A dash of vinegar can enliven a lethargic sauce, but it is possible to include too much of this dominant ingredient. As an acetic acid, vinegar exudes a tangy, sour flavor, which to some people may even taste bitter. If you have sampled your homemade barbecue sauce and decided that it includes too much vinegar, try one of several remedies to tame it before you pitch the batch and start over.
Things You'll Need
- Maple syrup
Dilute the barbecue sauce with a little water and taste it. If it’s still too sour, sweeten it with a dash of sugar, maple syrup or honey. Exert a light touch with these sweeteners; otherwise, you could initiate a recursive process of sweetening and then souring the sauce.
Make another batch of the barbecue sauce in the same bowl, but omit the vinegar. Essentially, you are doubling the recipe without the ingredient that is turning off your taste buds.
Heat the barbecue sauce in a saucepan and stir it. Heat causes vinegar to lose some of its sharpness; it also enhances the sweeter ingredients in a sauce.
Experiment with different types of vinegar. There are many varieties -- including balsamic, cider, fruit-flavored, red wine, white and white wine vinegars -- and many brands. In general, red wine and white vinegars tend to be strong; white wine vinegars are sweeter. Flavored vinegars tend to range between mild and medium in flavor. If you’re in the habit of using white vinegar -- a staple in many sauces -- try using a “calmer” balsamic or cider vinegar instead.
Tips & Warnings
- Sample your sauce on food (even a cracker) for the most accurate “reading” and, ideally, the food on which you plan to serve the barbecue sauce.
- Barbecue-Smoker Recipes: Reduce Vinegar Taste
- Exploratorium: The Science of Cooking Dinner Fix-It Quiz
- The Vinegar Institute: Frequently Asked Questions
- Chefs.edu: The Many Types of Vinegar and Its Uses
- Fooducopia: Cooking with Vinegar—Every Chef’s Secret Ingredient
- Food Subs: The Food Thesaurus: Vinegars
- Amazing Ribs: East Carolina Kiss & Vinegar Barbecue Sauce & Mop
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