Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

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Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
From The Complete Meat Cookbook (Canada, UK), by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly.

This sauce is understandably popular in Tennessee and Kentucky, where the best American whiskeys are made. The whiskey provides a smoky tang derived from the charred oak barrels it's aged in. The sauce is excellent with all types of grilled pork and delicious swabbed on beef or lamb toward the end of cooking.


2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
2 Tbsp minced garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
2 Tbsp dry mustard, preferable Colman's
1 Tbsp chile powder, preferably Gebhardt

1 Tbsp paprika, preferably Hungarian
2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 to 2 tsp Liquid Smoke (optional)
1 cup beer
1/2 cup bourbon or Tennessee whiskey
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp molasses
Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste


Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, along with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are quite soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper and cook 1 minute more. Stir in the mustard, chile powder, paprika, and optional cayenne. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring well to coat the onions and bell pepper.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir until everything is well blended. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 25 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened but can still be poured. Add water, if necessary, during cooking. Taste for salt, pepper, and Tabasco or other hot sauce. The sauce can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Yield: Makes 3 to 4 cups

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