Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

This classic grilling sauce has the perfect balance of sweet, tangy and spicy — great on chicken, ribs or just about anything!


Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce


  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 small onions, diced (3 cups)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chili powder powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 4 cups crushed tomatoes (about 1 1/3 28-ounce cans)
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2c bourbon
  • 1/4c maple syrup
  • 2 cups water, plus more if needed


  1. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and saute until translucent and tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, the chili powder, coriander, cumin, molasses, and sugar. Stir and simmer for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cider vinegar, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and dark, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Add more water if needed to loosen up the mixture; reduce heat to low if sauce is simmering too quickly.
  3. Puree sauce using a blender or immersion blender. Add remaining 4 teaspoons salt, remaining teaspoon pepper, the white vinegar, bourbon, maple syrup, and Worcestershire sauce, and puree some more. With blender running, carefully add water in a slow, steady stream. Blend until mixture is smooth and emulsified, adding more water if needed. Let cool.
  4. Slather on anything that will sit still long enough.
  5. Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, June 2009


For step-by-step instructions for this recipe and more, visit Pithy and Cleaver.

Author: Pithy and Cleaver

Recipe and photo courtesy of Pithy and Cleaver.

Share This Post On