Bourbon and Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce

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You already know how much I love barbecue…..everything, but this Bourbon and Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce takes barbecue ribs to a whole new level! It’s sweet, and tangy with an occasional kick that kind of sneaks up on you.

I was careful to not let the bourbon overpower the sauce. It is there, but not in your face like the (Jack Daniels) Whiskey Glaze that I made last year.

A jar of barbecue sauce with a brush in the foreground and bottle of bourbon in the background.

The whiskey glaze was more intense, and the whiskey was definitely the star!! I wanted this sauce to rival any sauce that you could find on a grocery store shelf, and I think that I accomplished that.

I made barbecue ribs for Easter, and realized that I forgot to make the sauce…..until the ribs were done cooking, so I had to throw all of the ingredients together quickly!

How to make Bourbon and Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce:

Pour all of the ingredients into a medium sized saucepan and to a boil.

Bourbon and Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce in a saucepan.

Reduce the heat and simmered for 30 minutes until it is thick and reduced by about half. Voila, Bourbon and Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce to the rescue.

Barbecue ribs on a white plate sitting on a blue checkered napkin with a jar of barbecue sauce and bottle of bourbon in the background.

I had already written down the ingredients that I wanted to use, I just forgot to actually create the sauce. Too many ideas going through my head at the same time!!

As you can see, we do not do ham for Easter. In fact, we never have. I do not like ham because it is too salty, but I do love my ribs…..and un-cured bacon…..so I am not anti-pig…..just anti-salty!

More delicious barbecue sauce recipes:

You may have missed out on having these yummy ribs for Easter, but you can still make them for Memorial Day, or Father’s Day, or Fourth of July or any other day in between. I won’t judge.

I think there might be a barbecue bacon cheeseburger in my future with the left over sauce.

If you love this recipe, please rate it five stars and help me share on facebook and to help other readers in our community!

Tha – tha- tha- that’s all folks! Enjoy!!

A jar of barbecue sauce with a brush in the foreground and bottle of bourbon in the background.

Bourbon and Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce

You don’t know it yet, but you need this Bourbon and Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce slathered all over your ribs, or chicken. Sweet with a kick, this one is sure to please!!
5 from 7 votes
Print Rate
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: barbecue sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 16 Servings
Calories: 134kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson


  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-natural ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • 0.5 cup high-quality bourbon (I used Knob Creek – 100 proof)
  • 0.33 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 0.5 teaspoon sea salt
  • 0.5 teaspoon black pepper
  • 0.5 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon onion powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon chipotle pepper


  • Pour all ingredients into a medium sized sauce pan, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until thick and reduced by about half
  • Serve immediately, or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


  • Use a high-quality bourbon for the best flavor. Cheap brands taste bitter when heated.
  • Four Roses is also delicious in this sauce!


Calories: 134kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Sodium: 218mg | Potassium: 177mg | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 0.5mg

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  1. WOW, this looks good! I know a certain person in my house who would be ALL over this! I am so behind on visiting this week and totally need to catch up!! 🙂 Pinned! Have a happy Friday, my friend!

    1. I am so glad that I can make Mr. Glitterpants happy with my recipes Cindy! I am behind as well, it just never ends does it? Have a fabulous, and hopefully less busy week. 🙂

    1. I do not like whiskey either Carrie, but it is not overpowering in this sauce. I think the Knob Creek is milder than the Jack Daniel’s as well, so that helped!! Thanks again for all of the awesome challenges, I will miss them. 🙂

  2. This looks amazing! I didn’t realize it was so easy to make either. Thanks for the great recipe Lisa! (My hubby thanks you too!) 😉

  3. I’m stopping over from Marvelous Mondays because I just posted two pork recipes that are brined in bourbon. So I’m a big fan of bourbon and grilling with it 🙂
    This sauce looks and sounds awesome. Pinning to try!

    1. Thank you so much Jill. 🙂 Did you link your pork recipes up at our Best of the Weekend party? I am dying to check out the Mint Julep Pasta Salad I see in the commentluv!! That sounds like my kind of pasta salad.

  4. Lisa, I made this tonight to go with some sliced pork roast sandwiches. It was delicious! I cut the sugar to 1 cup and thought I could go to 3/4 cup, but my son thought it was perfect. Thank you for sharing!

  5. This is the first BBQ sauce that I’ve made using alcohol. My daughter makes a mean bourbon BBQ sauce, so I decided to give this recipe a try. The only change I made was to the type and quantity of alcohol used. I used 1/2 cup apple bourbon and 1/2 cup salted caramel bourbon. Shh, don’t tell my husband that I used his reserve bourbons, but I wanted flavors that would compliment the standing lamb and goat roasts. I’m glad I did! They tasted great. I’m definitely saving this pin.

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