Honey Whiskey BBQ Sauce is a homemade sweet heat barbecue sauce made perfect for pork, chicken or on top a burger.
Update: This recipe was originally posted in January 2016. The recipe and photographs have been improved and the new version posted in June 2021.
After bourbon, honey whiskey is my favorite alcohol. Although, I'm not sure that counts since they're pretty similar... Anyway, being as it's summer and we grill a lot around these parts, I was in the mood to make up some bbq sauce that worked for all kinds of dishes.
Enter the honey whiskey barbecue sauce.
What is honey whiskey bbq sauce?
This BBQ sauce is a homemade sauce that's the perfect balance of sweet and heat. The sweet comes from the brown sugar, honey and the honey whiskey and the heat comes from Sriracha and cayenne pepper. It's the perfect blend of both and pairs so well on just about anything - from pulled pork to chicken or even on top of a burger!
What's the best brand of honey whiskey?
Now, that all depends on your personal tastes. I believe Jack Daniels was the first to create a well-marketed honey whiskey, but don't quote me on that. I know Jim Beam, Evan Williams and Wild Turkey all make honey varieties of their whiskey. Of course, there's a ton of other brands out there as well. So choose one that you can either find just enough to make this recipe or one that you're willing to drink otherwise.
🥘 Ingredients for this recipe
- brown sugar
- soy sauce
- vinegar (apple cider or white)
- liquid smoke
- minced garlic
- instant coffee granules
- honey whiskey
- onion powder
- cayenne pepper
- cornstarch + water
🔪Instructions for this recipe
- First, start by combining all of the ingredients except for the cornstarch and water together in a saucepan over medium high heat. Use a wire whisk to combine.
- Second, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Then, combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl to form a slurry. Add to the saucepan and whisk in well. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- Finally, remove from the heat and transfer to a mason jar or other heat proof container.
FAQ's for this recipe
- Why do you use a wire whisk for this barbecue sauce? The ingredients in this sauce will stain a silicone whisk. I've forgotten this 3 separate times while making this so I now have 3 discolored whisks.
- Does cooking whiskey remove the alcohol? Most of the alcohol will evaporate during the cooking process, but not all of it will. If you're making this for kids, I'd suggest skipping the liquor entirely and using equal parts water in it's place.
- Can I add whiskey to my store-bought bottle of bbq sauce? I mean, yeah I guess. But this recipe takes less than 20 minutes to make, will keep in your fridge for a bit and doesn't have preservatives you can't pronounce.
BBQ Sauce Substitutions
Sriracha and cayenne can be omitted entirely from this recipe if you don't like heat. Or you could use hot sauce instead. Liquid Smoke just adds a smoky flavor to this recipe. If you don't like it, skip it or add Worcestershire sauce instead. The Instant Coffee granules also add to the smoky flavor of the sauce, so if that isn't your thing, you can leave those out as well.
What can I use this sauce on?
Well, I made a honey whiskey pulled pork recipe just for it, so that would be my first suggestion. But this sauce would also be amazing on ribs, chicken breast or pulled chicken or even on top of a burger, ! The options are endless!
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Honey Whiskey BBQ Sauce
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup honey whiskey
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, honey whiskey, soy sauce, ketchup, honey, apple cider vinegar, Sriracha, liquid smoke, minced garlic, instant coffee, onion powder, paprika and cayenne. Whisk together with a wire whisk.
- Heat over medium high heat until boiling, then boil for 2 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Whisk together the cornstarch and water until a thick slurry forms and pour that into the sauce, whisking for another minute or two until the mixture has thickened up to the desired consistency you want for the BBQ sauce.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Transfer to a mason jar or airtight container.
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