I have a recipe for bourbon braised spare ribs which calls for boiling the following sauce in a pan and then pouring it over 1lb ribs (boneless or bone in) and braised in the oven for several hours.

  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 3/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion, sliced

So I decided to use this sauce over a 2 lb brisket in the slow cooker. I doubled the sauce recipe since I was using double the meat and wanted a lot of liquid to cover the meat. I mixed the sauce in a bowl and poured it into the slow cooker over the meat (without pre-boiling the sauce). I cooked for 10 hours on low and the meat was soft and juicy and just right. However, there was quite a bitter taste, which I'm assuming is from the whiskey. Is it because I doubled the recipe? Or because the whiskey had to first be boiled and then cooked on low?

  • Are you saying that you didn't boil the sauce before cooking it with the meat?
    – Catija
    Jul 13, 2016 at 16:24
  • Yes. I just poured it over and turned on the slow cooker. I assumed the low cooking will also have the same effect.
    – Rachel S
    Jul 13, 2016 at 16:28
  • Not necessarily... boiling is not the same as cooking on low... I don't know the science of it but if I had to guess there's more of the alcohol cooked off when you boil than when it's simply simmering... You should make it more clear in your question, though (that you didn't boil the sauce).
    – Catija
    Jul 13, 2016 at 16:30
  • Actually simmering for a long time is the most effective way of getting rid of alcohol. Even flambeeing doesn't greatly reduce the amount. Jul 13, 2016 at 19:43
  • What comes to mind for me is that a slow cooker generally does not lead to the evaporation of all that much liquid during cooking. A boil + oven braise would boil off a fair amount. To see if I'm heading in the right direction, how did the consistency of the sauces compare? Was the rib sauce you boiled noticeably thicker than the brisket sauce you did not? Jul 14, 2016 at 18:19

1 Answer 1


Doubling the recipe should work fine. I think the most likely reason is that you didn't end up boiling off the alcohol. Alcohol boils around 173F, and a slow cooker on low heats to between 170 and 280, so on the lower end that's too cool. I assume the pot was also covered the whole time, so that even if you did boil off the alcohol, some could have dripped back into the sauce.

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