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Berardi girls give BBQ two thumbs up!

ms Favorite Labor Day BBQ Sauces

Monica Mosure

August 31, 2012

Are you getting ready to fire up the grill and give summer one last big hurrah this Labor Day weekend? We’ve got our favorite BBQ sauce recipes for you, perfect for slathering on pork, beef, chicken, even veggie burgers. For best results, you will want to make these sauces a day or two in advance to let the flavors develop.

Bourbon Whiskey BBQ Sauce

First up, Bourbon Whiskey BBQ Sauce! This sauce received rave reviews and is sure not to disappoint. Best of all, it’s family friendly–the alcohol cooks out while the sauce simmers. Not a bourbon fan? Use an equal amount of apple juice and a splash of cider vinegar instead. And for easier straining, leave the onions in wedges and the garlic in slices. They will be easy to remove using a slotted spoon or even a colander.


Bourbon Whiskey BBQ Sauce

  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup bourbon whiskey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke flavoring
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste


In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the onion, garlic, and whiskey. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Mix in the ground black pepper, salt, ketchup, tomato paste, vinegar, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and hot pepper sauce.


Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Run sauce through a strainer if you prefer a smooth sauce.


Refrigerate 1-2 days for best flavor. Makes 4 cups

Eastern North Carolina BBQ Sauce

Next in line, a tangy . In keeping with its authentic style, this sauce is outstanding on pulled pork sandwiches. But we won’t judge you if you try it on everything that graces your grill. A word of caution: this one is pretty spicy, so adjust the cayenne pepper and hot sauce to your liking. Oh, and Texas Pete is the preferred brand of hot sauce, at least according to our North Carolina office!


Eastern North Carolina BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


Combine the white vinegar, cider vinegar, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper in a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid.


Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days before using so that the flavors will blend. Shake occasionally, and store for up to 2 months in the refrigerator.


We (and our kids) give these recipes a thumbs up, and we hope you do the same. Whichever recipe you try, be sure to leave us a note and tell us what you think! And have a great Labor Day weekend, no matter your plans.