This Cranberry Bourbon BBQ Sauce is my favorite for Thanksgiving, especially with smoked turkey. Fresh cranberries, brown sugar and bourbon whiskey are simmered with ketchup, vinegar and spices. I can't decide if this is more of a cranberry sauce or a barbecue sauce. All I know for sure is that it tastes great with turkey.
This Cranberry Bourbon BBQ Sauce recipe evolved from a homemade bourbon bbq sauce I've been making for years. One Thanksgiving we decided to smoke our turkey and I had an epiphany that if cranberry sauce and bourbon bbq sauce were intertwined, the result would be amazing.
This recipe has now become a tradition for us. A splash of color and zesty bright flavor among platters of turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing.
What goes into Cranberry Bourbon BBQ Sauce?
Other than the bag of fresh cranberries, you probably already have the ingredients for this cranberry BBQ sauce.
- Brown Sugar
- Cider Vinegar
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Soy Sauce
- Dijon Mustard
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Crushed Red Pepper
How to make Cranberry Bourbon BBQ Sauce
This is a "throw everything into the pot and turn on the heat" kind of recipe.
- Start by putting the cranberries, brown sugar and a few tablespoons of water into a saucepan. Let this mixture simmer for roughly 5 minutes, until the cranberries soften and the sugar melts.
- While the cranberries and sugar are simmering, measure out the rest of the ingredients into a bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and simmer the sauce for 8-10 minutes longer.
- The cranberries will burst and the sauce will be thick.
Make this ahead of time
I usually make this the morning of Thanksgiving or the day before, because it's easy with minimal clean up. But this cranberry bourbon bbq sauce can be made up to a week ahead. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
What to serve with Cranberry Bourbon BBQ Sauce
This sauce is delicious with anything smoked or grilled. It's also delicious on anything else you would put ketchup or barbecue sauce on.
One day I hope to share my smoked turkey recipe here on the blog. It's actually pretty simple. I coat the turkey with Salt Lick dry rub and cook it in our Orion Convection Smoker, which smokes a whole 12-14 pound turkey in an hour and a half. Amazing! And it means the oven is free for all of my roasted veggies, pies, and keeping things warm. Plus no basting!
If you already have a smoker, here's a delicious looking smoked turkey recipe. Once you smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving, you may never go back to the oven. It's a whole other level of flavor.
Here's the Cranberry Bourbon BBQ Sauce Recipe. If you cook this, I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think!Print
Cranberry Bourbon BBQ Sauce
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 10-12 (¼-cup) servings 1x
Sweet and tangy Cranberry Bourbon BBQ Sauce is a cross between bbq sauce and cranberry sauce. A bright smoky tangy colorful side dish for Thanksgiving. Also delicious on sandwiches, burgers and grilled or smoked chicken and ribs.
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 cup ketchup
- ½ cup bourbon
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Bring cranberries, sugar and water to a boil in medium sauce pan over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are soft and the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes more, until the sauce has thickened and the cranberries have burst.
- Can be made ahead. Store, tightly covered in the fridge for up to a week. Bring to room temp before serving.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Sauce - Condiment
- Method: simmer
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: homemade cranberry BBQ sauce, Thanksgiving BBQ sauce for smoked turkey
Wow - just made this as a trial run for Thanksgiving next week. We had it with some chickens I smoked and it was delicious (we are smoking our turkey this year for the big day). Tangy and full of flavor. The bourbon definitely adds a sweet richness to the taste. We will definitely be making this next week and I can't wait to see the reaction.
Hi Edgar, Thank you for the great review and 5 star rating! I'm so glad you enjoyed the bbq sauce. Wishing you and your family a happy Thanksgiving!