Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the pecans and cook, stirring frequently, until toasty, about 4-5 minutes. Scrape the pecans onto a plate and let them cool completely.
To make the ice cream
Pour the brown sugar, salt, and half-and-half into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until the mixture is warm and the sugar has dissolved completely, 2-3 minutes. Don't let it come to a simmer.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl. Stir in the heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and bourbon. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 30-60 minutes.
When you’re ready to churn the ice cream, give it a good stir. Add to the ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions. Stir in the buttered pecans and churn for just a couple of minutes to mix everything together.
Pour the finished ice cream into an airtight container and freeze until you’re ready to eat the ice cream. I like to let the ice cream freeze for at least an hour, but it’s not necessary. Drizzle with caramel sauce or butterscotch, if desired. Enjoy!
If you want a more subtle bourbon flavor, start with 1 Tbs. of whiskey. Taste the ice cream base and add more as needed.If you are short on time, you can just mix the ice cream base ingredients together and pour it into your ice cream maker. Just make sure to whisk it well for a few minutes to make sure everything is incorporated. The ice cream will be a bit more grainy with this method.You can eat the ice cream straight-away for more of a soft serve style. Or, let it freeze for an hour or two for scoop-able ice cream.