Bourbon Pickle Barbecue Sauce

Bourbon Pickle Barbecue Sauce

Tomato-based and bourbon-infused for a sweet kick, and plenty of pickle juice for just the right amount of tang, this artful bourbon barbecue sauce with a pickle twist will have your taste buds at attention. Whatever you're planning on slathering this sauce on, you'd better bring a bib. Buckle up pickle lovers; it's about to get messy.

While there are dozens of regional styles of barbecue sauce, there are three major players in the homemade barbecue sauce game. The three styles listed below can be considered the basis of every other specified regional style, including tomato-based, vinegar-based, and mustard-based. Calling all grill masters, you haven’t seen nothing yet. Today, we’ll help you elevate your sauce game. Trust us, it’s a really big dill.  

Tomato-Based Sauces 

Most commonly used in Kansas City barbecue for ribs, tomato-based sauces typically produce a sweeter sauce that's nice and thick because of the added molasses. Tomato-based sauces are ideal for beef, but their versatility and mass appeal are undeniable.

The bourbon pickle barbecue sauce you’re about to make uses fresh tomato as the base ingredient, honey, and brown sugar, giving it that sweet kick. Now, the pickle comes into play right away. You’ll use vinegar, taken from the brine of Classic Dill Spears, and a bit of mustard to add depth of flavor. 

Bourbon Pickle Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes

Total Time 2 hours

Makes 1 ½ cups


1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons brown sugar

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon brewed coffee

1/2 tablespoon yellow mustard

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup whiskey or bourbon

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons SuckerPunch Gourmet Dill Pickle brine

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Melt the butter in a medium-sized pot. Add the garlic and shallots, and sweat on medium heat until translucent. 
  2. Mix together the cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, paprika, and onion powder, and add to the garlic/shallot/butter mixture. Stir over low heat for 30 seconds to lightly toast the spices.
  3. Add the whole peeled tomatoes, using the back of a spoon or your hands to crush them as they enter the pot. Add the honey, brown sugar, coffee, mustard, Worcestershire, half the whiskey, and half the pickle brine. 
  4. Cook on a slow simmer for 1 ½ hour until thick. Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients, the pickle brine, and whiskey. Add kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
  5. Serve it hot straight from the pot, or let it sit until cool and pour into a jar to use at a later time. If you're serving it up fresh, be sure to set out plenty of napkins, and have a libation on hand, this sauce packs quite a punch.

 For those of you who opt to save your homemade bourbon barbeque sauce for a later date, there is probably a dish you have in mind to pair with this delectable condiment, like chicken wings or barbecue ribs. However, here are some cool ideas for foods that maybe you've never thought about pairing with the boss of all sauces.


We're not talking about your run-of-the-mill barbecue chicken pizza here, although that is a tried and true combination. With a SuckerPunch-based barbecue sauce at your disposal, it's time to be bold and try something different! For example, try pairing this barbecue sauce with caramelized onion, bacon, and a mixture of blue and asiago cheese for a tangy Italian treat that will knock your block off.

Barbecue Aioli

Everybody likes a good aioli, and we've got one that's extremely simple to make. Just mix one part barbecue sauce with equal parts mayo and whisk together. Voila, you now have the perfect elevated dipping sauce for tots, nuggets, onion rings, or whatever else you can get your hands on.

With SuckerPunch barbecue sauce in your Arsenal, you're free to baste, dunk, slather, and slurp to your heart's content. While nothing says "I know my way around some barbecue," like bringing your own bourbon pickle barbecue sauce to a party or picnic, should you happen to bust out this sauce in a social setting, make sure you have enough to share.

For more delicious SuckerPunch recipes and the inside scoop on all things pickles, check out our blog!


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