Meat/ Recipe/ Sauce/ Summer

Oven BBQ Ribs with Rub & Fiery Apricot Bourbon Homemade BBQ Sauce

I spent some time in Austin, Texas a Summer back.

Yeah, Texas.

I never thought I’d ever actually go to Texas. It was one of those mythical places that existed in my mind, taking up much of the same space as woodland fairies, deep space galaxies and Chris Pratt’s pants.

Firey Apricot & Whiskey Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe - She EatsUhhh….

Little did I know that I was soon to be gun-slingin, cow-tippin, everythings-bigger bound for Austin.

Firey Apricot & Whiskey Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe - She EatsIt wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I thought it would be. In fact, I kind of loved it. Some say it’s the Portland of the South. And it really was.

Firey Apricot & Whiskey Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe - She EatsAdorable tree lined streets. Food trucks up the wazoo. Live music pretty much anywhere you could plug an amp in. Totally friendly people. Quirky stores and art all over the damn place. And the food. Oh, oh, ohhhh the food.

Oh yeah, and the 2 C pour of bourbon I ordered by accident. Note to self: When in Texas, remember everything comes bigger. So ordering a double = messy.

Firey Apricot & Whiskey Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe - She EatsBut for all the hipster-tossing, ping-pong playing, craft-beer tasting and bourbon looting I got myself into,  a big fat vat of Southern BBQ was the very best thing I got myself into.

Smoked pork spare-ribs. Beef brisket. Plump chicken thighs. Luscious corn bread. Creamy coleslaw. Potata’ salad. Mac & cheese. Heaping jugs of sweet tea. And sauce. So. Much. Sauce.

I had always heard real, down-home BBQ was the shiz, but I didn’t really “get it”, until I got it. All of it. Right in my mouth. 

I had no idea meat and carbs could be so filling yet so deliciously ethereal.

Firey Apricot & Whiskey Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe - She EatsThat week completely changed how I thought about meat. And Texas. And my waist-size. And it relegated store-bought BBQ sauce right into the trash where it belongs.

Firey Apricot & Whiskey Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe - She EatsSince that trip, I’ve taken to making my own homemade BBQ sauce. Depending on the season (and what’s in the cupboard) I’ll spice it up with anything from beer to whiskey, cherries to apricots, and chilies to pineapple. I slather it on everything from eggs (yes, eggs) to ribs to burgers and sometimes I’ll even just grab a spoon.

Firey Apricot & Whiskey Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe - She EatsThis version takes the best of all those worlds and puts them together in one pot: Fiery Apricot Bourbon Homemade BBQ Sauce.

Dudes. I’ve totally ‘shipped these ingredients.

Firey Apricot & Whiskey Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe - She EatsIt takes hardly time at all to make your own homemade BBQ sauce (you know how I’m quick and easy like that) and it’s got an intense smokiness, a deep rich flavour, a perfect balance of sweet & spicy, and is all around gorgeous.

Topped and slathered all over BBQ ribs, it’s finger licking addictive!

I’ve included my rib rub recipe here too in case you want the full experience. And let’s be honest, when something’s this good, you want the champagne experience. Or in this case, the bourbon one.

Firey Apricot & Whiskey Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe - She Eats

Oven Baked BBQ Ribs with Rub & Fiery Apricot Bourbon Homemade BBQ Sauce




Yield 2 servings


For the Rub:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh cracked black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 5 apricots, seeded & chopped (approx 1 1/2 C)
  • 1 birds eye chili, seeds removed
  • 1 C bourbon
  • ¾ C ketchup
  • ¼ C apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
  • ¼ C Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tsp dry mustard
  • ½ Tsp ground cumin


  1. Pat the ribs dry with paper-towel and place upside down to cut away and discard the membrane/skin from the back of each rack. Use a knife to free a corner of it from the ribs, then grab the loose membrane with a paper-towel and pull it off the rest of the rack. You can leave it on but it can become tough.
  2. Place all ingredients for the rub in a bowl and mix well to combine. Line a shallow baking tray with tin foil and set the ribs inside. Coat all sides of the ribs with the rub mixture. Wrap tightly in more foil and place in the fridge for 1-12 hours to allow the flavours to develop and get deep into the meat.
  3. When ready to cook, remove the rib tray from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Bake in a 300 degree F oven for 2 hours.
  4. As the ribs bake, make the sauce. Heat the butter in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat. When sizzling and melty, add the onion, garlic and apricots. Sauté until soft and fragrant, approx. 7-10 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring often so the mixture doesn't burn.
  6. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into a food processor. Puree on high until smooth. Alternatively, you can use a (immersion) blender but be careful – it’s hot!
  7. After the ribs have cooked for two hours, remove the foil from the top of the ribs and slather the homemade BBQ sauce on like craaaaaaazy. Put the sauced ribs back in the oven for a further 30 minutes to allow the sauce to set.
  8. Serve with Red Cabbage Slaw and a few Super-Stuffed Cheesey Bacony Twice Baked Potatoes. Because yum.


Homemade BBQ sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge in a mason jar or other non-reactive vessel.

  • Meaghan
    August 23, 2016 at 11:23 AM

    Girl these ribs look out of this world, bigger than texas DE-licious!!!!! I found myself in Texas a few years ago and fell in love, even came home with a pair of cowboy boots (oops!) and would go back in a heart beat. Will definitely be trying these ribs.

    • Kristy Gardner
      August 24, 2016 at 2:50 PM

      Aw thanks Meaghan! I feel like maybe I was channeling YOUR bourbon ribs when I made it. Which also look good enough to drool over. We should totally have a bourbon rib bake off!! 😉

      PS. Never ever “oops” cowboy boots. You’re a badass.
      Kristy Gardner recently published…Spiced Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon, Herbs & Toasted AlmondsMy Profile

  • Kiki
    August 23, 2016 at 11:43 AM

    Oh my, I would have LOVED to be there and experience all this! Austin is on my bucket list of cities for a “round-North-America-trip” so just like you never thought you’d get to go there but did in the end, I’m hoping I will, too 😀

  • Dana
    August 23, 2016 at 6:35 PM


    I can’t even leave a real comment now. Because.

    Chris Pratt’s pants.

    Seriously, though. I really want to hit up Texas sometimes. I have, like, a 2 per cent leniency in my pescetarianism so…

  • Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy
    August 24, 2016 at 1:24 PM

    Those look “finger licking” delicious. As my husband would say…if it has bourbon it has to be GREAT!! Looks perfect for a nice weekend bbq…but hey…I just might “not” want to share these!!

  • Mairead Rodgers
    August 24, 2016 at 4:18 PM

    You had me at apricot BBQ sauce. My favourite fruit paired with ribs? I’m in.

  • Justine @
    August 24, 2016 at 6:03 PM

    Hmmm, the Portland of the south?! I could get into that! I haven’t really spent a lot of time in that part of the south before (a few hours between flights), although I loved Arizona. I’d love to really experience Texas — it’s fun to totally immerse yourself in culture when you travel and do as the locals do! I love the way you’ve worked inspiration from your travels into this dish. My boyfriend would LOVE this BBQ sauce — he’s a big bourbon fan. Believe it or not, I’ve never made my own (I’m also not a huge meat eater :). I’m going to Pin the recipe to make for us one day… I wonder how it would be on chicken? Cheers, Kristy!
    Justine @ recently published…FORAGED PRAIRIE WILDFLOWER BOUQUETMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      September 13, 2016 at 4:13 PM

      Arizona is beautiful Justine! I’ve only ever been to Phoenix and Yuma but they were gorgeous.

      PS. This sauce is great on chicken, too. I’ve also used it on burgers and as a base for vegetarian eggs benny to add a sweet, spicy, smoky flavour. You’ll love it. Thanks for the pin!
      Kristy Gardner recently published…#MargaritaWeek: Mint Cucumber & Smoky Jalapeno MargaritaMy Profile

  • Sean
    August 24, 2016 at 7:37 PM

    Oh sweet mother of pork. That looks REALLY freakin’ good. I mean, the ribs alone look amazing but I am in looooove with that sauce. I did a TON of cooking with apricots this year, but I didn’t make bbq sauce (I usually do that with rhubarb in the spring and tomatoes in the fall), but now I’m thinking it might be worth picking up another few pounds (of apricots, that is – I will myself also pick up a few pounds if I eat this as frequently as I might like). Awesome job Kristy, as always.

  • Samantha @mykitchenlove
    August 24, 2016 at 8:09 PM

    I literally want to jump through the screen and start gnawing on a rib (or 20 of them). Beautiful photos, scrumptious recipes and great post!

    • Kristy Gardner
      September 13, 2016 at 4:16 PM

      hahahahaha, thanks Samantha. Though I wouldn’t recommend it. While you can see the ribs on the screen, they aren’t really there. And a mouthful of central processing unit (aka CPU) is not going to taste or feel terrific.

      PS. I had to Google what was inside a computer to say that 😉
      Kristy Gardner recently published…Winter WonderJam Whiskey Smash + Salt Spring Kitchen Co GiveawayMy Profile

  • Becky
    August 25, 2016 at 5:30 AM

    Know what I love to put BBQ sauce on? Pizza. Try it. It’s the bomb.
    Becky recently published…A grand adventure.My Profile

  • James Graham
    August 25, 2016 at 6:59 AM

    Oooooh, I want a plate of that please!!!
    James Graham recently published…Binary Options Pro SignalsMy Profile

  • Jayme | holly & flora
    August 27, 2016 at 3:58 PM

    I still think you guys need to find a way to make it out to Denver one of these days! …I still haven’t made it out to Austin, but I’m dying to – for the scenery, the food, and the music. I’ve been so in love with combining sweet with spicy and savory. Stone-fruits and spice for the WIN! And did you seriously end up with two CUPS of bourbon??! I think you might be the only person I know that would actually be able to handle that. 😉 I could’ve helped you out, though.

  • Jayme | holly & flora
    August 27, 2016 at 4:00 PM

    ANNNNNDDDDD!! I just noticed your book jacket at the top of your blog! I am SO EXCITED for you, Kristy! I can’t wait to dive into it. Sending you a huge congratulations your way, lady!! XOXOXOXO!

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    August 28, 2016 at 9:59 AM

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  • Christina
    September 9, 2016 at 10:38 AM

    Yum! Apricot season is well past for me here but I do still have a few peaches hanging around that need to get used up. I think they would go great in this sauce. 🙂

  • Nicole | Culinary Cool
    September 10, 2016 at 7:36 PM

    I’m Texas bound (Austin and Houston) in about a month and can’t wait to sink my teeth into that famous Texas BBQ. I’ve starting making my own sauce using prairie cherries, because homemade is the only way to go! Pinning this recipe for later!!

    • Kristy Gardner
      September 13, 2016 at 4:21 PM

      Oh fun Nicole! I haven’t been to Houston and evidently it’s more “big city” than Austin and I’m sure you will have a BLAST.

      PS. Homemade is totally the way to go. I can imagine Prairie cherries (what are those???) would be super yum. I don’t know what they are, but anything with “cherry” in it sounds about delicious. Thanks for the pin!
      Kristy Gardner recently published…Classic French Madeleines: Lemon Earl Grey + Vanilla Bean Dark ChocolateMy Profile