Death Row Bourbon Sauce

5.00 avg. rating (90% score) - 1 vote

Death Row Bourbon Sauce

Yield: 3-1/2 cups


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup whiskey, divided
  • 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce or
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)


In a medium-size saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the ketchup, 1/4 cup of the whiskey, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, mustard, soy sauce, hot sauce or Tabasco, black pepper, and cayenne. Mix thoroughly. Cook for 2 hours in the smoker or add the liquid smoke and simmer for 20 minutes over low heat on the stovetop. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup whiskey. Use as a baste or a finishing and table sauce on pork, beef, and chicken. This sauce also is good in baked beans. It will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

  • Anonymous

    Our family has been using the same made-from-scratch BBQ sauce on spare ribs for about 40 years. Over time, it had evolved into a treasured heirloom. I just made up this recipe for use on a family vacation in a couple of weeks. I suspect it may well nudge the old one right out of the recipe box.

    I made a few minor alterations as follows:
    First I doubled it. We marinate our pre-boiled ( in water & one cup of vinegar) ribs overnight in the fridge (in large baggies) & need more sauce than we would if we just used it the conventional way. Besides, this sauce is so nice, you’ll want some in the freezer for quick use as a condiment.
    On a Denver omelet….Mmmmmm!
    On homebaked beans…steak & hamburgers. Oh. yeah!

    ~ I didn’t have any bourbon so I used scotch. That may have smoothed it out a tad.
    ~ Raspberry vinegar? In this podunk town?! I just added more white.
    Maybe next batch I’ll try a gloop of Grand Marnier.
    ~ I used honey dijon mustard instead of the plain.
    ~ Chipotle Tabasco vs plain for a more robust tang.
    ~ Used only half the recommended liquid smoke. A little goes a long way.
    ~ It’s now simmering on a flame spreader over low heat to thicken.

    I give it 4 1/2 stars. Nobody gets five in this lifetime.


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