Cook on a Whim: Peach Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Okay, okay … I’ll stop with the peach recipes!

I promise this is the last one for a while, but, in my defense, it’s very different from my previous two. After making muffins, pies and smoothies, I still had a bunch of peaches left and I wanted to do something I had never done.

While I can’t take credit for the idea — there are loads of recipes for peach barbecue sauce and peach hot sauce online — I can take credit for this recipe. It’s my very own creation. It’s also friend- and kid-tested and approved!

The mark of true friendship: sending my friend home with a jar of sauce I had never tested, asking her to feed it to her family and let me know how they liked it. Her 11-year-old son’s response: “Tell her she’ll be rich from it!” Gosh, I love that kid.

This recipe shows the versatility of peaches and is a great way to use peaches that are slightly overripe. Use it in place of your favorite BBQ sauce on grilled chicken or pork. To ensure the sugars don’t burn, use it during the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking, basting and flipping frequently.

I should also point out that I am not (NOT!) a bourbon drinker. I honestly can’t stand the stuff. But in recipes like this, it adds a smoky, almost caramel hint. If you are totally opposed to bourbon, or alcohol in general, you could replace it with apple juice or just plain water. It will still be delicious.

Peach Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Makes about 4 cups (1 quart) of sauce

Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.


4 to 5 cups peaches, peeled and chopped roughly

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon chili flakes (if you want it spicy — remember there is some heat from the chili powder already)

2 tablespoons honey

juice of 2 lemons

¼ cup bourbon

¼ cup ketchup

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

a few grinds of black pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon)


To Prepare:

Heat vegetable oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger and salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add spices and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat and add bourbon. Return pan to heat and cook until bourbon reduces to almost nothing.

Add peaches, honey, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and reduce heat to low. Simmer this mixture over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until peaches are very soft. Puree the mixture until smooth, either directly in the saucepan with an immersion blender or in a standard blender. If using a standard blender, work in batches and place a towel over the lid. Hot liquids expand and can be very dangerous when blended!

Use right away, or cool and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.


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