Bourbon Maple Barbeque Sauce

In my venture to eat wholesome, nutritious foods that help support my body versus hinder it, it’s hard stuff when it comes to condiments.

Bourbon Maple BBQ Sauce - Foodies Gone Real

Rewind 3+ years ago: I had one-million-gazillion barbecue sauces filling the door of my fridge.  So many sauces to marinade and barbecue meats! You feeling like a certain flavor? I probably had it. I had no problems making my own sauces, too (I’ve always loved to cook, even before cleaning up our diets!)… but we had a thing for a good barbecue sauce in this house.

This is my attempt to recreate an “old” favorite that had bourbon whiskey as the base.  And if you think that doesn’t matter, you are SO wrong! I don’t often recommend this (because of the severe temptation to buy it all up!), but go looking through the conventional barbecue sauces in the grocery store.  There are SO many flavors and nuances!

Bourbon Maple BBQ Sauce - Foodies Gone Real

Hands-down, my go-to sauce for a quick fix is Mommypotamus’ BBQ sauce… which you can see here.  But, as I’ve so stated, I love variety in my barbecue sauces.  The recipe below requires a little more prep, so it’s good for when you have some time.  (I still go back to Mommypotamus when I need a sauce quick! I love it!)


2 cans (15oz) tomato sauce

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

2+ Tbl lard/tallow (read up on why this is better than shortening and other oils here)

1/2 cup bourbon

2 Tbl chili powder

sprinkle of cayenne

2 Tbl Apple Cider Vinegar

may want to salt and pepper it


Melt a hearty 2 tablespoons or tallow/lard on medium heat in pot of choice.  Capacity needs to be over 4 cups. Using a larger pot will help you cook the onions faster as there is a larger surface area on which to cook. You can use butter or other oil… but the tallow/lard is best!

Bourbon Maple BBQ Sauce - Foodies Gone Real

While this is melting/obtaining liquid status, chop your onions and mince your garlic (however you’d like to do that…mincer, finely chopped, whatever).  How much you chop up your onion is up to you – if you don’t mind a chunky sauce, leave them course.  If you want it a smooth sauce, chop as finely as you can.  (Or use a food processor if you have it!!)

Bourbon Maple BBQ Sauce - Foodies Gone Real

Throw the onions only into the melted lard, and As the onions are cooking, add more lard as necessary. You don’t want the onions to burn to the bottom! Saute the onions until they are turning translucent.  Now add your minced garlic.

Bourbon Maple BBQ Sauce - Foodies Gone Real

You need to keep the garlic moving as it has a tendency to burn easy.  Saute for another minute or two, until your kitchen smells like garlic heaven.

Dump the bourbon into the pot and scrap the bottom of your pot.  Scrape the bottom of the pot while the bourbon begins bubbling.  I’m a fan of wooden spoons for this (sturdy, nonreactive, etc.) but I’m sure a plastic will do, too. Let this boil for about two to five minutes while the liquid reduces.  This also burns off the alcohol.

Bourbon Maple BBQ Sauce - Foodies Gone Real

Now add the tomato sauce, maple syrup, spices, apple cider vinegar.  Stir until combined.  You can salt and pepper at this point, but please read this first:

  • Look at the can of tomato sauce. If there are extra spices added to the sauce, I would add salt and pepper with caution. Don’t go nuts since the sauce was already seasoned.  If you have unsalted and/or unspiced sauce, you’re going to want to definitely salt and pepper generously, and also add a few dashes of garlic and/or onion powder.

Now cover, and bring to a boil on medium-high heat.  Stir occasionally as you don’t want the sauce on the bottom to burn.  Once it’s good and boiling, reduce the heat to medium and let it return to a boil.  Let it stay at this temperature for 45 minutes, stirring frequently.  Taste test the sauce after 45 minutes: spicy enough?  If not, stir in another tsp of child powder and dash of salt and then let it cook another 5 minutes to let the flavors combine.

Bourbon Maple BBQ Sauce - Foodies Gone Real

Turn the heat off and let it cool for about 15 minutes.  Then jar it up!  (And this makes a really big batch… it does freeze well!)

An option if you’re particular about the texture of the sauce – once it’s cooled slightly, you can add it into a blender for supreme consistency.

I feel like saying “Bon Appetit!” here… but that feels weird to say about barbecue sauce. So, go have some finger-licking-good barbecue. :)

Bourbon Maple BBQ Sauce - Foodies Gone Real


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4 thoughts on “Bourbon Maple Barbeque Sauce

  1. The Hungry Southern Wanderer September 1, 2015 at 9:39 am Reply

    You add bourbon to anything, I’m there!

    • Sarah September 1, 2015 at 10:21 am Reply

      HAHA! This I understand :)

  2. July & The Plan | Foodies Gone Real July 6, 2016 at 12:58 pm Reply

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