Why buy barbecue sauce when you can make it? Here ketchup, bacon, vinegar, brown sugar, and bourbon are mixed with lots of spices for a sweet, tart, smoky barbecue sauce. Play around with the ingredients: Add more bourbon, less vinegar, different spices, or swap out the sugar for agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup. This sauce is great on ribs but as you know, barbecue sauce has endless uses.
1/2 cup small-dice bacon (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion (about 1/2 small onion)
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoons dark or robust molasses (not blackstrap)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the bacon in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a small bowl; set aside. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the onion to the pan, and cook in the bacon fat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 to 60 seconds.
Whisk in the remaining measured ingredients and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir in the reserved bacon and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly and holds a line on the back of a wooden spoon when you drag a finger through it, about 25 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.