Keto as a Way of Life
Keto Pumpkin & Bourbon BBQ Sauce
Fall is 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 dessert-like options.
My mind doesn’t work like normal people’s minds do.
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.
I smoked those burnt ends with a dry rub instead of a sauce because, at the time, I just didn’t have a Keto-friendly sauce on hand.
But now… I thought. o O (“These extra ingredients could become sauce for those burnt ends!” )
Behold…. Pork Belly Burnt Ends! (the recipe for those will have to be another post later)
I’ll admit that my ideas (I call them ‘Kitchen Adventures’) are 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 then 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.
Typically do this at the end of the season to get rid of all the decorative pumpkins that end up around my house during Fall. 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.
It can be a challenge to find Pumpkin Puree in stores during off seasons, but Amazon Pantry always has you covered.
The key is making sure you get 100% Pumpkin and NOT Pumpkin Pie filling, which has sugar in it.
We love pumpkin so much, we stay stocked on this year round. It's really almost as good as roasting and pureeing a pumpkin yourself.
Only... WAY easier!
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.
I am allowed to drink the bourbon, though, which is why that bottle is half empty. But I digress….
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.
In the pot.
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.
I did two things right at the end….
First, I added the Keto Maple Syrup.
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 the Keto maple syrup 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 at some point… maybe if I can get the color of the stuff right.
Right now, it tastes like Maple Syrup, but it doesn’t /look/ like it. It works great in this BBQ Sauce recipe though!
IMPORTANT NOTE: I added the keto maple syrup at the end because I didn’t want to cook the Monkfruit that’s in the syrup for too long. Monkfruit handles heat pretty well, but in a sauce that’s cooked very long or at a high heat (like boiling hot), Monkfruit will crystalize and give the sauce a grainy texture that’s not fun to eat.
Monkfruit is a wonderful, Keto-approved sweetener. Since we discovered it, we’ve started using it in everything that needs sweetness.
Monkfruit sweetener stands up well to the heat of baking, it tastes great and doesn’t have a bad aftertaste. It has no carbs, and actually contains a substance that is reported to help stabilize blood glucose levels.
Amazon is the most reasonably priced and convenient place we've found to purchase it.
Learn More About Sweeteners
Interested in learning a little more about sweeteners and where they rank for Keto?
We put together a handy chart of 55 sweeteners commonly used on the market today. The chart shows you which sweeteners are actually sugar, which ones are bad chemicals or natural, where they land on the Glycemic Index and more.
We also rank each sweetener on the list as Good, Bad, or Ugly for Keto.
To make that Keto Maple Syrup, you’ll need a blender or food processor. We used our Ninja for that. You’ll see what I mean when you read the recipe below. But here’s a link to the one we use.
Ninja Mega Kitchen System
We used to use the smaller Ninja to make smoothies, but the attachments that come with this system were too awesome not to get.
It's some wild combination of all the extra blades and the power of the larger unit that makes short work of anything you want to blend, chop, crush, puree, whatever! After we tried this bad boy out, we were hooked.
Ninja customer support is wonderful too. We broke the top on the blender (our fault) and they replaced it for us with one phone call; no charge! And they were super nice about it.
Second, I added the Bourbon
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. 😉
How Much did the Recipe Make?
This recipe 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!
This pumpkin bourbon bbq sauce made those pork belly burnt ends really stand out.
We’ve also discovered that our new bbq sauce is fantastic with pulled pork and on chicken wings. Use this stuff pretty much any place you would use BBQ sauce and enjoy!
Thanks for Reading
We hope you enjoy this Keto Pumpkin Bourbon BBQ Sauce Recipe. If you give this recipe a try, please let us know how it works out for you. Please drop us a line in the comments below, send us an email at email@example.com or join us on our Facebook Page where we share and discuss Keto recipes all the time.
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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
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.
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.
Increase heat to medium-high and bring sauce to a low boil.
Reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring slowly every couple minutes.
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!
In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, add water and Confectioners Monkfruit.
Bring to a low boil and reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and add butter. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
Pour mixture into a blender. Add Maple Extract and blend for a few second.
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 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.
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