Sassy Bourbon and Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce

The sweet pairing of brown sugar and bourbon is balanced by the savory vegetables, vinegar and a touch of unsweetened cocoa powder for a sauce with a lot of sass! This is a very versatile barbecue sauce. 

Makes 4 cups

1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes 
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
½ cup bourbon
½ cup ketchup
¼   cup Heinz Chili Sauce
¼    cup apple-cider vinegar
⅛    cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup of Worcestershire Sauce 
2 teaspoons Classic Spice Rub 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa 

In a large sauce pan on the stove, add tomatoes, sugar, molasses, bourbon, ketchup, chili sauce, vinegars, and Worcestershire sauce, stirring after each additional ingredient to combine.  Bring to a low boil and reduce to a simmer.  Add the classic spice rub and simmer until the flavors have blended and the sauce has thickened somewhat, about 30 minutes. 

Let the sauce cool for about 10 minutes or until it is warm but no longer “boiling” hot. Puree using an immersion or traditional blender.   Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, about 1/2 teaspoon, and pepper.   Add the cocoa powder and mix well to combine.  Let sit 5 minutes and stir again to make sure cocoa powder is well distributed.  Let cool and pour into a clean glass jar or airtight container for storing.  The sauce can be made in advance and kept for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.