Jack Daniel’s Steak Sauce


Soaked, Slathered, and Seasoned

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

I couldn’t write a sauce chapter without featuring Jack Daniel’s, since it is one of my favorite sauces to hit! Kidding aside, we all know that bourbon makes anything taste better, and although Jack Daniel’s is not technically considered bourbon (contrary to what most people think, you don’t have to be in Bourbon County, Kentucky, to officially be called bourbon), this fine Tennessee sipping whiskey is just the thing to turn a simple sauce into a stately steak sauce.

NotesGood for Slathering: Beef (prime rib or flank or skirt steak); chicken



Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, kosher, lactose-free, low-fat, peanut free, tree nut free

Taste and Texturehot & spicy, savory, sharp, spiced, sweet, tangy, umami

Type of DishCondiments, sauces


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped white or yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard, preferably Colman’s
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup Coca Cola or other cola
  • 1 cup Spicy Hot V8 juice
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup Jack Daniels whiskey
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce


  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and stir to coat with the oil. Add the sugar and stir again. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions and sugar begin to darken in color and caramelize, stirring occasionally.

  2. Add both of the paprikas, the dry mustard, salt, chili powder, and cayenne. Stir until the spices are well mixed, and let them toast in the pan. When the onions are soft and the spices are fragrant, add the Worcestershire sauce, cola, V8, ketchup, Jack Daniel’s, vinegar, and soy sauce.

  3. Let simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes or until thickened. If you want a smooth texture, strain through a fine-mesh strainer. You can also use an immersion blender to blend the sauce. Let the sauce cool for about 10 minutes or until it is warm but no longer “boiling” hot. The sauce will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

  4. Spoon over cooked food just before serving. If desired, serve extra on the side.


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