This bourbon BBQ sauce recipe is worth the time it takes to make, and deliciously sweet with the addition of white donut peaches!
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Brown Butter Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce Recipe
This peachy bourbon BBQ sauce begins with butter, brown sugar, and yes, bourbon. I add in chopped peaches along with a bit of Dijon mustard for acidity and let the whole thing simmer down until it’s thick and the aroma is driving me to want to eat it off a spoon!
Two tablespoons of bourbon are added to this recipe. Because of the method and because it is simmered for a good 20 to 30 minutes, most of the alcohol evaporates leaving a tantalizing flavor behind with little else.
I gave the heave-ho to tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke to make way for a lighter sauce of brown sugar, fresh peaches, and bourbon. And as perfectly summery as this sauce is with the addition of sweet peaches, it gets some zing from cayenne pepper or a bit of hot sauce.
This BBQ sauce began as a fresh peach sauce recipe but took an unexpected turn when I looked to add it to grilled salmon. I wanted something along the lines of chutney, but with some heat. The bourbon was a seriously happy accident that just elevated the whole dish.
Allow the peaches to remain chunky or use an immersion blender to puree the mixture. This truly is THE BEST BBQ SAUCE EVER with serious depth of flavor.
Brush over chicken wings, smoked pork shoulder, grilled chicken breasts, pork chops, or another favorite BBQ recipe. A few of the photos I show herein are of the warm peach sauce left chunky and spooned generously atop grilled chicken breasts, an easy meal made complete with grilled veggies or a basic green salad.
Do You Have What’s Needed for This Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce Recipe? Check the List!
- salted butter
- brown sugar
- your best bourbon whiskey
- apple cider vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt
- finely ground black pepper
- white donut peaches or any very ripe peaches you can get your hands on
How This Recipe Came About…
My bourbon BBQ sauce recipe evolved over two summers. Two summers of tomatoes and trying to achieve something that just wasn’t ringing all the bells with my family.
Bushel after bushel of cooked down tomatoes was yielding a fabulous sauce by itself…but adding the bourbon was like throwing a pebble into a swimming pool and hoping it’d float.
The idea to use peaches began as a dessert and ended up with this bourbon BBQ sauce recipe being better on the grill paired with savory meats and vegetables. Adding peaches could not have resulted in a better accident if I’d intentionally tried to do it.
A huge part of why this recipe works is twofold – brown butter and Dijon mustard. Don’t cut corners here, DO take your time and brown the butter.
I’m always professing a certain ‘nuttiness’ that is achieved with brown butter, but in this case, it’s crucial for having a base to then build on. Later in the recipe, its own caramelization offers sweet notes that are particularly appealing.
The Dijon is flat out added for acidity. Go classic Dijon or a 50/50 combination of classic and whole grain, your choice.
What Can I Do with An Abundance of Peaches?
Homemade barbecue sauce may not be the first things that springs to mind when you’re faced with an overage of peaches. Let’s face it, there are plenty of dessert peach recipes, so the idea of a savory homemade bourbon BBQ sauce incorporating a mess of those peaches may well be a welcome one.
To make your own BBQ sauce says a lot about the care you put into your food preparation. For the peaches, select the overripe and bruised fruits first.
These are going to cook down considerably over a low heat, so you needn’t worry about the fruit being perfect. You’ll want them blanched and peeled and roughly chopped.
Always begin with fresh peaches, either those you pick up at your farmers market or whatever is freshest at your grocery store. Each batch of this bourbon barbecue sauce recipe requires three peaches, so purchase accordingly.
What Kind of Bourbon Should I Use for a Bourbon BBQ Sauce Recipe?
The kind of bourbon you use matters, too. Make it something you’d drink!
I do not consume bourbon often but when I do, it’s got to be smooth enough for me to palette. For this reason, I tend to steer away from the Wild Turkey’s and gravitate more toward Maker’s Mark or the newest bourbon Kirkland has just come out with – talk about delightful!
For all of this talk about bourbon when making your own barbecue sauce, ultimately the amount of bourbon (two tablespoons) you’ll add will largely have its alcohol cooked out. This makes this homemade sauce safe for everybody to enjoy including kids.
Processed smooth with an immersion blender, this has become the number one dipping sauce in our house. Coat and bake some butterflied shrimp in coconut panko and offer this sauce on the side – watch them argue over who gets the last shrimp!
Can I Process and Can This Recipe?
Out of all the condiment recipes I have highlighted here on Not Entirely Average, I think this one is the easiest by far to make a double batch of. If you wanted to take the extra steps to process jars and can the sauce, it’d make a perfect addition to your Christmas gift baskets.
Simply prepare the sauce until it’s somewhat thickened, then ladle carefully into hot jars. Wipe the rims and secure the lids and rings and boil to process.
Remove carefully to towels on your counter and allow to cool to room temperature as you await the lids to pop and seal.
Of all the barbecue sauce recipes out there, offering recipients your own homemade BBQ sauce and a recipe card spelling out the ingredients is a classy gesture. Offer also an explanation of the low alcohol content just in case, too.
How To Make This Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce Recipe?
The recipe today will yield one batch. You’ll only need a medium saucepan, a stockpot, and a slotted spoon to get the job done. If you do decide to smooth the sauce at the end, you will need an immersion blender or other blender.
Brown Some Butter
Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low as the butter begins to foam.
The milk solids will begin to brown after a few minutes, so do not walk away from the stove as the solids can turn from a nice toasty brown to burned in a matter of a minute.
The butter will smell nutty when it’s ready. Close your eyes and put your nose to the pot and smell. You’ll know.
Brown butter takes a bit of time and patience. Your heat mustn’t be too high, or you’ll burn the milk solids before they ever have a chance. Go low and slow and use your nose to tell when the nutty sweet smell of brown butter is complete. The above photos were taken over an 18-minute period over medium low heat.
Build Layers of Flavor on Top of The Brown Butter
Add shallot to the brown butter. Increase the heat to medium and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in some brown sugar, some quality bourbon, cider vinegar, Dijon, cayenne pepper, Kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and chopped peaches.
Bring to a very gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until peaches are soft, and the sauce has thickened. I let it go for at least 30 minutes but as few as 25 minutes may do the job.
Puree the Sauce or Leave Chunky – I Like Half and Half
At this point, you may use the sauce immediately as it is, with little bits and slightly chunky. You may also add an immersion blender and smooth to the desired consistency.
Depending on how I am using this sauce, I use it both ways. I especially like to divide the sauce, smooth half and leave the remainder chunky.
I baste using the smooth sauce and serve the chunky tableside. The longer the sauce has to ‘sticky-up’ on the cooler side of the grill, the tastier it becomes.
Brown Butter Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce Recipe
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1/2 cup shallot finely diced
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or to taste
- Kosher salt
- 3 large peaches very ripe; pitted, peeled and chopped; about 2 cups
- Melt butter in the saucepan over medium-low heat. Reduce the heat to low as the butter begins to foam. The milk solids will begin to brown after a few minutes and the butter will smell nutty when it’s ready, about 12 to 18 minutes depending on your heat. Hotter is NOT better.
- Add shallot to the brown butter. Increase the heat to medium and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in some brown sugar, some quality bourbon, cider vinegar, Dijon, cayenne pepper, Kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and chopped peaches.
- Bring to a very gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until peaches are soft, and the sauce has thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add additional cayenne now if you want to increase the heat.
- At this juncture you may elect to leave the sauce chunky or use an immersion blender to puree it to desired smoothness. I like to halve the mixture and puree half. I add it back to the chunky half and stir to combine. This way, I am sure to get bits of caramelized peach in every bite while still coating the protein.