Moroccan-Spiced Barbecue Sauce With Bourbon

Time45 minutes
Yields2 1/4 cups
Fresh chiles, warm spices and honey flavor this tangy-tart barbecue sauce.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
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This intensely aromatic and spicy sauce comes from Zuzu restaurant in Napa, Calif., and is filled with 20 ingredients, all of which are essential to its final flavor. Bourbon helps elevate the sweetness of the ketchup and honey to balance out the headiness of the warm spices and fresh chiles. Serve this sauce with lamb, game, dark meat chicken or any other protein that can match its bold flavor.


Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the black peppercorns, coriander, cardamom, cloves, cumin, star anise and the cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, until all the spices are lightly toasted (look for the cumin to turn a shade darker), 2 to 3 minutes.


Pour in the bourbon to stop the spices from cooking; if using a gas stove, remove the pot from the heat beforehand so the alcohol doesn’t catch fire. Bring the bourbon to a boil and cook until reduced by half, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.


Add the remaining ingredients and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook, stirring occasionally at the beginning and more frequently toward the end, until the sauce is reduced by about half and is syrupy, about 30 minutes.


Pour the sauce through a fine strainer into a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Adapted from Zuzu restaurant in Napa, Calif.
Make Ahead:
Refrigerate the sauce in an airtight container for up to one month.