Liquor in BBQ/smoking. Cognac, whiskey, beer, brandy, etc

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Dec 6, 2010
Just curious to hear from some people that use liquors in either their sauces or glazes or injectables.  Just wondering how the flavors work?  It would seem you would just have to cook the alcohol out fully but maybe the alcohol can offer some zing?  I did a little testing with my sauce with some Crown and was certainly not happy with it without cooking it down.  To be honest, it just tasted like adding Ethanol to the sauce.  Lets just compare it to a bloody mary and did not compliment the sauce at all. 

I was looking to use beer in a glaze or baste just because of the gravity physics properties of alcohol.  Maybe a brandy in a glaze due to the sweet flavor that might work well. 


Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
Jul 26, 2009
I think most of us use some sort of liquor in themselves as a preservative but other than beer can chicken I have not used any in my sauces. Many of the sausage recipes call for a cup or so


Meat Mopper
Nov 15, 2010
Rural Nebraska
*Copied and pasted from my 'Baby Back Ribs' thread (More olive oil and gin, depending on the amount/size of onion). I've found that gin, if implemented correctly, is quite complementary.

I first learned of implementing use of gin from someone who shared his method.  The flavors provide a subtle taste that compliment sauces nicely. 

If you want to experiment with it, try slicing a good-sized onion into fairly thin slices and putting them in a sauce pan adding just enough olive oil to cover the slices, maybe a little bit more, approximately a tablespoon. The thicker the pan used the better. Under medium heat warm the onion pieces until they become softened. Next, pour in four or five tablespoons of Bombay Sapphire Dry Gin or more depending on the amount of the onion used with medium-high heat. Some garlic cloves can be added, I prefer to use shallots. This particular gin has a remarkable flavor profile for barbecue. 

Once it is about dry or most the liquid has evaporated, incorporate in a half tablespoon or so of dark brown sugar, pan removed from the burner using a rubber spatula. At this point, with reduced heat to medium-low, stir for about two or three minutes till onion and shallot/garlic, sugar mixture is caramelized good to the point where it all begins to singe a bit. You want to continue to stir with a wooden spoon steady throughout most the whole process. A sharp-edged utensil can be used to chop into smaller pieces.

Makes a wonderful addition to sauce or even topping a grilled steak. Some fresh pepper slices added work well for that.  I've found that the trace amounts of flavor added to the wood seem to add another dimension to the flavor too most probably attributed mostly to the steam. The wood shouldn't be dripping wet either just moistened. I've also added (a little bit) of gin to the bath set below brisket and in brines. Doesn't take much. And, I really don't know if you'd just want to add gin to a sauce without doing the above process that may prove a bit much. 

I've also incorporated the use of beer in small quantities. One in particular is Mothership Wit beer as it has a high coriander flavor in it's profile.
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Smoking Fanatic
Aug 22, 2010
Renton, WA
"I think most of us use some sort of liquor in themselves"  Why yes, Scar, as a matter of fact I do!  I also cook with it frequently.

It's all fair game - just trust your taste buds and tune the flavors to your spices and the type of meat.  Beer, while stronger in taste than wine is just as versatile, but like wine, you need to pick which one you use carefully. I have used beer in my red bbq sauce forever, almost always braise my bratwursts in beer, and use bourbon and apricot juice when I foil my pork, for instance.  Taste as you go and have fun experimenting!  CHEERS!!


Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
Feb 3, 2009
I have used Rum in many marinades and sauces for pork and chicken .

 Used red wine in marinade for beef.

 It doesn't take much to change the taste of a sauce.

smokin relaxin steve

Smoking Fanatic
Mar 16, 2010
South Jersey
I have used Wine for sauces and occasionally in marinades... I have also used Beer In Marinades... I like to deep fry with Beer Batter

I use Bourbon (or whiskey) in some sauces and some times incorporate Spiced Rum in my mops...

My Bro makes "Brew Burgers" he mixes a little beer with the meat and as he cooks them he occasionally pours beer over them... Make for a decent burger...

I guess i could keep going here but i think you get the point... i like to drink and cook with my beverages LOL!
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Fire Starter
Feb 6, 2011
I've read a few sites that suggest putting alcohol in a metal bowl in the smoker. I was thinking in the future or trying some ribs with JD in a bowl. Has anyone ever tried this method?


Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
May 1, 2007
Jose Cuervo he is a friend of mine...  I like to drink him...




Meat Mopper
SMF Premier Member
Sep 26, 2010
Hueytown Al
I like pure beer in the water pan,awesome careful with straight bourbon,it might just catch on fire....


Meat Mopper
May 21, 2009
Grundy, Virginia
Several years ago I smoked some pork using hickory wood chips soaked in Early Times Bourbon (a fairly cheap but pretty good tasting bourbon), the chips were soaked for about 3 hours, this was not my idea but a guy helping me.  When I arrived to do the smoking they had been soaking for 2, hours so I smoked a butt and some ribs and believe it or not the smoke flavor was outstanding.  Have not done that in a while as I am usually feeding the family and they don't much care for the taste or smell of Bourbon.  I would do it again as it did give the Hickory Smoke Flavor a little kick and just a hint of bourbon flavor.  I would use bourbon again if I had a fifth to drink while smoking the meat, I don't believe in wasting good liquor!


Smoke Blower
Feb 27, 2011
Denver, CO
This is a bit late, but there is a sauce I got out of a book (I'll probably post it when I get home) that uses stout beer and it is delicious! I plan on that being the first sauce I use when I try out my WSM. Last time I bought a 6 pack of guiness (which I don't like) just so I could make my sauce lol.I think this time I'll check the gas station and hope they sell singles.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Sep 12, 2008
Penticton BC
I like orange brandy mixed about 1/2 and 1/2 with apple juice to spritz on ribs. Also for pork chops I like to make a marinade them overnight with some spices and Orange brandy. It gives the chops an interesting unique flavour that I really like.

I must admit that on more than one occasion I spritzed a tad too much orangebrandy/apple juice into my mouth instead of on the ribs and got a bit zonked on the stuff.

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