Recipes Main Courses Poultry and Game Bourbon-Molasses Chicken

Bourbon-Molasses Chicken

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 65 minutes
Servings: 4

This bourbon-molasses sauce is a good all-purpose barbecue sauce. Make a double or triple batch to store for other meals. It will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.


  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 chicken, about 4 lb., cut into 8 pieces
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper


Make the bourbon-molasses sauce
Prepare a hot fire in a grill.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the ketchup, molasses, vinegar and bourbon and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Grill the chicken
Season the chicken pieces with the salt and pepper. Lightly oil the grill rack. Place the chicken pieces, skin side down, on the rack over the drip pan, positioning the legs, thighs and wings closest to the heat. Cover the grill and cook, turning the pieces occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh or breast (not touching bone) reads 170°F, about 50 minutes. During the last 10 minutes of grilling, brush the pieces generously with the sauce. Remove from the grill and serve. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Grilling, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2007).