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Can I have Bourbon BBQ sauce while pregnant?

Updated May 8, 2023

For all the pregnant women out there who love bourbon BBQ sauce and are wondering: Can I have Bourbon BBQ sauce while pregnant?

I have some good news and some bad news.

The bad news is that you can’t have bourbon BBQ sauce while you’re pregnant.

The good news is that there are plenty of other BBQ sauces that you can enjoy during your pregnancy!

Can I have Bourbon BBQ sauce while pregnant?

For example, Jack Daniels BBQ sauce is a safe option during pregnancy because it is non-alcoholic.

Let’s talk about the problem with Bourbon BBQ sauce and pregnancy and why it should be off the table if it contains actual alcohol.

We’ll also take a look at the best BBQ sauces for pregnant women and discuss why each one is a good choice.

Plus, provide a few recipes so that you can get started cooking right away!


Can I have Bourbon BBQ sauce while pregnant?


Can I have Bourbon BBQ sauce while pregnant?

No. You should avoid BBQ sauces that are made with alcohol.

Bourbon BBQ sauce is not safe for pregnant women to eat because it contains alcohol.

Alcohol can cross the placenta and reach the baby, which can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

FAS is a serious condition that can lead to birth defects, including mental and physical disabilities.

There is no known safe amount of alcohol that a pregnant woman can consume, so it is best to avoid it altogether.

Even if the meat is grilled, the amount of alcohol that remains is unknown.

It may be 5% or 95% of the alcohol remaining.

It is dependent on many factors:

  • Cook time
  • Amount of alcohol used
  • Other ingredients added
  • Size of the pot or cooking surface

For example, when making barbecued foods, I add the barbecue sauce towards the very end of cooking time.

If the sauce contained alcohol it would have very little time to burn off or cook-off before being served.

It would likely be a small amount of alcohol per serving, but because there is no known safe amount of alcohol you can consume during pregnancy it isn’t worth even the small risk.

You can reach out to your own doctor or midwife for their advice on the safety of eating BBQ sauces made with alcohol, but our OB/GYN said there is no known safe amount of alcohol you can consume in pregnancy. All alcohol should be avoided in pregnancy.


Does bourbon BBQ sauce contain alcohol?

There are many varieties of BBQ sauce, and the ingredients can vary widely depending on the region or style.

However, most recipes for bourbon BBQ sauce do contain alcohol.

The bourbon provides a characteristic smoky flavor, as well as a bit of sweetness.

In addition, the alcohol helps to tenderize the meat.

As a result, it is important to use caution when handling and serving bourbon BBQ sauce.

Those who are pregnant or have certain medical conditions should avoid consuming products that contain alcohol.

However, for most people, enjoying a delicious plate of barbecue with bourbon BBQ sauce is perfectly safe.

But not all Bourbon BBQ sauces contain alcohol. If the sauce is commercially made and bottled, it may not.

So check the label, if it says it has no alcohol it is safe to eat during pregnancy.


Is it safe to eat BBQ sauce when pregnant?

Yes, you can have BBQ sauce while pregnant.

BBQ sauce is usually made from a combination of vinegar, tomato paste, sugar, and spices.

While it is safe to eat, pregnant women should be cautious about consuming BBQ sauce due to the risk of food poisoning.

Pregnant women are more susceptible to bacterial infections such as listeria.

Listeria can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature delivery.

It is important for pregnant women to avoid eating BBQ sauce that has been sitting out for more than two hours.

(Avoid eating any food that started out hot or cold and has been sitting out at room temp for more than 2 hours.)

If you are pregnant and crave BBQ sauce, opt for a commercially prepared brand that has been refrigerated.

If you are the one preparing the food, once your BBQ sauce or utensils touch raw meat they are potentially contaminated with Salmonella or other bacteria. 

Treat them that way.

Wash any utensils you used before using them on cooked meat.

Use different serving trays or plates for raw meat and cooked meat.

Following these simple precautions will allow you to safely enjoy BBQ sauce during your pregnancy.


So, what are the best BBQ sauces for pregnant women?

Here are a few of our favorites:

1. Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce: This sauce is a classic for a reason. It’s sweet, tangy, and has just the right amount of spice. And it’s widely available and relatively inexpensive. Several times a year I find it on sale for 99 Cents a bottle. We stock up anytime it is on sale.

Sweet Baby Ray’s also comes in a variety of flavors:

  • Original
  • Maple
  • Brown Sugar
  • Honey
  • Hickory and Brown Sugar
  • Sweet and Spicy
  • Sweet Golden Mustard
  • Hawaiian BBQ Sauce
  • Honey-Chipotle
  • Sweet Vidalia Onion

2. Stubb’s Original Barbecue Sauce: This sauce is a bit sweeter than Sweet Baby Ray’s, but it still has that classic barbecue flavor that we all know and love. It’s also available at most grocery stores.

3. Annie’s Naturals Organic Original BBQ Sauce: This sauce is a great choice for pregnant women who are looking for an organic option. It’s made with all-natural ingredients and has a great flavor. Plus, it’s available at most health food stores.

Now that you know the best BBQ sauces for pregnant women, it’s time to get cooking!


Here are a few BBQ recipes to get you started:

  • Slow Cooker pulled pork:

This recipe is perfect for busy moms-to-be.

Just throw a pork shoulder in the slow cooker with your favorite BBQ sauce and let it cook all day.

When it’s done, you’ll have tender, delicious pulled pork that’s perfect for sandwiches or tacos.

Serve the pulled pork on Hawaiian rolls with a side of coleslaw.

  • BBQ chicken:

This is a classic recipe that’s perfect for a summer cookout.

Just grill up some chicken breasts and top them with your favorite BBQ sauce.

Serve with a side of potato salad or coleslaw for a complete meal.

  • Vegetarian BBQ “meatballs”:

These meatless balls are packed with flavor and perfect for pregnant women who are avoiding meat.

Just mix together some veggies, bread crumbs, and BBQ sauce, form into balls, and bake.

Serve with rice or quinoa for a guilt-free dinner.


Why can’t I eat Bourbon barbecue sauce while pregnant?

Bourbon barbecue sauce is off-limits during pregnancy because most recipes for bourbon BBQ sauce call for alcohol.

Alcohol can cross the placenta and harm your baby.

Your baby can develop fetal alcohol syndrome.

This condition can cause a variety of problems, including mental and physical developmental delays, learning disabilities, and behavioral issues.

So, it’s best to avoid alcohol during pregnancy, just to be safe.

There are plenty of delicious non-alcoholic BBQ sauces out there, so you can still enjoy all your favorite foods during pregnancy.

Just be sure to choose a sauce that doesn’t contain any alcohol.


Does Jack Daniels BBQ sauce contain alcohol?

Jack Daniels is a well-known brand of Tennessee whiskey.

The company also produces a line of BBQ sauces, which are popular among grillers and smokers.

But does Jack Daniels BBQ sauce contain alcohol?

The answer is no. Jack Daniels BBQ sauce is produced without alcohol and is safe for consumption by people of all ages.

The sauce gets its unique flavor from a blend of spices, including mustard, vinegar, and paprika.

That being said, the Jack Daniels brand does produce a line of alcoholic BBQ sauces that do contain whiskey.

These sauces are intended for adult consumers and should be used accordingly.

So whether you’re looking for a flavorful way to spice up your next cookout or you’re simply curious about the ingredients in Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, rest assured that the product sold in the grocery store is non-alcoholic.

We checked our local Walmart and at the time of writing the product is listed as non-alcoholic.

If you have any concerns, it is best to choose a different brand of BBQ sauce.


List of foods to not eat when pregnant:

  • Foods that are not pasteurized– raw milk,  certain types of cheese like soft cheeses, Brie, Blue Cheese, etc.
  • Certain types of fish– shark, swordfish, anything high in mercury
  • Raw eggs including hollandaise sauce, homemade mayonnaise, homemade eggnog, and runny eggs.
  • Undercooked meats– lunch meats. Deli meats.
  • Hot foods that are not “hot”, avoid hot foods that have been sitting out without a warming source. Same for foods that should be eaten cold. If no ice or refrigeration source is keeping the food cold, take a pass.
  • Caffeine– soda, chocolate, and energy drinks. (Limit your caffeine to less than 200 mg a day)
  • Herbal Teas (There are so many ingredients in herbal teas so it is best to avoid them simply. Green tea is OK.)


List of Foods you should eat during pregnancy:

  • Avocado
  • Oatmeal
  • Pinto Beans
  • Black beans
  • Arugula
  • Bananas
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Green Beans
  • Eggs
  • Lean Meats
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp


What should a pregnant woman eat daily?

A pregnant woman needs to consume various nutrients every day to support her health and the development of her baby.

Protein is essential for building new tissue and can be found in meat, poultry, fish, legumes, and eggs.

Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth and is especially important during the third trimester when the baby’s skeleton is rapidly developing.

Pregnant women should aim to get 1000 mg of calcium per day from low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.

Iron is also important for the formation of new blood cells, and pregnant women need about 27 mg of iron per day.



Final Thoughts

If you’re pregnant and want to enjoy a good BBQ sauce, it is best to stick with one that doesn’t contain alcohol.

Consuming alcohol during pregnancy can harm your unborn baby and there is no known safe amount you can consume.

But there are so many amazing non-alcoholic choices in BBQ sauces that you can enjoy while pregnant.

Pregnancy is only 9 months and then you’ll be back to enjoying your favorite bourbon BBQ sauces all summer long!



  • Doug Penta MD OB/GYN

    Dr. Doug Penta, MD - Co-Founder of Maternity Comfort Solutions Dr. Doug Penta, is a seasoned Obstetrician and Gynecologist with over 38 years of practice, co-founded Maternity Comfort Solutions to provide evidence-based pregnancy and parenting information. A Boston University alum and former Clinical Professor at Harvard, his articles on Maternity Comfort Solutions offer expectant mothers invaluable nutritional insights.

  • Sue Winters RN

    Sue Winters, RN - Co-Founder of Maternity Comfort Solutions Sue combines 20 years of nursing with a rich background in early childhood education. Co-founder of Maternity Comfort Solutions, her articles provide creative toddler activities and practical tips on pregnancy nutrition and baby shower planning, embodying her commitment to supporting families through early parenthood.

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