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Bourbon and Barbecue -- A Match Made in Heaven

Posted by Jake Eller on

Bourbon and Barbecue -- A Match Made in Heaven
We’d be hard-pressed to find a better friend to barbecue than good, ol’ fashioned bourbon. If a good barbecue warms the soul, then a good bourbon warms the heart. Aside from pairing your steak or roast with a glass of equally fine bourbon, though, we’ve got a few ways to make that match happen. The sweet, smokey character that bourbon often carries is a natural companion to the robust, intense flavor of homemade barbecue.
Honey Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
2 cups honey
1 can tomato paste
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
4 ounces Bourbon
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
1/3 cup jerk seasoning
Mix all of these ingredients, bring to a boil, and then drop to a simmer for about 45 minutes.
The combination of bourbon and honey is one made in heaven. When combined with brown sugar, jerk seasoning, and tomato paste, the result is a barbecue sauce unlike any other. Don’t be too dead-set on the recipe, though! We encourage you to change it up, and put your own stamp on it. Just a heads up, though -- this sauce should be used after cooking. It’s sugar-heavy, meaning that it’s going to burn pretty easily when exposed to high heat.
Bourbon Basting
Not so much a recipe is as it is a technique, bourbon basting a roast or a loin is a fantastic way to get that down-home, southern bourbon flavor in your ‘cue. Try mixing some bourbon with melted butter, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper for a really incredible basting liquid. Put a roasting pan under the protein, and use that liquid and runoff to baste and baste again for maximum flavor. You don’t need to use a really specific recipe here -- we suggest playing around with it, and incorporating your personal favorite flavors.
Bourbon Marinaded Chicken
When cooking chicken, you run the risk of creating a decidedly dull dish. But with a proper marinade and/or sauce, you’re going to enter a whole different league. For us, a heavy helping of bourbon, onion, olive oil, and rosemary make for an awesomely flavor-rich chicken marinade. Don’t get too picky here -- you can add/subtract ingredients as you see fit. Because the marinade will have raw chicken juice in it, you’ll want to discard once you’re through. But, for a great, chicken-friendly barbecue sauce, check out the above-listed recipe!
Bourbon-Brined Turkey
Turkey can create some of the same issues as chicken -- when handled improperly, it can be bland, dry, and generally unappetizing. To avoid this, turkey needs to be brined for up to 24 hours before eating. We suggest the following bourbon-heavy brine:
16 cups cold water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup real maple syrup
2 cups bourbon
1 cup orange juice
2 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
Let your turkey sit in this overnight, and then smoke or roast it the next day. If you’re looking for a way to upgrade your thanksgiving turkey, look no further.