Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Smoke Wrangler’s Bacon Bourbon Barbecue Sauce



  • Yield: Makes 1 quart
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  • 2 strips artisanal bacon, such as Nueske’s, finely diced
  • 1-1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2-1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher), to taste

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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