared off by the laundry list of ingredients – they are all there for a reason, and honestly, you probably have everything you need in your pantry already.

Maple-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce || A Less Processed LIfe

Making your own barbecue sauce gives you way more control over the ingredients and the flavor profile. I tend to like a sweet and vinegary sauce, and this Maple-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce hits my tastebuds just right. You can play with the heat by adding in more crushed red pepper or a dash (or more) of hot sauce to make it a bit spicier.

Maple-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce (printer-friendly version)
makes about 3 cups

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
fine sea salt
1/4 cup bourbon (I used Maker's Mark)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup water
1 cup Simply Heinz ketchup
1/4 cup organic molasses
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup cider vinegar
pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add in the chopped onion and garlic along with a pinch of salt. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
2. Pour in the whiskey, and simmer for two minutes.
3. Add in the chili pepper, black pepper, allspice, and cloves. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the spices become fragrant.
4. Stir in the maple syrup, water, ketchup, molasses, mustard, cider vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to low/medium-low and simmer for about 30 - 45 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
5. After the sauce has thickened, use an immersion blender to puree the sauce. (Alternately, use a blender, but allow the sauce to cool a bit first before pureeing.)
6. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Maple-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce || A Less Processed LIfe