Keto Pumpkin & Bourbon BBQ Sauce

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It’s the Pumpkin time of year, folks. That means pumpkin everything; especially if you’re married to my wife. And I am! (I write that with a big, goofy grin, because I still think I tricked her into it somehow.)
You know how you always have extra ingredients laying around? A half can of this that you didn’t use for that thing you made last night, or a jar of something else you saved; left over from something you made for breakfast…

Sometimes, you just have to do something creative with those things. When those ingredients happen to be  pumpkin puree and Keto Maple Syrup, your mind might turn to desert-like options.

Not mine!

By chance, I just took some Pork Belly Burnt Ends off the smoker earlier this week, and by some miracle, we had a few left in the fridge. At the time, I smoked those burnt ends with a dry rub instead of a sauce because I just didn’t have a Keto friendly sauce on hand.


But now… I thought, “These extra ingredients could become sauce for those burnt ends!”

I’ll admit that this is often a recipe for a mess rather than a recipe for something amazing. But this time, the Great Pumpkin must have granted me his favor. An Autumn Miracle happened!

It’s rare that I would share a recipe that I made once. I typically tweak it and test it for weeks, but when Rebecca tasted it, she declared I needed to write it down right now and not change a single thing! Being picky about the stuff I cook, I almost always want to change a little something at least, but this time, I agreed with her.

So I wrote everything down.

Here’s How I Did It

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, I added half a can of pumpkin puree and an equal amount of water. Stirred until all blended up and smooth.

I know! I know! I should have roasted the pumpkin and pureed it myself. I’m a slacker. I typically do that at the end of the season to get rid of all the decorative pumpkins that end up around my house during this time of year. Then we have frozen pumpkin for a few months. Unfortunately, I’m out of frozen pumpkin right now, so the canned stuff worked just fine.

Then, I put in a shot (about an ounce and a half) of good ol’ Kentucky Bourbon.  I used Buffalo Trace because it’s what I had on hand, but I think any bourbon would do for this. Stir again until everything is incorporated.

Pictured here are some of those decorative pumpkins I was talking about. I’m not allowed to cook those yet.

A good BBQ sauce needs something sweet, especially on pork. But this is Keto. I had made some Keto Maple Syrup for some Pumpkin pancakes (for Rebecca’s birthday) yesterday, and I still had about a half cup of that left. So that went into the mix. It turned out to be the perfect amount!

I think you could use any Keto Syrup you like, but the maple flavor was perfect for this. It just works well with pumpkin.

The recipe for that Keto Maple Syrup is posted below. I plan to make a more in depth post about that soon… maybe if I can get the color of the stuff right. It tastes like Maple Syrup. It just doesn’t /look/ like it. It works great in this BBQ Sauce recipe though!

Swerve is the best product we’ve found to use as confectioners sugar. It’s Erythritol, so it has zero net carbs, making it perfect for Keto. I like using it to make syrup because the final product stays thick and syrupy without developing a lot of crunchy sugar-like crystals after a night in the fridge. It also makes a great butter cream frosting for the same reason. It’s pretty much the only sweetener we use for baking now.
Click to get the Confectioners version of Swerve.
(affiliate link)

Back to our BBQ Sauce! Next, I added the acid. Since I wasn’t using any tomato products in this, I wanted something that would stand up to the sweetness of the syrup. I went with Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar. 3 Tablespoons. In the pot. Stir.

To round out the flavors, I added a tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce and 2 Tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice

I make my own Pumpkin Pie spice and keep it on hand, but I’m sure the store bought stuff would be just as good. My recipe is linked at the bottom of this post for those who are interested.

To bring out the flavors and add some kick, I added a tsp of sea salt, a tbsp of black pepper and 2 tsp of cayenne pepper. We like spice, so you may want to back off the cayenne a little if you don’t want it as spicy. Or add more if the spirit moves you!

Mix everything together until well blended. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a low boil. Then reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every couple minutes.

At the very end, I put in another shot (about and ounce of a half) of bourbon just to reinforce that flavor a little. You can add this at the beginning if you want more of the alcohol cooked out. But I mean… I don’t know why anyone would want that. 😉

This made a Mason jar and a half of sauce (close to 20 ounces). So far, we’ve dipped almost everything in our kitchen in it! It made those burnt ends really stand out, and we’ve discovered that it’s fantastic with pulled pork and on chicken wings. Use this stuff pretty much any place you would use BBQ sauce.

Thanks for Reading

I hope you like my sauce experiment. We think this one is a real keeper. If you try it, please let us know how it goes for you. I love learning from other peoples’ tweaks and additions.

Keto Pumpkin & Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Per Ounce: Calories – 21, Fat – .8, Carbs – 1, Protein – .1

• 7.5 ounces Pumpkin Puree (Approx Half a Can)
• 1/5 cup Keto Maple Syrup (See Recipe Below)
• 3 ounces Bourbon
• 3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
• 1 tbsp Worchestershire Sauce
• 1 tbsp Coconut Aminos
• 2 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (See Recipe Below)
• 1 tsp Sea Salt (Add more to taste)
• 1 tbsp Pepper
• 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper (Adjust to your ‘spicy’ preference)

1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, add pumpkin puree, Keto Maple syrup and all other wet ingredients. Stir until well combined.
Optional: Reserve half the bourbon to pour in at the end to preserve a stronger bourbon flavor.
2. Add dry ingredients and spices. Sprinkle evenly over mixture as you stir it in to prevent clumping. Stir until everything is combined and you have a smooth texture.
3. Increase heat to medium-high and bring sauce to a low boil.
4. Reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring slowly every couple minutes.
5. Remove from the heat.
Optional: If you reserved half the bourbon, add it in here and stir until everything is mixed just before you remove it from the heat.

Enjoy with anything you would have barbecue sauce with – pulled pork, chicken wings, burnt ends, bbq burgers, grilled chicken etc.
This sauce keeps well in a sealed container in the fridge. Heat and stir before serving. If you didn’t use confectioner’s Erythritol in your Maple Syrup, you may have some crunchy/sugary clumps on the top of your sauce. They melt and mix in nicely after heating.

Keto Maple Syrup

This tastes and acts like Maple Syrup, but the color isn’t right. I’ve tried to color it, but I’ve never gotten it to look like Maple Syrup. I’ll settle for the flavor. It’s amazing!

• 1 cup Erythritol
• 1 cup Water
• 2 tbsp Grass fed Butter
• 1 1/2 tbsp Pure Maple Extract
• 1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum

1. In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, add water and Erythritol.
2. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove from heat and add butter. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
4. Pour mixture into a blender. Add Maple Extract and blend for a few second.
5. Sprinkle Xanthan Gum on top of mixture evenly to prevent clumping. Blend for about 30 seconds. Check the mixture. If should be getting thick. If you see any clumps of Xanthan gum, use a spoon to break them up and continue blending until you get a syrupy consistency.
Serve anywhere you would use Maple Syrup. This also works in well in recipes that requires Maple Syrup. It just lacks the golden brown coloring of Maple Syrup, and sadly, I’ve yet to discover the right combination of food coloring to create that rich, wonderful color.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

This is a pretty standard mix for pumpkin pie spice. Everyone has their own. This is just my preferred blend of these spices.

• 4 tbsp Ground Cinnamon
• 2 tbsp Ground Ginger
• 1 tbsp Ground Allspice
• 1 tbsp Ground Clove
• 1/2 tbsp Ground Nutmeg

1. Mix all spices in a bowl until well combined.
Store in an airtight container.

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