These Grilled Scallops with Bourbon Sauce are cooked on skewers on the grill, and topped with an easy, sweet bourbon sauce!
A few weeks ago, I finally bought metal grilling skewers. That’s right, I’ve been grilling all summer without a skewer IN SIGHT! Once I had these sleek metal mini-swords in hand, I knew I needed to either stage a sword fight, or find some seafood to grill.
Thankfully, I realized I could probably do both. And so can you. Go grab your skewers, and let’s make these easy and delicious Bourbon Grilled Scallops!
What type of Scallops Should I Grill?
First, you’ll need a grill and skewers– I recommend metal ones, but bamboo skewers soaked in water for an hour will work too.
Next, you’ll need to buy sea scallops. Make sure not to buy ‘bay scallops’– these are a lot smaller than sea scallops, not quite as decadent and delicious, and will be MUCH harder to grill. (Bay scallops are too small to fit on your skewers.)
When you’re sea scallop shopping, look for ‘dry-packed’ or ‘chemical-free’ scallops. If you can’t find any chemical-free sea scallops, you’ll want to soak the scallops in a ice water bath with juice from one lemon before cooking. (Soaking them in lemon water helps get rid of the chemical taste!)
You’ll also need a little bourbon, some honey, and balsamic vinegar.
How to Grill Scallops
When you’re ready to grill your scallops, pre-heat your grill. While the grill heats up, make the bourbon sauce. (If we were feeling extra fancy-schmancy, we’d call this sauce a ‘gastrique.’) Measure out the bourbon and balsamic vinegar, and place it within arm’s reach of the stovetop. Next, pour the honey into a small pot and heat it over medium heat. The honey will start to bubble, and then darken into an amber color.
Carefully add the balsamic and vinegar, standing back in case of splash-back, and stir, stir, stir! Take the sauce off the heat, and cover to keep it warm.
Next, pat your scallops dry, add a little salt, and slide them over the skewers. Grill your scallops 3-4 minutes per side, until the scallops have grill marks. Serve them with the bourbon gastrique, and dig in! (If you decide to sword-play with your skewers afterwards, I won’t try to stop you.)
Grilled Bourbon Scallops
Grilled Seafood, Perfect for Gourmet Picnics or Date Night
- 7 oz sea scallops (3-5 per person, depending on the size) dry-packed, no chemical additives
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup honey OR sorghum syrup
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- charcoal or gas grill
- metal skewers OR soaked wooden skewers
Preheat your grill to high heat.
Meanwhile, pour balsamic vinegar and bourbon together and set aside. Keep the balsamic-bourbon mixture within arm's reach, so that you can grab it quickly when the honey is ready.
Pour honey into a small, heavy-bottomed pot and turn heat to medium. In about 1-2 minutes, the honey should start to bubble. Stir it with a wooden spoon until the honey darkens in color and turns amber (about 3 more minutes). (*Note- The caramelizing honey will be EXTREMELY hot. Do not touch it or attempt to taste it at this point.)
Carefully, standing back from the pot in case of splash-back, pour the balsamic and bourbon mixture into the pot with the honey. Stir, and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Take sauce off the heat, and set aside. (*Note- If the sauce cools and thickens too much while the scallops are cooking, simply set it back on the heat for about a minute, or until it heats up again.)
Pat scallops dry, then brush both sides of the scallops with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Slide them onto skewers.
Grill scallops 3-4 minutes per side, until the edges get dark grill marks. Serve while still hot with the bourbon sauce.