Bourbon Pepper Pan Sauce


Mastering pan sauces is one of the most important but easiest steps towards producing legit restaurant-quality dishes at home. Assemble all the sauce ingredients before cooking the steak so you can make the sauce during the 5-minute resting time for steak. The rich, sweet, peppery flavor profile also works wonderfully with pork chops and grilled chicken. You can also switch up the bourbon for another liquor, since this really is just a technique recipe.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
25 mins
2 steaks


  • 2 (6 ounce) New York strip steaks

  • kosher salt to taste

  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 2 teaspoons duck fat, or as needed

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 3 teaspoons butter, divided

  • 1 fluid ounce bourbon

  • ½ cup chicken broth

  • cup heavy cream

  • salt to taste

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper


  1. Season both sides of the steaks generously with salt and pepper. Be especially generous with the pepper.

  2. Melt duck fat in a steel pan over medium-high heat. Add steaks; cook until firm and reddish-pink in the center for medium-rare, about 5 minutes per side. Sear the edges until browned, about 30 seconds each. Transfer steaks to a plate; let rest while you make the sauce. Turn off the heat.

  3. Stir garlic into the same pan using a spoon. Add 1 teaspoon butter; let melt. Pour in bourbon. Heat until reduced to a sticky glaze, about 15 seconds. Add chicken stock. Bring to a boil over high heat while scraping up the browned bits at the bottom to deglaze. Cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add heavy cream; season with salt and cayenne pepper. Boil until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Turn off heat and add remaining 2 teaspoons butter; swirl until melted, about 30 seconds more. Spoon sauce warm onto serving plates. Place steaks on top.

    close up view of a Bourbon Pepper Pan Sauce on a plate with a steak, asparagus, and a fork
    Chef John

Chef's Notes:

If you're making this for meat that's coming off a grill, you can still do the sauce separately, and just keep it warm until the main course is ready. Start with the sauteeing garlic in butter step, and finish as shown. Of course, you'll have to add some coarsely ground black pepper to the sauce, but that's about the only adjustment.

Cook the steak in any kind of fat you prefer.

Feel free to substitute veal stock for the chicken stock.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

537 Calories
42g Fat
2g Carbs
27g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 2
Calories 537
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 42g 54%
Saturated Fat 21g 107%
Cholesterol 153mg 51%
Sodium 697mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 27g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 42mg 3%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 397mg 8%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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