's not just for sweets!

This easy to make BBQ sauce is perfectly flavored with sweet vanilla and a sassy shot of bourbon. Make it in advance so you always have it in the fridge.


-2 cups ketchup
-1 cup dark brown sugar
-1 sassy shot of bourbon
-1/4 cup cider vinegar
-1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
-1 tbsp molasses
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp salt [optional]
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp onion powder
-1/4 tsp thyme
-1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
-1/2 tsp spicy brown mustard
-1/4 tsp hot peppers [adjust to taste]



In a saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk ingredients.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until thick, about 45 minutes. Let cool and store refrigerated in an airtight container.

You can use vanilla sugar instead of brown sugar and whiskey or rum instead of bourbon.  Cranberry or apple juices are good substitutes for the alcohols. Delicious on ribs, beef, veggie kabobs, or as a dipping sauce for chicken strips or wings.

☆For a Maple Bourbon flavor, replace 1 cup brown sugar with: 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup maple syrup for a unique maple bourbon vanilla flavor.


A big thank you to Starlette for sharing her recipe!

VanillaPura Pro


What do you use for the hot pepper in the BBQ sauce? Just crushed red pepper or something else?

Thank You.

— Linda

I made this earlier today. I put in a shot of Bourbon and used my Vanilla Extract and some of my Homemade Ketchup cause the bottle of Ketchup was not 16 oz. I had a Chuck Roast I did on the grill and was dipping that in tge BBQ Sauce. Real good. Thank you Starlette.

— Susan Murphy

BBQ sauce tends to last 6-12 months in the refrigerator. However, remember to check the smell, appearance, and texture to guarantee that it’s safe to eat. A sassy shot is just a little more, exact measurements aren’t necessary for bbq sauce. Live on the edge and experiment and see what you like:).

— VanillaPura Pro

What do you mean by a “sassy” shot?
Thank you.

— Adrian James

I have lots of vanilla beans soaking in 4 different Bourbons. Was waiting for just a recipe like this. Can not wait to make this and use at my next BBQ. Thanks! Will make some Saturday!

— Susan Murphy

How long will this keep in the refrigerator

— Sandra Garvey