Kentucky Bourbon Barbecue Sauce Recipe With Dijon Mustard

Direct from Kentucky I've got 3 bourbon barbecue sauce recipes for you that all go great on most meats.

Bourbon BBQ Sauce With Mustard

The Original Kentucky Sauce Recipe

Sweet Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Bourbon isn't just any whiskey, there are specific requirements which have to be met by the distiller in order for him / her to call their whiskey Bourbon. Here I'll explain what a Bourbon whiskey is and if you want to know more about the differences between Bourbon and other types of whiskey (or whisky) then click here.

The basic rules for distilling Bourbon are:-

All Bourbon barbecue sauce recipes need true Kentucky Bourbon
  • It must be made in the United States.
  • It must be distilled from a grain mixture which contains at least 51 percent corn.
  • Aging takes place in new oak charred barrels. The minimum aging for it to be considered "straight" is 2 years
  • It must be distilled to no more than 160 proof (80%ABV) and entered into the barrel at 125 proof (62.5% ABV).
  • It must be bottled at no less than 80 proof (40% ABV).
  • It must not contain any added flavoring, coloring or other additives.

If you've got all the ingredients to hand then this first bourbon barbecue sauce recipe with Dijon mustard is supremely easy and has a knockout flavor.

First just a word of reassurance if you don't like to take alcohol. The bitter taste (and the other effects) of the alcohol are evaporated as the sauce is warmed through so these sauce recipes are not designed to be alcoholic in any way.

Bourbon Barbecue Sauce With Dijon Mustard

If you're looking at the recipe ingredients and thinking “where's the vinegar?” then don't worry, this is where the Dijon mustard comes into play because there's vinegar in the mustard and just to keep you comfortable there is also a short sharp shot of balsamic to finish it off. Plenty of opportunity to add the sourness that distinguishes a barbecue sauce.

Note also that alcohol can add a bitterness to any cooking so it's important that the sauce warmed through to allow for the alcohol to evaporate.


  • Mustard
  • Fish (Worcestershire Sauce)
  • Gluten (Worcestershire Sauce & Tabasco)

Yield:- 1½ pints

Preparation Time:- 15 mins
Cooking Time:- 25 mins

Total Time:- 40 mins


  • One large onion, chopped
  • One green chili, seeded and chopped
  • One clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pint ketchup
  • 8 tablespoons molasses
  • 5 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • A lug of oil for frying


Into a medium heated saucepan, add the onion and fry until the onion goes clear, then add the chili to soften and the garlic a few minutes later.

Continue to fry until the garlic is fragrant (usually about a minute) taking care not to burn any of the ingredients and then add the bourbon.

Stir well to “de-glaze the pan” and get all the flavors into the sauce. Whilst doing this the heat of the pan will drive off the alcohol so if using gas just beware that the vapors might catch fire. If it does happen, don't panic the flame will die down in a short space of time.

Now add all the other ingredients and bring the sauce up to a simmer stirring all the time to ensure that the ingredients are fully mixed in.

Simmer for approx 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

You can now use your sauce as a mop or finishing sauce as you prefer.

The Original Kentucky Bourbon Barbecue Sauce Recipe

The recipe that I've got for you right here is a great all-rounder and complements almost any barbecued meat.

I've started by caramelizing some chopped onions which adds that extra sweet note to the end result.

If you're pushed for time then just fry them off for about 5 minutes and you'll still have a mighty fine sauce ready to use in approximately 15 minutes.

Having said that, I like to let my sauces cool and have time for the flavors to mingle – it's always better for reheating.


  • Celery (ketchup)
  • Fish (Worcestershire sauce)
  • Gluten (Worcestershire sauce & Tabasco)

1½ pints

Preparation Time:- 5 mins
Cooking Time:- 45 mins

Total Time:- 50 mins


  • One large onion, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
  • 1 pint or 500ml ketchup
  • 12 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 8 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco
  • A knob of butter


Place a saucepan on a low heat, melt the butter and add the chopped onion. Allow the onion to cook gently in the butter until it caramelizes. This may take upwards of thirty minutes but it's worth the wait. You'll know when the caramelization starts because the onion will turn a brown color and the texture will stay soft - you're not looking for burned and crispy.

When the caramelization starts add the sugar and the ketchup and stir. 

Now throw in the rest of the ingredients, mix them up and stir. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes until your bourbon barbecue sauce starts to thicken.

Allow to cool and then taste. If you want to add a little more Tabasco then go for it.

Sweet Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

This sweet Bourbon barbecue sauce recipe is really quick to prepare and surprisingly doesn't have any added sugar.

It isn't sugar free however because the sweetness comes from a healthy dose of maple syrup and molasses combined with what I would call the "traditional" ingredients common to many barbecue sauces. That dash of Bourbon also adds such a distinctive flavor that makes this sweet Bourbon BBQ sauce recipe a perfect choice whatever meat you are grilling.

Note that there's quite a lot of “runny” fluid in this recipe so if you like it runny then this one is for you but if you're looking for something a little more viscous to use as a mop for example then give the sauce a little longer time on the simmer and it will reduce nicely.


  • Celery (ketchup)
  • Fish (Worcestershire sauce)
  • Gluten (Worcestershire sauce)

Yield:- 3 cups or 720ml

Preparation Time:- 10 mins
Cooking Time:- 20 mins

Total Time:- 30 mins


  • 1oz or 25g butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 4 floz or 120ml bourbon
  • 6 floz or 175ml ketchup
  • 4 floz or 120ml apple cider vinegar
  • 4 floz or 120ml orange juice
  • 8 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt


Place a saucepan on a medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil and fry the onions until golden (usually about 5-10 minutes).

Turn the heat down, stir in the ketchup and then gently add the Bourbon stirring all the time. Think of it like making a roux, you've got the flour cooked and thickened and it's now about letting the sauce down gently so you don't get any lumps in it. By adding the Bourbon gently you achieve two things:

  1. The ketchup will let down to a thin sauce smoothly without forming globules.
  2. Any bitterness from the alcohol will burn off (it's the flavor of the Bourbon that we want, not the alcohol).

Now stir in the rest of the ingredients. Apply a bit more heat and gently bring it up to a simmer whilst continuing to stir and make sure that the ingredients are fully mixed in together. Let it simmer until it is the consistency of BBQ sauce that you want, stirring often.

See Also:-

Jim Beam Barbecue Sauce
Diabetic Barbecue Sauce Recipe
More Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipes

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