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This has all the ingredients I love in a good BBQ sauce. The grocery didn’t have serrano peppers, so I subbed jalapeno (seeds removed) as I don’t like things too spicy. So delicious!
I like to add maple syrup to a bourbon BBQ sauce, would you suggest I replace the molasses or the brown sugar?
What brand of bourbon/whiskey would you recommend? Do I want a rougher whiskey for my BBQ to get a stronger flavor, or will too much of the harshness carry over? Or should I just go with something I enjoy drinking?
Hi Joshua, I only have on hand what I like to drink, so I use Maker’s Mark. But use whatever you want!
Made this today; loved it! My changes…– used a chipotle in adobo sauce instead of the seranno– subbed kaluah for the bourbon; used half as much (in case it was too weird)– nixed the lemon juice– added 1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
It came out more like a glaze than a sauce, but it is dee-lish! And easy. And I love being able to control the sugar.
I added a habanero pepper and WOW It’s the best
Hi Elise — Any thoughts on whether this would freeze well? I love this sauce, and thought maybe I’d make a big batch and then freeze extra to have on hand when needed, but wasn’t sure how it would hold up. Thanks!
I’ve never frozen it, but I have kept the BBQ sauce in a jar in my fridge for a month and it was fine. There’s a lot of acid in there that will preserve it for a while… ~Hank
Can you use any whiskey (Scottish or Irish) instead of bourbon?
Yes, but it won’t taste quite the same. ~Elise
My husband made this last night for his Father to celebrate Father’s Day. It’s probably one of the best BBQ sauces I’ve had. The butter is what I think makes it unique. We used jalapeno and it gave a nice kick without overpowering the other flavors. Because we were a bit short on the molasses, we added some pomegranate glaze. I’m sure that puts our version in the “everything but the kitchen sink” category. Thanks for a terrific recipe!
Hank, I tried this one and it really turned out good. Did not have to add additional salt so I may have gotten too much worcestershire because I didn’t measure anything exact. I did add the additional cayenne as you suggested and the sauce came out really, really great. Served it warm over some bunless burgers – was great, thanks!
I have a vat of this simmering now (I doubled the recipe) for some ribs tomorrow. The smokey-spicy-sweet-salty combination is perfect.
I have a half-gallon of homemade cider vinegar that had been waiting for a chance like this. I substituted the bourbon with a little home-made 114-proof licker that’s also made from apples. Well, mainly apples.
I firmly believe that ribs are best slow-barbecued dry, with maybe a rub of paprika, cloves, and whatever other spices you like. I’ll make this sauce and a simple North Carolina vinegar-and-pepper sauce available for the victims to add as they see fit. If I have time I’ll make a mustard-based South Carolina sauce, too.
I’ve made two batches so far. First using the original recipe. It tasted overly vinegary and to balance it off I added 5 tbsp espresso.
Second batch, I took Bruce Allen’s suggestions and halved the apple cider vinegar, added 1-2 tbsp brown sugar (not the recommended 1 tsp, but it still worked) and 2 tbsp molasses. Also added 4-5 tbsp espresso. It tasted too strong of molasses, but did have a sweeter flavor. A little bit too sweet for my tastes.
I’m going to make a third batch somewhere in between vinegary and sweet, this time with half the apple cider vinegar and +1 tbsp brown sugar, but leaving the molasses on par with the Hank’s recipe, and keeping my 4-5 tbsp espresso addition. I’ll write back with results.
I served this sauce yesterday (July 4) on low and slow pulled pork sandwiches in competition with two other sauces. This one won hands-down! Great recipe! I did cut the cider in half, added an extra tsp of brown sugar and 2 extra tbl of molasses. I will definitely keep this recipe front and center at my BBQ’s
FYI, for beginners, do not salt to taste before the final 20 minute cooking, the sauce will cook down and be too salty. Just something to keep in mind. Actual recipe looks very good though.
~YUM! I picked up some ribs and just made this sauce for our 4th of July BBQ. The taste-testing promises a flavorful & spunky sauce with a kick! I can’t wait to try it on the ribs! Thanks!
A substitution for the molasses (or other sweetener) in any barbecue sauce recipe is root beer syrup. Bring a 2-liter bottle of root beer to a boil in a wide pan and reduce to a strong simmer. Simmer until the root beer is a fairly thick syrup. It adds an interesting depth of flavor and herbal notes.
Great idea, Mark! I’ll have to give this one a go. I bet it’d be a fantastic glaze for a smoked turkey. ~Hank
This looks delicious–thanks for sharing your sauce recipe, Hank! Question about molasses, though. I live in England (orginally from Texas) and I have yet to find molasses. Is there a good substitute?
In England, the best thing to use is treacle as a substitute for molasses. ~Elise
Alcohol boiling away is a bit of a myth. You have to cook things for *many* many hours to evaporate the booze. Even then, some can remain. Using the times in this recipe, 35 to 40% of the booze remains.
That can be deadly to those with allergies. http://homecooking.about.com/library/archive/blalcohol12.htm
Hi Jim, You’re right, not all of the alcohol will boil away. If you are allergic to alcohol, you should not use this recipe. ~Elise