Pomegranate Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

19 Dec

pomegranate bourbon barbecue sauce

This barbecue sauce is not traditional or regional (no North Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis, or Texas sauce here); it’s my personal interpretation on what a really tasty barbecue sauce should be. Smoky, spicy, a little vinegary, and a little fruity. Bourbon adds extra smokiness and bite, while playing alongside the tart and sweet flavors of pomegranate molasses. This barbecue sauce is simple to make, and I love having it around to mix into beans, top scrambled eggs, and coat chicken or pork (especially the amazing (and easy) slow cooker pulled pork I’ll be posting the recipe for on Wednesday). This recipe can also be easily adjusted to your taste; feel free to play around with ingredient quantities to arrive on your personal favorite barbecue sauce.

Pomegranate Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
Yield: about 4 cups


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil*
  • 2 – 3 shallots, chopped
  • 4 – 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 3 chipotle peppers, minced**
  • 1/2 Tbsp adobo sauce (from chipotle peppers can)
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large can (28 – 32 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • salt, to taste

*Or, you know, if you want to use bacon fat, I won’t judge.
**Adjust to your spice preference. I used 3 and it was very spicy (and I have quite a high spice tolerance). If you’re really sensitive to spice, omit the peppers altogether; the adobo sauce will still give it a bit of a kick.


  1. In a small to medium pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, then sautee 2 – 3 shallots, chopped until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add 4 – 5 cloves garlic, minced, 1 – 3 chipotle peppers, minced, and 1/2 Tbsp adobo sauce (from chipotle peppers can), and sautee until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Lower heat slightly, then pour in 1/2 cup bourbon and let cook down for 5 minutes or until reduced by half.
  4. Add 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 large can (28 – 32 ounces) crushed tomatoes, 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses, and 2 Tbsp brown sugar. Lower heat, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Puree using a blender or immersion blender. Add salt, to taste, then add additional adobo sauce, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, or brown sugar if desired. If the sauce is too thick for your taste, add a couple splashes of water to thin it out, and if too thin, cook for a little longer to thicken it up.

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