Barbecue Sauce: Are you using it correctly?


What I was doing

I have a confession, for more years that I care to admit to I used barbecue sauces to marinate my meats. Sure, I would baste during cooking as well, but I would soak my meats in a layer of BBQ sauce for a couple hours before cooking. Yikes.

There are 2 main reasons why this was a rookie move:

  1. BBQ sauces are generally pretty thick and so don’t penetrate the meats properly. Ergo no marinating.
  2. BBQ sauces tend to be pretty high in sugar which burns at 350 F (177 C). Burnt sugar has a terribly bitter taste.

Both of these pretty simple mistakes meant that I was both wasting barbecue sauce and eating burnt sugar (poor meat). Sucks to find out you have been doing something so incredibly wrong for so long but hey – live and learn!

What I should have been doing

Barbecue sauce is meant to add flavour to your protein towards the end of the cook. The best way to do this is to baste with a brush or spoon (or mini mop for pros) while cooking to maintain moisture and add taste.

In my experience that last 10 minutes of the cook is the best time to baste. I like to put 4-5 layers on each side. Minimum. Though if I am sipping a good beer I might go 6-7 layers per side.

One good tip is to gently heat the barbecue sauce before using it. Nothing crazy. Either a few seconds in the microwave or a few minutes in a sauce pan. This ensures you are maintaining temperature and not putting cold sauce on hot meat messing with your cook.

Finally, there is your finishing move. The last little baste before serving. It is no secret that barbecued meats need to rest before serving. I like to put a last layer of barbecue sauce as it sits to get that deep flavour.

Bottom Line

Barbecue sauces can be amazing hero ingredients that really elevate your cook. Using them properly is of course an important step. The first step though, of course, is to pick a great barbecue sauce. 

Check out Sinai Gourmet selection of amazing selection of barbecue sauces!

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