Boozy Barbecue Sauce

Whether or not you're firing up the grill, it's always a great time for barbecue sauce. Here's a way you can incorporate your favorite brew in the process. 

Impress your family, your friends—even yourself—with this sauce. You can use any beer you have; I used Devils Backbone Eight Point IPA for my last batch.

Using a hoppy beer adds a little unique, grassy flavor to your sauce. A dark beer will be rich, and the sauce will take on some of the qualities of the brew. I once used a beer with citrus notes, and it really brightened up the sauce.

Whatever you use, make sure you like to drink it. Why? So you can drink the rest with your dinner you'll be grilling with this delicious sauce—and pairing it later is a beautiful thing.

Beer Barbecue Sauce


2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup onions, minced

1 cup beer

1 tablespoons garlic powder

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons mustard

1/2  teaspoon cayenne powder

1 tablespoons paprika

1/2  tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1-1/2 cups ketchup

2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onion, salt and pepper, and sauté the onion until translucent, about 3–5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the beer, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, for 10–15 minutes, or until mixture has reduced by about half. Stir occasionally.

Add cayenne, paprika, chili powder and crushed red pepper; stir briskly for 1–2 minutes or until dry ingredients are incorporated. Turn the heat to low and add ketchup, molasses, apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire.

Stir and let simmer, uncovered, for 35–45 minutes or until the mixture has reduced to a thick, saucy consistency. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperate.

The sauce can be used immediately, but the flavors develop more when it is stored, sealed and refrigerated overnight. Reheat before use.

George Culver is a Coastal Virginia-based food and drink aficionado. He reports on comestibles for a number of publications and on his own blog, I Heart Food

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