Jack-and-Coke Barbecue Sauce

Time45 minutes
YieldsMakes 3 cups
Cola is used as the sweetener in this whiskey-spiked barbecue sauce based on the ketchup-y sauces beloved in the Midwest.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
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The sweetness of cola and whiskey are the ideal foundation for a complexly layered barbecue sauce that works brilliantly as a rib glaze as well as a sauce to pass around the table for slathering over grilled chicken, pulled pork or slices of brisket. Be careful to stir the onions often so they brown evenly but don’t burn. Otherwise, they’ll make the sauce bitter.


Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft and evenly browned at the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook, stirring to combine both with the onions, for 30 seconds. Pour in the whiskey, bring to a boil and cook until reduced to a thick sauce, 2 to 3 minutes.


Add the ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire, salt and soda, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about a third and thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.


Remove the pan from the heat and pour the sauce into a bowl. Let the sauce cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make Ahead:
Refrigerate the sauce in an airtight container for up to one month.