Maple-Bourbon Apricot Barbecue Sauce

Let’s get sauced!

Nope. Not that kind of sauced.

Well, go ahead if you want. I won’t stop you. This is a judgment free blog-zone. I’ll wait while you go fetch a cocktail…

Ok, now that we are all settled in with our drink, let’s talk grilling. And how I’m the happiest girl in the whole wide world because the snow has melted away and I can see my grill again. Hallelujah.

I kicked off grilling season with these lamb skewers a couple weeks ago. And now I’m hitting the sauce hard. The barbecue sauce that is. So of course I have to make my own. Store bought barbecue sauce can be pretty good. But now that I’ll be grilling ALL THE TIME, it’s worth having the homemade stuff in my fridge so I’m ready to go at a moments notice.

Making barbecue sauce at home is crazy easy. You just need one large skillet or pan and about 15 minutes of time. You can also completely customize the spice level and have fun with different flavor profiles.


So now I really want to make a joke about liking my barbecue sauce how I like my men: spicy, sweet, etc. But I’ll refrain. Because my mother reads this blog (Hi Mom!).

Let’s continue. This Maple-Bourbon Apricot Barbecue Sauce has a lot going on. It has a deep smoky flavor from the chipotle peppers in adobo and a dash of liquid smoke (that stuff is magic!). And just a hint of sweetness from the maple syrup and apricot preserves. I would say the spice level here is medium at best, so feel free to whisk in a little more paprika, or some cayenne pepper, if you want more heat. Oh and since everything is better with bourbon, I added some. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that.


This recipe makes about 3 cups of barbecue sauce, which will last for at least a couple weeks in your refrigerator. So you’ll get a lot of mileage out of a single batch, either for your own personal use or consider giving a jar to someone as a gift. Wouldn’t you be super cool if you showed up at a cookout with a jar of this stuff? Yeah you would!



Maple-Bourbon Apricot Barbecue Sauce

Yield: Makes about 3 cups

Maple-Bourbon Apricot Barbecue Sauce


  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon


  1. In a very large skillet or pot, whisk together all of the ingredients, except for the bourbon, over medium heat. Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the bourbon and let the mixture simmer for an additional 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. Let the sauce cool, then transfer it to seal-able containers (mason jars work great here). Store in the refrigerator. The sauce will keep for several weeks.

46 comments on “Maple-Bourbon Apricot Barbecue Sauce”

  1. This sounds like the perfect sauce for grilling season! I’m so excited that I can finally see my grill too…it’s about time! Love the flavors, especially with the apricot!

  2. Confession: I’ve never made my own BBQ sauce, buuuut that needs to change! I’ll bring the veggies, you bring the sauce?!

  3. UH HELLO beautiful barbecue sauce! I would be very pleased if bourbon was in everything I ate/made/drank. The end.

  4. Reading this recipe made my mouth water. Definitely would love to try this recipe out, can’t wait to break out the grill here!! 🙂

  5. Hey Liz this BBQ sauce sounds sooo good! My son, Sean loves BBQ. He goes to school down South and is always tryin’ to school me on BBQ!! He loves apricots and is going to love this sauce! Can’t wait to make it for him!

  6. Liz, oh my gawd, this is glorious!!! I could use some crazy easy in my life right now. . dude, pinned this and love this maple bourbon apricot bbq sauce. . just in time for grilling season!!! woot woot!!!

  7. This sauce sounds perfect for grilling! We have actually never stopped grilling, even with snow and ice… Call us crazy! Love all the flavors in this sauce. Looking forward to trying it.

    • I would have loved to grill all year. But we just had WAY too much snow here. I’m happy it’s gone. Yeah SPRING!

  8. Yes to barbecuing all of the things, and double yes to boozy maple bbq sauce! I love homemade Q sauce and I’ll have to try this apricot version – sounds fab!!

  9. This is such perfect timing! I was JUST the other day thinking how fun it would be to make homemade bbq sauce. And here you are sharing a recipe! Sounds delish. So happy grilling season is here : )

  10. Thank goodness for spring, grilling season, and boozy bbq sauce!

  11. This BBQ Sauce is the bomb! Makes me want to bust out my grill right now. Hurray for Spring finally being here!!

  12. Our BBQ has just come out after a long winter, so this will be a sauce I’ll be sure to try soon. Sound delicious!

  13. I love making BBQ sauces — and you’ve got some flavors I love in this one! WOW…I need to try this!

  14. I want to get bbq sauce wasted! Love this gorgeous sauce. Pinned.

  15. I mean, bourbon? Come on. You’re killing me. I’m sensing a spring bbq needs to be in the works…

  16. Yes to BBQ sauce. My husband is a BBQ king (self proclaimed of course), I’ll definitely tell him to make this.

  17. You’ll never have to convince me that homemade is better than store bought! This sauce looks fantastic and I’m crazy about the flavor combo!

  18. We don’t use a lot of bbq sauce in my house, but this one sounds GOOOOOOD. Bourbon! Yay!

  19. Saucy, saucy!!! Uhm, yum. BBQ and Bourbon are a match made in heaven!!! (actually a match made in your kitchen, but you know what I mean :)!)

  20. This BBQ sauce is just so freakin awesome. I LOOOVE the healthy amount of apricot preserves you tucked in here. I need to grill me some meats now!

  21. OF COURSE you made the most crazy inventive fabulous bbq sauce of all time. Of course.

  22. Pingback: Maple-Bourbon Apricot Barbecue Sauce | - Gluten Free Recipes and Food

  23. I am crushing on the flavors in this sauce, Liz! I love that it’s sweet and spicy and the apricot twist. YES!

  24. Pingback: 50 Delicious Maple Recipes

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