Easy Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Easy Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

This simple homemade bourbon barbecue sauce takes less than 10 minutes to make and works perfectly for dipping or marinating. Get the recipe now.

When I was in elementary school there were two types of kids: McDonald’s chicken nuggets kids and Burger King chicken nuggets kids.

I was a Burger King fan for one important reason: out of all the chicken nuggets, Burger King’s tasted the best with barbecue sauce.

As much as I loved putting ketchup on my hot dogs and burgers, when it came to chicken, I preferred smoky, sweet barbecue sauce.

Homemade bourbon barbecue sauce is a mix of several classic types

Unlike ketchup, there are multiple types of barbecue sauce and even more recipe variations of each type.

  • Kansas City-style: sweet
  • South Carolina: mustard-based
  • West Carolina: vinegary
  • Texas “mop” sauce: spicy
  • Memphis: sweet and thin
  • Alabama white sauce

While there are tons of articles online about which sauce to pair with certain types of foods and cooking styles, many of us choose our BBQ sauce based on the taste.

Personally, I’m more of a Memphis BBQ sauce fan as it’s less sweet than Kansas City sauce and has a bit more vinegar and tomato flavor.

This homemade bourbon barbecue sauce recipe is far from an authentic version of any of these sauces. Instead, it’s more of a blend of West Carolina and Memphis style.

It’s also not meant to be a show-stopper sauce, but rather a simple weeknight-friendly recipe that perfect for adding to a crockpot to make pulled pork or dipping homemade chicken nuggets into.

You can definitely taste the bourbon in this homemade barbecue sauce

If you’re wondering how bourbon-y this sauce is, let me assure that you will definitely taste the bourbon.

So, if you’re not a fan of bourbon or are making this for kiddos, you can simply substitute water in for the bourbon. You may also want to up the maple syrup a bit as well for a tad more sweetness.   

Despite having a couple more 80-degree days here in Denver this past week, it looks like Fall is going to be in full swing this weekend – possibly even feeling winterish up in the mountains with a chance of snow!

More homemade sauce recipes

Bry and I are headed up to the cabin for the weekend and are keeping our fingers crossed for snow. As much as I loved napping in the hammock this summer, I’m so ready for hot cocoa weather and playing board games while snow falls outside.

So here’s a toast to adding some warmth to these gradually cooling days!   

Easy Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Easy Bourbon BBQ Sauce

This simple homemade bourbon BBQ sauce takes only 10 minutes to make and works perfectly for dipping or marinating.
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Homemade, Sauce
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Kelli


  • 6- oz tomato paste
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup or more to taste
  • ½ tsp black pepper or more to taste
  • Optional: few drops of hot sauce


  • Whisk together ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until it reaches a light boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 min or until thickened. For a spicier BBQ sauce, add a few drops of your favorite hot sauce. Store in fridge for up to two weeks.


Easy Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

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About Kelli McGrane Headshot

I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

About Kelli McGrane Headshot

Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

Hi, I’m Kelli McGrane MS, RD! My mission is to show you that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. I believe getting to know your food is the first step to a healthy relationship with it. Follow along in my journey to learn all I can about ingredients and cooking with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

Please contact me at kelli@thehealthytoast.com to request a copy of my resume or media kit, or to inquire about rates and services.

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