Bourbon burger (photo by Stephanie Mauric)
Food + Drink

How To Make Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

Food writer Nicholas Dekker shares the recipe for one of his summer grilling favorites: Weber’s Whiskey Barbecue Sauce. 

Summertime means grilling for me, although being a native Midwesterner, I’d argue that any season is grilling season! But the warmer months are the time to let loose, invite some company over, maybe fix up a cocktail using Ohio spirits and try some new recipes.

I love my Weber grill, and one of my favorite things about summer is visiting our local farmers market and trying meats from different farmers and vendors, from bratwurst to burger patties to pork chops to steaks. I love testing different marinades, especially those that incorporate different spirits. One that I love is Weber’s zesty Whiskey Barbecue Sauce recipe. You can read all the details on their site, but here’s a quick breakdown!


2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 tbsp. finely chopped garlic
¼ cup whiskey, preferably bourbon
3 tbsp. tomato paste
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender but not browned, five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute, stirring constantly to prevent browning. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the whiskey. Return the pan to the heat and cook until the whiskey is almost completely evaporated, about two minutes. Stir in the tomato paste until well incorporated. Add the syrup, vinegar, mustard, paprika, hot sauce and pepper, then simmer for two to three minutes to meld the flavors and thicken the sauce slightly. Remove from the heat and set aside. Then it’s a matter of grilling the steak or burger to your preference and serving it with the sauce!

Proof Magazine is for Ohio spirit lovers. It is produced by Great Lakes Publishing three times a year. Don’t miss an issue by subscribing to Ohio MagazineView a digital version of the Proof Magazine Summer 2023 edition here