For a Kentucky bourbon barbecue sauce, simmer some onion and garlic in a couple of cups of bourbon. A slow simmer will soften the onion and garlic, and the bourbon will mellow to buttery richness as the alcohol cooks off.
The foundation of this sauce is ketchup and tomato paste. Sweeten it with brown sugar and molasses, then balance that by adding cider vinegar, pineapple and lemon juice (pineapple and lemon juice are natural complements to bourbon). Add depth with Worcestershire sauce, salt, liquid smoke and dry mustard, then spice it just a bit with a little hot sauce and chile powder.
Slightly sweet, the sauce is perfect mopped over pecan-crusted pork spareribs. Coat the ribs with a seasoned wet rub of Dijon mustard, brown sugar and chopped pecans, then cover and bake them over low heat for two to three hours until they’re meltingly tender. Shortly before they’re done, uncover them and baste them with the barbecue sauce; the sauce will thicken to a beautiful shellac. Serve the ribs hot, with a stack of napkins.
Recipe: Kentucky bourbon barbecue sauce
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes, plus about 3 hours cooking time for the ribs
Servings: 10 to 12
1 large onion, thinly sliced, top to bottom
6 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon, divided
2 cups Kentucky bourbon
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons chile powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 cup tomato paste
4 cups ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup liquid smoke
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
Thanks to the LA Times for this story.