Jack Daniel’s BBQ sauce is a heady sauce that is more tangy than it is spicy. The sugars and fruit make it sticky and sweet. The flavors tend to stick around on your tongue for a while.
This recipe was actually pretty easy to recreate because I bought a bottle at the store and then just played around with the exact ingredients on the label.
Many copycat Jack Daniel’s recipes use teriyaki sauce, Worcestershire, ketchup, or crushed pineapple. Why make it more complicated? Use the ingredients the bottle tells you are in it!
Is Jack Daniel’s Sauce the same as Jack Daniel’s BBQ Sauce?
No, they are two different things. Jack Daniels BBQ sauce is a tomato-based sauce with a sweet and tangy profile. Jack Daniels sauce, now just known as TGI Fridays Whiskey Glaze, is the original sauce that made this line famous.
Spiked with relatively small amounts of Jack Daniels bourbon, both sauces are cooked long enough for all alcohol to be burned off and not leave an overpowering whiskey flavor. They are also fairly sweet, which makes them both appealing to a wide variety of diners.
- Dark brown sugar- Light brown sugar can also be used, but the heavy molasses notes do give this sauce its tacky consistency.
- Water– To help the sauce not thicken too much or scald during the cooking process.
- Apple cider vinegar & white vinegar- Both are used in the original, but if you just want to use one or the other, but my guest, just use the same volume.
- Tomato paste– Tomato paste isn’t sweetened. Ketchup can be used, but the sauce will be slightly more sweet.
- Pineapple concentrate– This is the frozen concentrate you find in the frozen juice section near the orange juice. Using a concentrate provides deep fruity flavors but without the fibrous texture from crushed pineapple. This also eliminates the need for an immersion blender (stick blender).
- Jack Daniels whiskey– After cooking, the alcohol will burn off, leaving nothing but notable whiskey undertones.
- Liquid smoke– Gasp. Yep, the original uses hickory flavors, so we added some of our own too! In some stores, this can be found in the spice section and others in the BBQ sauce section. It isn’t meant to be used alone but adds a smoky flavor and scent to anything it is used in.
- Yellow mustard– Just plain old mustard.
- Coarse kosher salt– If using fine sea salt, reduce by half.
- Onion powder & garlic powder– Provides flavor without bits and the need to smooth.
- Turmeric– this was a shocker to me too, but it makes sense. It is earthy but gives intense color.
- Cornstarch– To thicken and give it the glossy finish.
The only ingredient we didn’t use in this sauce was caramel color which is why the bottled sauce will be a deeper burgundy than yours. And, of course, the preservatives.
How to Make Jack Daniel’s BBQ Sauce Recipe
- Add all ingredients except the cornstarch and water to a bowl and mix together.
- Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and allow it to simmer until it reduces by half.
- Make a slurry by whisking together cornstarch and water.
- Add the slurry to the saucepan, and whisk to combine.
- Serve immediately or cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.
How to use Jack Daniel’s BBQ Sauce
You can use this zipped up sauce the same way you would use any barbecue sauce. A few ideas:
- Proteins- chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp will all be better with a basting of barbecue sauce. Whether it’s in the oven or on the grill, slather your seafood and meat with this sauce for a delicious coating and some caramelization.
- Dipping sauce- instead of covering your cooking food with the sauce, use it as an accoutrement to whatever meal you’re serving.
- Meatloaf- some people prefer ketchup spread on their meatloaf but bbq sauce is an amazing substitute.
- Chili- adding barbecue sauce to chili while cooking gives it depth with the smoky sweetness mingling with the earthy flavors of cumin and other ingredients.
- Baked beans- baked beans are blessed by the addition of bbq sauce, especially when they are slow-cooked to let all of the flavors infuse into the beans.
- Wings- sure, you can cover your chicken breasts and thighs with sauce but fry up some wings and then toss them in this sauce for a change from the traditional buffalo sauce.
- Meatballs- make a batch of meatballs, toss them in this, and provide some toothpicks and you have one of the easiest appetizers available.
There are plenty of ways to customize this Jack Daniel’s bbq sauce recipe to make it your own.
- Worcestershire- this hard-to-pronounce sauce will amp up any recipe with tons of umami flavor, making it earthier and delicious.
- Jalapenos- if you like a sweet/spicy combination (but not too spicy), dice up just a few jarred jalapenos and toss them in the sauce while cooking.
- Cumin- cumin is a great way to build earthy and rich flavor in anything you choose to use it in.
- Minced garlic- instead of garlic powder, use minced fresh garlic for a kick. Your sauce will be less smooth, so be prepared for that; or use an immersion blender to get the texture you want.
- Cayenne- if you really want to amp up the heat, sprinkle a little cayenne to make this a spicy sauce.
Storage and Freezing
Just like most BBQ sauces, leftover Jack Daniel’s BBQ Sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container. If you want to keep it longer, you can freeze it.
To freeze, you can use airtight storage containers or freezer bags. A convenient way to keep multiple bags of sauce stored is fill freezer bags, then lay them flat to freeze. After completely frozen, the bags can remain stored flat. You can also save space by stacking them or storing them vertically.
More Homemade Sauces Recipes
Jack Daniel’s BBQ Sauce Recipe
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup tomato paste 6 ounces
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup pineapple concentrate
- 1/4 cup Jack Daniels whiskey
- 1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Combine the brown sugar, water, both kinds of vinegar, tomato paste, pineapple concentrate, whiskey, Liquid Smoke, mustard, salt, onion and garlic powder and turmeric in a medium saucepan. Whisk to combine.
- Heat over medium heat until filly combined and mixture reduces by half and thickens.
- Whisk together the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water, then whisk into the BBQ sauce.
- Remove from heat and use hot or allow to cool before storing in the refrigerator.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.