This Homemade Cherry Bourbon BBQ Sauce this so delicious and easy to make for your next cookout in just 35 minutes.
The middle of the summer hits and I am on the lookout for cherries!! Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, they were plentiful and we used to sit on the porch with bowls of the fresh fruit! I am so excited this year as the price of cherries went down to $2.99/lb. How sad is that? I remember growing up when we picked them for FREE! Since the price was reasonable this year, we made our Cherry Bourbon BBQ Sauce and served it over the top of chicken thighs, but you could serve this on a platter of chicken breasts or a basket of wings.
🍽️ Why This Recipe Works
Quick and Easy – We love these kind of recipes and know you do as well. This is is a snap to make and couldn’t be faster.
Can’t Buy This – We also love sauces that feel special that you can’t run to any specialty store and grab this off of the shelf. This is a seasonal recipe that you are going to make once or twice a year and it just feels special.
Cherries – Fresh cherries work great but if you don’t have them, use the frozen variety.
Bourbon – Don’t skimp on the bourbon here. It doesn’t need to be top shelf but let’s don’t get bottom of the barrel either. We used Bare Knuckles from the local micro-distillery, KO Distillery and love it.
Step One: Let’s start by pitting some cherries. A cherry pitter is only a couple bucks and well worth the money. It makes the job much easier! You will need 3-4 cups of pitted cherries.
Step Two: Heat oil in pan and sauté onions and garlic for three to four minutes. The onions should turn translucent.
Step Three: Add honey, brown sugar and ketchup and heat to a boil. Continue to stir. Add bourbon slowly. Add cherries and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.
Note: People often wonder why you need to boil sauces like this. Boiling will smooth out the sugars and will stop your sauce from being gritty. Trust me, I’m one to cut corners as much as I can, but spending the extra time to bring it to a boil is a must for this recipe.
Step Four: Once the sauce has boiled, pour it into a blender and allow it to cool. DO NOT PUT THE LID ON WHEN IT IS HOT! I waited about 15-30 minutes for it to cool before blending. A food processor will work as well.
Step Five: You can use the sauce immediately or store it in the fridge for up to one week. Allowing it to refrigerate will thicken the sauce.
🥃 Recipe Tips
We added just ¼ cup of KO Distillery Bar Knuckle bourbon as we boiled the sauce. It will burn off the alcohol and add an additional sweet taste that complements the cherries.
Alternatively, this sauce is just as good (don’t tell my husband) without the bourbon! Taste it before you add the bourbon and then see if you want to add it.
Once the sauce comes to a boil, it starts to evaporate leaving just a trace left. You will notice that you can’t really feel any effects from the alcohol.
You can freeze this in a freezer safe container. Allow it to cool completely and then freeze it in a freezer-safe Ziploc Bag and lay it flat.
You could smoke the cherries and then the sauce would be smoky or you could use one teaspoon of Liquid Smoke to give the sauce that smoky punch you are looking for.
Choose between a sturdy blender like a Vitamix or food processor. You can also use an immersion blender right on the stove.
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Easy Homemade Cherry Bourbon Barbecue Sauce Recipe
- Immersion Blender
- Cherry Pitter
- 1 cup Onions diced
- 2-3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 3-4 Garlic cloves
- 1 cup Ketchup
- ½ cup Honey
- ½ cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Bourbon
- 3 cups Cherries pitted, sweet
Prepare on the Stove
- Heat oil in pan and sauté onions and garlic for three to four minutes. The onions should turn transluscent.
- Add honey, brown sugar and ketchup and heat to a boil. Continue to stir.
- Add bourbon slowly.
- Add cherries and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.
Blend the BBQ Sauce
- Remove from the heat and allow to fully cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
- Add the sauce to a blender or food processor and mix well. Make sure to let it cool before attempting to blend.
- Pour into jars to serve.