Bourbon Peach BBQ Sauce: A sweet, tangy, and smoky homemade BBQ sauce made with fresh peaches that you’ll want to slather on absolutely everything this summer!
Here we are at the beginning of June and we’re feeling like we’ve got the entire summer ahead of us! Isn’t that just THE BEST feeling??
With pool days, fireworks, strawberries, campfires, and beach trips to look forward to this summer, I’m so so so excited for what the next 12 weeks have in store!
And with all of that said, one of my absolute favorite things about summer is the fresh and local produce! In August, I go out of my way (literally) to get local peaches from a farm stand 20 minutes away because they are the best around.
The longer winters and cooler springs we have here in New England mean that our growing seasons are very different from the majority of the U.S. So while peaches are in season in June in the south, we northerners wait until August for peach season to arrive. And June means local strawberries for us!
We do start seeing southern peaches arrive in our grocery stores this time of year but to be honest, the quality is pretty hit-or-miss. I don’t ever bank on finding great peaches here until the middle of July when the Jersey peaches start to make their way up I-95.
So, yes, it’s fairly unusual for me be posting peach recipes in June. HOWEVER! I’ve had good luck with cooking peaches that aren’t quite perfectly ripe. Like for this peach-filled cake with dulce de leche frosting. And for this peach cobbler recipe.
I cook and bake these under ripe peaches, I just don’t tend eat them fresh until we’re into the dog days of August.
Do you get me?
And that’s where this bourbon peach BBQ sauce comes into play. It’s quite literally the perfect summer BBQ sauce I’ve ever made!
Like all of the other BBQ sauces I’ve made, this one is full of only pantry ingredients in addition to fresh peaches:
- cider vinegar
- hot sauce
- liquid smoke
- salt and pepper
Did you even know that a simple list of 8 ingredients could make BBQ sauce? Yes!! SO simple, right?
These ingredients make a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce with a hint of sweetness from the peaches and a smoky underlying flavor from the bourbon and liquid smoke.
How to Make Bourbon Peach BBQ Sauce
This recipe couldn’t be any easier to make! Here’s how you make this homemade peach BBQ sauce:
- Halve, pit, peel, and chop 2 small fresh peaches.
- Add the peaches and all of the other ingredients to a small saucepan.
- Bring to a low simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If the sauce thickens too quickly, you can add a few tablespoons of water to thin it out.
That’s it! Can you believe it?
What Kind of Peaches for Peach BBQ Sauce?
Basically, any kind of fresh peaches with work in a peach BBQ sauce recipe. That’s one of the best things about this recipe! So if you can only find white peaches instead of yellow peaches, use white peaches.
In my opinion, you should use fresh peaches for this recipe, as opposed to canned or frozen. Let me tell you why.
Canned peaches tend to come out of the can in an ultra-softened state. They won’t hold up well to cooking and will all but disintegrate into your BBQ sauce. Also, canned peaches are preserved with sugar and even canned peaches preserved in a light syrup will add an unnecessary amount of added sugar to this BBQ sauce recipe. The recipe already contains honey as an added sweetener so additional sugar isn’t needed. You’ll want the peaches to shine through with their own sweet flavor, not cover that flavor up with added sugar.
Frozen peaches become a difficult ingredient when you need them cut into small chunks, like you’ll need for this recipe. If you thaw frozen peaches before cooking so that you can cut them, they will likely be too soft and won’t hold up well to being cooked, similar to the issue with canned peaches.
So go with fresh peaches here. If they are perfectly ripe, use them right away.
Pro Tip: However, if your peaches are hard and under ripe, place them in a brown paper bag and leave them on the counter for a couple of days. They will ripen faster this way than if left on the counter in the open air. The paper bag traps the ethylene gas that the peaches naturally give off and will help them to ripen them quicker.
What Kind of Bourbon to Use for BBQ Sauce
Admittedly, I’m not a bourbon expert. I have 2 brands of bourbon in my house for when we have bourbon-drinking guests over or when I need it for a recipe like that maple bourbon caramel sauce I made a few years ago.
So I’m going to say that for this BBQ sauce, use any variety of unflavored bourbon that you would feel comfortable drinking. Don’t use vanilla bourbon. Or orange-flavored bourbon. Just plain bourbon is all you need for this recipe.
I used Jim Beam. Nothing fancy, but it did the trick and gave this peach BBQ sauce the bourbon flavor I was looking for.
And because you’ll cook this BBQ sauce down for 30 minutes or so, the bourbon flavor will concentrate in the sauce so even a mild-flavored bourbon will shine through here.
What to Make with Bourbon Peach BBQ Sauce
The possibilities for using this peach BBQ sauce are virtually endless! And it’s so delicious that you’re going to want to slather it on everything in sight! Here are a few suggestions for what you can make with this bourbon peach BBQ sauce:
- bourbon peach BBQ sauce on barbecued chicken thighs
- bourbon peach BBQ sauce in pulled pork taquitos
- bourbon peach BBQ sauce in barbecue chicken burgers
- bourbon peach BBQ sauce on pulled pork sandwiches
- bourbon peach BBQ sauce on pulled pork grilled cheese sandwiches
I have another recipe up my sleeve that uses this BBQ sauce so be on the look-out next week! It’s an awesome grilling recipe, just in time for Father’s Day and I know you’re going to love it!
So let’s get this summer going already, shall we?! Go make this bourbon peach BBQ sauce and come back to thank me later!
- 1 ½ cups ketchup
- ½ cup molasses
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- ½ tsp liquid smoke
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 small peaches, peeled, pitted, diced
- ¼ cup bourbon
- 2 tbsp water (if needed)
- Whisk the first six ingredients in a small sauce pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the peaches and bourbon.
- Cook the sauce over a low simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peaches have softened. The sauce will thicken but if it thickens too much, stir in up to 2 tablespoons of water to loosen it up. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container.
Storage: Store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
adapted from this pulled pork recipe
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