My Dad’s Bourbon Barbecue Sauce


In honor of summertime and Father’s Day last week, I’m sharing my dad’s recipe for his amazing bourbon barbecue sauce. Not only will you use it during the summer grilling season, you’ll want to make a few extra batches to have on hand once the hectic pace of the school year gets underway.

First, let me tell you a little bit about my dad and why this barbecue sauce means so much to me.

The summer before my junior year in college, my dad decided to leave his career in the science field to purse his passion – cooking. He went to culinary school in his mid-40’s and became a chef. At the time, I didn’t fully comprehend how brave and gutsy this was for him to do. Now that I’m roughly the same age that he was when he made a mid-life career change, I totally get it.

As parents, we make sacrifices for our families and often put our own goals and passions on the back burner. I hope I can be as certain and as brave about my next career move.

And let me tell you how awesome it is to have a dad who is a chef!

After my oldest son was born, my parents came to visit us in Florida. My mom had to return to work in Missouri, but my dad was able to stay another week and all he did was cook and fill my freezer. This bourbon barbecue sauce was one of the things he made and we used it all.the.time. It was a great way to flavor things up on the grill – it can be used on chicken, pork or even salmon. And when you’ve got a newborn in the house, what is easier than throwing something on the grill and having minimal clean-up afterwards?

Every time we use this sauce I think back to being a new mom and how something simple, like a barbecue sauce, was such a help with meal preparation even on days when I didn’t even have time to shower. 

Thanks, Dad.


Bourbon Barbecue Sauce (makes approximately 1.5 quarts)

3 cups light brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp. cloves, ground
1/2 tsp. allspice, ground
3 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. hot sauce (not Tabasco)
1 ounce bourbon
1 cup molasses
2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, ground
3 Tbsp. onion powder
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 cups vegetable oil

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 6 weeks.



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Jen currently resides in Pensacola, Florida with her Navy husband and two sons. Having spent the last three years in Belgium experiencing European life, she is adjusting the heat and humidity of living in the Florida Panhandle. When she’s not at the soccer field cheering on her boys or taking a Pure Barre class, you’ll find Jen curled up with a good book or planning her family’s next travel adventure. Born and raised in the Midwest, Florida has now become “home” – at least that’s what her driver’s license says!