Apple Maple Whiskey BBQ Sauce

Ribs with maple apple whiskey bbq sauce

( BBQ sauce is a well loved, versatile condiment, but so many store-bought versions have ingredient lists that make me cringe! Find out how to make your own with this easy recipe, only 15 minutes of active time and then it just bubbles away (mostly) unattended until you’ve got a deep, dark, tangy treat!

With a bit of a nutrition bonus in the form of apples (yay for fibre, quercetin and vitamin C) and molasses (vitamin B6 and iron) this sauce is a winner. I used it on ribs, but it would work great on pork tenderloin, chicken or even salmon! It’s got a nice tang to it thanks to the apple cider vinegar, and don’t worry the whiskey flavour is subtle. Substitute bourbon or dark rum if you need to.


  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup whiskey
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup ketchup (choose a brand with a simple ingredient list)
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 big cloves of garlic
  • 1 apple, cut in to chunks (don’t get fancy, we’re going to puree them later!)

I keep the mess down by using a big pyrex liquid measuring cup like this and then just pouring each bit in to the next line. So the vinegar fills the cup to 1/3 , the whiskey fills it to 2/3 , maple syrup fills it to 1 cup and so on. I also usually eyeball molasses whenever I use it. Trying to get it out of a measuring spoon is eternally frustrating. This is a forgiving recipe so don’t punish yourself!

Combine all the liquid ingredients and spices. Whisk together until well blended.

Pour your liquid mixture in to a medium saucepan over medium low heat.

Smash each clove of garlic and remove the skins. Add to the pot, along with the chopped apples.

Bring it all to a gentle simmer, just barely bubbling. Leave it to simmer for 25-30 minutes, whisking it occasionally to keep from sticking to the bottom or sides. If it is reducing too quickly lower the heat to minimum and pop a lid on it to keep the water in. You want to have enough time for the apples to becoming nice and soft and the sauce to reduce to about 2/3 it’s original volume.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes on a trivet. Blend until fairly smooth with an immersion blender. If using a regular blender, allow to cool almost to room temperature before pureeing.

Pop in a jar and keep in the fridge for up to a week. Use a pastry brush to spread it on your protein of choice and try not to lick the bowl!



How do you dress up your dinners? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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