How to Thicken BBQ Sauce in 3 Awesome Ways

Barbecue sauce is the best kind of sauce for meat, especially if you are that type of cook whose favorite equipment is the grill. I just love barbecue sauce! The best thing about barbecue sauce is how easily you could modify the recipe based on how you want your sauce to come across your meat. Aside from the flavor, you could also easily change its consistency and texture. Some want it runny, but if you are like me, then thick sauces are what we aim to achieve.

Why do we need to know how to thicken barbecue sauce? Whether we made it at home or purchased it in a store, thick barbecue sauce would stick better to the meat we are barbecuing as compared to sauces with a thin consistency. Also, if you use barbecue sauce in your sandwich, a thicker sauce would bind your sandwich ingredients better. This will make less of a mess while eating it as compared to runny sauces that flow out of your sandwich.

There are many ways how to thicken BBQ sauce, but I only have three favorites. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to thicken barbecue sauce in three very easy ways.

Method 1: REDUCTION

The simplest way to thicken your barbecue sauce is the reduction, where heat is applied to reduce the moisture of the sauce through evaporation. As compared to the other methods, this type of thickening would take up more time. However, I should say that this is the best way because it preserves the natural and original flavor of the barbecue sauce since it doesn’t require any added ingredients.

Things you need

  • Your ready-made sauce (whether homemade or store-bought)
  • Stove

Procedure

Step 1: Boil and simmer

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Put the sauce in a pot, and set it on the stove. Bring it to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and allow the sauce to simmer uncovered while constantly stirring to prevent it from scorching. Take it out of the heat once you achieved the desired consistency.

Step 2: Cool and enjoy

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Allow your sauce to cool down to room temperature. As the temperature decreases, your sauce will be thicker and tastier. When you’re ready, brush this on meat and poultry or pour on your sandwiches.

Method 2: CORNSTARCH

If you are looking for a quicker way to thicken your sauce, then cornstarch is the one for you. It offers fast thickening for your barbecue sauce. You may use any starch you want such as arrowhead starch or potato starch.

These alternatives work perfectly well, but I still prefer cornstarch because it is available anywhere. Flour also could be used instead of or in addition to cornstarch, and it would thicken as well. However, if not used carefully, it may alter the taste and texture of your sauce, that’s why I stick to cornstarch.

Things you need

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 cup of barbecue sauce
  • Stove

Procedure

Step 1: Create a slurry

To make a slurry, combine the cornstarch with the cold water until it is completely dissolved. You have to make sure that there are no lumps in the slurry because once you put it in the sauce with the lumps, portions of your sauce will taste like starch and have a different texture.

Step 2: Mix and simmer

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Combine the slurry and your sauce in a pot and mix well before putting it over low heat in a stove. Allow it to simmer while constantly stirring to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom and sides of the pot and to prevent it from burning. Simmer until you reach the thickness that you want. Adjust the taste of the sauce as needed.

Step 3: Cool and enjoy

Image credit: furiousgrill.com

Once you are happy with the desired consistency and taste of the barbecue sauce, take the pot out of the heat and allow the barbecue sauce to cool to room temperature. This will make the sauce thicker and tastier. Brush this generously over your meat before and during grilling.

Method 3: BROWN SUGAR

This works well especially for homemade barbecue sauce, since ready-made barbecue sauce already contains an adequate amount of sugar. However, you may still use this method because sweetness always goes well with barbecue sauce and grilled meat.

Things you need

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup of barbecue sauce
  • Stove

​Procedure

Step 1: Mix and simmer

In a pot, mix the brown sugar with the barbecue sauce. Put the pot over low heat and allow to simmer. This will give time for the sugar to caramelize, making the sauce thicker and stickier. Adjust the flavor of the barbecue sauce as needed.

Tip: Ketchup goes well in combination with brown sugar in barbecue sauce. This will add to the sweetness and tanginess of your barbecue sauce, but do not add to much so it wouldn’t overpower the original flavor of the sauce.

Step 2: Cool and enjoy

Once you have achieved the desired consistency, take it out of the heat and let the sauce cool to room temperature. This will thicken the sauce further. This method especially works well with ribs because of its extra sticky texture.

I have just presented you with my three favorite ways on how to thicken barbecue sauce. Of course, there are more methods of thickening barbecue sauce. Others would recommend food gums, fruit fibers, roux or tomato paste. All these are also great barbecue sauce thickeners that you should try as well.

Have you already tried these methods? Tell us which one works best for you. If you have other delicious suggestions on how to thicken barbecue sauce, please let us know in the comments section, and don’t forget to share these with your friends and family. Happy barbecuing!

Melissa Novotny
 

Hello friends, I'm Melissa from San Diego. I created InsidertheKitchen.com because I'm obsessed with food. I love cooking, eating and sharing. The Kitchen is the heart of my home.

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