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Recipe of the Week: How to make a totally giftable cherry bourbon barbecue sauce

Addie Broyles
Austin 360
This smoked ham is served with a cherry bourbon barbecue sauce from "Award-Winning BBQ Sauce" by Ray Sheehan.

Many of the state's barbecue restaurants have had to find new ways to serve customers this year, from adding take-out and tacos to online ordering and nationwide shipping. Faraday's Kitchen Store reports that their smokers and barbecue gear started selling quickly as soon as we started staying at home more, so maybe you're one of the cooks who has been spending more time than ever next to a smoky pit. 

Ray Sheehan built up a reputation for having the best barbecue sauces around, winning countless competitions before launching his own line of sauces. Earlier this year, he published a book with at-home versions of those sauces, including the Memphis Mop BBQ Sauce, which won the title of world's best at an international hot sauce competition. 

With an at-home Christmas dinner likely on the horizon, I chose a recipe for cherry boubon-glazed ham to share, in part, because it includes both a barbecue sauce and a house rub, which you could make and share with family, friends or neighbors who need a last-minute surprise this holiday. 

Double-Smoked Ham with Cherry Bourbon Glaze

This recipe from "Award-Winning BBQ Sauces and How to Use Them: The Secret Ingredient to Next-Level Smoking" by Ray Sheehan (Page Street Publishing, $21.99) is for a full-sized ham that he smokes over hickory or pecan wood, but if you're hosting a small dinner this year, consider buying thick slices of ham from the deli and serving with the homemade sauce. You could make jars of the rub and sauce to give away as Christmas presents, too.

— Addie Broyles

"Award-Winning BBQ Sauces" is a new cookbook from Ray Sheehan.

1 (8- to 10-pound) fully cooked spiral-sliced ham

House Rub

Cherry Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, warmed, for brushing and serving

Hickory or pecan wood

Prepare a smoker to cook at 275 degrees. Season the ham all over with the house rub, getting some in between the slices for added flavor, and let it sit out for 30 minutes.

Once the cooker reaches temperature, add the wood and place the ham in a small pan on the grate in the smoker. Cook for 1½ hours, then brush it with the barbecue sauce. Return the ham to the smoker and continue to cook until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove the ham from the smoker and let it rest, loosely covered with foil, for 15 minutes.

To carve the ham: Turn the ham on its bottom so that the meat is facing up. Using a long knife, cut around the bone. Then, cut through the natural breaks in the ham where the fat lies to separate the meat. Arrange the ham slices on a platter with a bowl of sauce to serve.

— From "Award-Winning BBQ Sauces and How to Use Them: The Secret Ingredient to Next-Level Smoking" by Ray Sheehan (Page Street Publishing, $21.99)

House Rub

This recipe makes several cups of an all-purpose rub that you can use on everything from meatballs and ham to pulled pork or chicken. Make a double batch and pack into small jars to give as gifts, or cut the recipe in half if you only need a little for your own kitchen. You'll have extra rub, even if you're cooking a whole ham.

— Addie Broyles

1 cup raw cane sugar

2/3 cup chili powder

1/2 cup sea salt

1/4 cup onion powder

1/4 cup granulated garlic

1/4 cup paprika

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground thyme

Prepare the rub: In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the rub ingredients and set it aside. Leftover rub may be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months. 

— From "Award-Winning BBQ Sauces and How to Use Them: The Secret Ingredient to Next-Level Smoking" by Ray Sheehan (Page Street Publishing, $21.99)

Cherry Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

This cherry- and bourbon-infused barbecue sauce is quite different than the peppery Texas-style sauce that you might find at your favorite local barbecue joint, but it's perfect for a holiday ham. Or Super Bowl meatballs. Or a Sunday roast chicken. Double (or triple) this recipe if you plan to give some away. 

— Addie Broyles

Cherry juice and bourbon give this barbecue sauce a tangy sweetness that makes it perfect for ham, meatballs or chicken.

1 cup unsweetened cherry juice (also called tart cherry juice)

1/3 cup honey

1 cup ketchup

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/4 cup cider vinegar

3 tablespoons bourbon

2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Crystal

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine all the ingredients and bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat to low and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring it frequently. Let it cool, transfer the sauce to a jar and store it in the refrigerator for up to a month.

— From "Award-Winning BBQ Sauces and How to Use Them: The Secret Ingredient to Next-Level Smoking" by Ray Sheehan (Page Street Publishing, $21.99)