The Soaring Pig: Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

by Stephen Dafoe

A couple of summers ago, we bought a Bradley Smoker and started using it fairly regularly. A while back my wife bought me an air fryer, mostly so I could do chicken wings.

With all of that meat looking for coating, I dug around the Internet for a barbecue sauce that had flavour but was not too hot.

Like all recipes, I started with one, moved to another, then settled on a blending between a couple until I found something I liked.

The video above shows the method I currently use ( frequently it seems ) to keep us in barbecue sauce at home.

The Ingredients (available at Sobeys Morinville & No Frills)

4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup minced onion
6 ounces bourbon or good whiskey
2 cups of ketchup
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 teaspoons liquid smoke (could be increased to2 tablespoon if you like it smokey)

1/ Bourbon is the key

The recipe I use makes use of 6 ounces (3/4 cup) of bourbon. I’ve used Makers Mark and currently use John B. Stetson, both of which can be purchased at Liquor on Main in Morinville or Liquor Planet.

Bourbon is a great choice because it has a caramel smokiness to it that is perfect for barbecue sauce.

Be careful to use a good bourbon – or whiskey. The cheap stuff can give your sauce more of an alcohol taste.

Bourbon is an American whiskey that has to be 51 per cent corn, and aged in new, charred oak containers.

If the bottle says Kentucky Straight, it will work just fine as it has been aged for at least two years in the barrels.

Kentucky Straight also tells you the bottle is not mixed with other bourbons or alcohols.

2/ Getting the onions and garlic right

Another important step is getting the bourbon in a deep pan over medium heat and the onions and garlic simmering in it for about 10 minutes.

When they start to shimmer and carmelize a bit, I know it is time to throw everything else in.

3/ Everything else

A/ add all the ingredients to the pan and stir.
B/ Bring to a boil
C/ Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
D/ You can run the sauce through a strainer to trap out the onion chunks or puree it to give you a smooth barbecue sauce.

Fair Warning

If you try this recipe and decide to double it, you can double all the quantities except the bourbon. I’d recommend an extra two to three ounces at most. If your sauce is too liquidy, you can add a little more ketchup and tomato paste to thicken on larger quantity cooks.

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