Step 1: Place the bacon in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the bacon is browned, 3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon.
Step 2: Stir in the vinegar and bring to a boil. Then stir in the ketchup, sugar, pepper flakes, black pepper, and bourbon and gradually bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce, uncovered, until thick and richly flavored, 10 minutes. Stir in the salt–you’ll need quite a lot to offset the acidity of the vinegar. Use right away or transfer to clean jars, cover, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for several weeks.
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Steven Raichlen’s Project Smoke is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2017 Barbacoa, Inc.