Barbecuing and Bourbon: Summer Grilling Guide

June 11, 2024
Barbecuing and Bourbon:  Summer Grilling Guide

As we officially turn the corner from spring and start to think about warmer weather, and for those of us in the south that’s already here, that means for many Bourboneur’s, more time spent at the grill.  While your preferences for how you barbecue may vary, bourbon serves as a universal companion helping bring out specific flavors or complementing the smokiness of some dishes.  Whether you’re grilling burgers, brats, or brisket we here at Bourboneur have you covered with our Summer Grilling Guide helping you perfectly pair your meat of choice with a solid pour.

Bourbon Pairings Based on Meat


Did you know that BRAT is short for “Bourbon Really Accentuates Taste?”  Okay, that’s made up, but couldn’t be truer.  Brats by their very nature are fatty, oily, riots of flavor.  When you pair it with bourbon, the alcohol in your dram dissolves that fat that’s coating your mouth and, in the process, unlocks some additive complexity in the flavor department.  Bourboneur’s favorite bratwurst bourbon combination is Old Ezra 7 Year Barrel Strength.  Expect to pay around seventy bucks to pick this up at your local liquor store.

Old Ezra 7 Barrel Strength Bourbon


Having participated in our annual garage bar brisket competition just this past weekend and found our Bourboneur brisket entry in last place, I’m not going to offer any grilling advice, but I do know something about consolation beverages.  While I was enjoying all the other great briskets lodged in this year’s contest and drinking away my sorrows, my favorite go to bourbon was Woodford Double Oaked.  With those big hunks of brisket taking on hours of smoke, the complexity and the sweetness of this dram really brings out a lot of great notes in the meat.  A bottle of Woodford Double Oaked can be picked up any day of the week for around sixty bucks – give it a try and tell me it doesn’t add a little somethin’ somethin’ to an already great meal.

Woodford Double Oaked Bourbon


Burgers are a staple of summertime and there’s no need to get too overzealous with your bourbon choice here.  For that reason, Bourboneur recommends Buffalo Trace as a solid go-to to enjoy with this little slice of Americana.  Expect to pay around thirty bucks out the door for a 750ml. bottle.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Hot Dogs

If you’ve ever watched The Great Outdoors, then you’ll undoubtedly remember the racoons noting that hot dogs aren’t anything but “lips and assholes.”  Certainly, hot dogs, or “tube steak” is not the most highbrow of the meats – unsurprisingly, you’re likely not going to be sipping some pappy whilst enjoying a dish that will purportedly take 36 minutes off a healthy life for every hot dog eaten.  Bourboneur therefore recommends that if you’re enjoying a hot dog, you pair it with Benchmark Small Batch. Affordable, easy to find and a very approachable bourbon overall you may just find it to be a match made in heaven…as the bottom shelf of your grocery store meets the bottom shelf of your local liquor store.   Expect to pay a whole twenty bucks to pick up a bottle of Benchmark.  

Benchmark Bourbon Small Batch

Pulled Pork and Ribs

Pulled pork and Ribs take on a variety of different tastes and flavors depending on what region of the country you’re in and how you might sauce them up.  What is often times universal however is the use of cherry wood which is fairly common, and is at times mixed with hickory to smoke your butt or ribs low and slow.   For this reason, Bourboneur recommends Old Forester King Ranch OR Wild Turkey Longbranch as a great pairing to really bring out the fruitier notes, emphasizing the cherry.  Expect to pay one hundred bucks for the Old Forester or if you’re not in Texas and don’t hit this distribution, thirty-five for the Longbranch.  Both are great options!

Wild Turkey Longbranch Bourbon
Old Forester King Ranch Bourbon

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Bourboneur Glencairn Glass


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