Add to Bbq Sauce

Nothing revitalizes a backyard barbecue quite like when you add to BBQ sauce you bought from the store. Many grillers find themselves stuck with the pitfalls of store-bought options that lack the depth and character of a homemade blend. So, it’s time to keep reading and make your own signature, enhanced barbecue sauce. This is a part of our Grilling on Charcoal article and is listed in our Sauces & Marinades and Grilling Categories.

BBQ Sauce Additives to enhance its flavor. Includes mustard, brown sugar, mustard, onion powder. Optionally remove or adjust any of the additives.
Enhanced Bbq Sauce with Brush

The Most Popular BBQ Sauce Additives

To begin with, the most popular flavors added to BBQ sauce are mustard, brown sugar, onion, and honey. Any yes, those are good to add to either tomato-based or vinegar-based BBQ sauces.

Other variations might include some flavored vinegars, other spices, liquid smoke, or whiskeys. However, we’re focusing on the most popular ones. They’re handy to know when you have that craving for a doctored BBQ sauce on your barbecued chicken or ribs.

Transforming Bottled Kraft BBQ Sauce Into a Gourmet Experience

Take your store-bought Kraft Original BBQ sauce, and add a twist with fresh herbs or fruit like pineapple to instantly elevate its flavor profile. There are also lots of popular condiments you can add to barbecue sauce.

What to Look for in Store-Bought Barbecue Sauce

When selecting a store-bought BBQ sauce, search for a balanced barbecue sauce recipe that includes chili powder and fresh herbs. These elements suggest a well-rounded flavor profile that can be easily customized at home. The easiest, of course, is to pick a generic good brand that you already favor. I often use Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce.

The Predicament of Over-Sweetness

Many bottled sauces lean heavily into sweetness, often masking the nuanced flavors that make BBQ so beloved. Cutting through this with acidic ingredients, such as vinegar or citrus juices, can rebalance the taste, allowing the sauce’s richer, smokier notes to shine through.

Reducing the Overpowering Artificial Smoke Flavor

So, if you’re grilling outdoors, you don’t need any artificial smoke addition. Also, artificial smoke flavor can overpower the subtle layers within BBQ sauce. By incorporating natural smokiness through smoked paprika or chipotle peppers, you can achieve a more authentic taste that complements rather than overwhelms the dish.

Custom Sweet or Hot Enhancements for Store-Bought BBQ Sauce

Enhancing your barbecue sauce recipe sweet, hot, or spices can transform store-bought BBQ sauce into a personalized flavor sensation. So, here are some ways to add things to your barbecue sauce that can make it bold or tame.

Vinegar Vs Tomato Based Ingredients to Add to Bbq Sauce
Vinegar Vs Tomato-based Ingredients to Add to Bbq Sauce

1. Adding Heat Without Overpowering

So, add heat to to enhance, not dominate. A careful selection of spices can elevate the experience.

Battling Blandness with Bold Flavors

Overcoming the blandness of some bottled sauces means introducing complexity with smoky flavor, yellow mustard, chili powder. So, with that said, here’s a recognition to regional barbecue traditions like Carolina BBQ. Adding a splash of Frank’s RedHot or a Louisiana-style hot sauce can also bring a vibrant depth to the mix.

Selecting the Right Type of Chili

Then, choosing the right chili is crucial for a homemade barbecue sauce that has just the right kick. Whether you prefer a subtle warmth or a fiery blast, understanding the heat level of different chilis will help you achieve the desired balance.

2. What to Add to BBQ Sauce for Sweetness: Neutralizing Excessive Tartness

If your sauce is too tart, a touch of sweetness can create harmony. Molasses or brown sugar, added judiciously, can soften the edges without veering into overly sweet territory, achieving a balanced, moreish flavor.

The Sweetness Factor: Molasses vs. Brown Sugar

Deciding between molasses and brown sugar affects the overall flavor. Molasses offers a deep, rich sweetness, while brown sugar brings a lighter, caramel-like sweetness to BBQ sauces.

Integrating Honey for Smooth Sweetness & Vinegar for Balance

Adding honey to your sauce can introduce a smooth, natural sweetness that complements both the tangy and spicy elements of your BBQ sauce, creating a well-rounded flavor profile. However, also integrating rice vinegar can help balance the sweetness in BBQ sauces, making them more complex and appealing.

Utilizing Fruit Preserves for a Unique Twist for Sweet Flavors

Incorporating fruit preserves into your bottled sauce can introduce an unexpected flavor profile. So, combining these with citrus juices, lime juice, and grated ginger can break through the monotony, adding a fresh, zesty kick that lifts the sauce to new heights.

3. Adding Depth with Booze and Vinegar

Adding booze and vinegar to your BBQ sauce can transform it from good to unforgettable. These ingredients add a depth of flavor that balances sweetness and enhances the overall taste profile. Whether you’re tweaking a store-bought sauce or perfecting a homemade concoction, understanding how to use these components can elevate your BBQ game.

The Impact of Bourbon

Bourbon introduces a warm, rich complexity to BBQ sauce with its sweet, smoky notes and hints of vanilla. When added to BBQ sauce, bourbon melds with the tomato base, creating a layered flavor experience that’s both bold and subtly sweet. A splash of bourbon can deepen the sauce’s character, making it a standout addition to any grilled dish. However, keep in mind it’s for the special flavor and not for making an adult beverage. So, don’t overdo it.

Vinegar Varieties to Modulate Flavor

Vinegar is a secret weapon in creating a balanced BBQ sauce. Different vinegars, such as rice vinegar, offer a gentle tartness, while others like apple cider vinegar bring a fruity sharpness. Incorporating vinegar can cut through sweetness, add tanginess, and introduce a refreshing acidity. For a regional twist, try using yellow mustard in Carolina BBQ sauce or a dash of Frank’s RedHot for a Louisiana-style smoky flavor.

4. The Role of Spices and Herbs

Spices and herbs are the backbone of any great BBQ sauce, providing aroma, heat, and flavor. So, crafting a signature blend or adding fresh herbs can make your sauce stand out. They’re not just ingredients; they’re your sauce’s personality.

Creating a Signature Spice Blend

Creating a signature spice blend allows you to customize your BBQ sauce to your palate. Consider starting with basics like paprika for color and smokiness, garlic powder for savoring, and a pinch of cayenne red pepper for heat. Experiment by adding unique spices in small amounts until you find the perfect balance. This personalized blend can become your secret ingredient.

Fresh Herbs for a Final Touch

Fresh herbs can transform a BBQ sauce from ordinary to extraordinary. Adding chopped herbs such as cilantro, parsley, or thyme right before serving introduces a burst of freshness that complements the sauce’s deep flavors. This final touch can brighten the overall taste and add a visually appealing element to your dish.

5. Experimenting with Regional Flavors

Exploring regional BBQ flavors can add exciting variety to your grilling repertoire. Each region has its unique take on BBQ sauce, offering a world of tastes to discover.

The Midwest Kansas City Sweet and Smoky

Kansas City BBQ sauce is renowned for its thick, sweet, and smoky flavor. Achieving this signature taste involves a generous use of molasses or brown sugar paired with a smoky component like liquid smoke. This style of sauce is perfect for those who love their BBQ with a rich, indulgent flavor.

The Carolina Vinegar Punch from the South

Carolina BBQ sauce is known for its vinegar base, which gives it a tart and tangy profile. Incorporating yellow mustard and spices like cayenne pepper can add depth and a subtle kick. This type of sauce is ideal for pulled pork, enhancing the meat’s flavor without overpowering it. However, some prefer a dry or wet rub for pulled pork instead.

Pulled Pork with a Wet Rub Instead of Enhanced Bbq Sauce
Pulled Pork with a Wet Rub Instead of Enhanced Bbq Sauce

Texture and Consistency Adjustments

Adjusting the texture and consistency of your BBQ sauce can make a big difference in how it clings to your food. Whether you prefer it thick and hearty or light and runny, tweaking these aspects can enhance your grilling experience.

Thickening Agents for the Perfect Consistency

To achieve the perfect consistency in your homemade barbecue sauce, consider using cornstarch or flour as a thickening agent. A small amount mixed with water and added to your sauce can quickly thicken it, allowing it to better adhere to meats and vegetables. Remember, it’s easier to add more than to correct a sauce that’s become too thick. So, it won’t take much.

Innovative Uses for BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce isn’t just for grilling anymore. Its versatility extends to glazing, salad dressings, and even marinades, opening up a world of culinary possibilities.

A Glaze for Grilling Vegetables and Meats

Store-bought BBQ sauce can be transformed into a delectable glaze for grilling. Simply brush it on vegetables or meats during the last few minutes of cooking. This not only adds a layer of flavor but also creates a visually appealing caramelized surface.

Add to Bbq Sauce for Grilled Burgers and Hot Dogs
Add to Bbq Sauce for Grilled Burgers and Hot Dogs

A Bold Twist on Traditional Salad Dressing

For a bold twist on traditional salad dressing, mix BBQ sauce with olive oil and vinegar. This concoction brings a smoky, tangy flavor to greens, making salads more exciting. It’s a simple way to repurpose BBQ sauce into something new and flavorful.

Add To BBQ Sauce to Make Into a Marinade

BBQ sauce makes an excellent marinade, infusing meats with moisture and flavor. By adding ingredients like soy sauce, garlic or onion powder, and a touch of sweetness, you can create a marinade that tenderizes and enriches the meat. Let your food sit in this flavorful bath at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before cooking for the best results.

Prepping Meat for the Ultimate Marinating BBQ Experience

Prepping your meat correctly can make a world of difference in how your BBQ turns out. Start by letting your meat reach room temperature to ensure even cooking. Then, for an added twist, consider marinating it with a bit of grilled pineapple purée. This not only tenderizes the meat but also infuses a sweet and tangy flavor that complements the smokiness of the BBQ. Remember, the key is to let the meat soak up these flavors for several hours, or even overnight, to achieve the ultimate BBQ experience.

Shelf Life and Preservation Tips After You Add To BBQ Sauce

To extend the shelf life of your homemade or enhanced BBQ sauce, consider adding a bit of orange juice. The acidity in the orange juice acts as a natural preservative, giving your sauce a longer life in the fridge. Just a splash can make a difference, but make sure to store the sauce in an airtight container to keep it fresh and ready for your next grilling session.

Does BBQ Sauce need to be refrigerated?

If it’s tomato-based, yes. If it only contains vinegar and dried spices, generally not. Because of all the different ingredients in BBQ Sauces, you have to know the contents. If any of the contents would normally require refrigeration (after being opened), then it’s recommended strongly to refrigerate it. Typically, vinegar does not require refrigeration; however, some Balsamic vinegars recommend refrigeration. Sometimes, refrigeration of a vinegar-based BBQ sauce is recommend for food safety and other times, it’s recommended for food quality reasons. If the BBQ Sauce contents include vinegar and a tomato-based ingredient, you should refrigerate it.

Storing Enhanced Bbq Sauce
Storing Enhanced Bbq Sauce

Can BBQ sauce go bad?

Yes, BBQ sauce can go bad. It generally will last only as long as the shortest life ingredient. That will usually be the tomato-based ingredient, if it’s that type of sauce. So, it would last possibly as long as tomato sauce or ketchup would (opened). However, the ones that last the longest will be the vinegar-based BBQ sauces. They tend to last as long as something like mustard or pickles but they possibly can also last much longer.

However, as all food items, they can still acquire some mold on the surface as an indicator. BBQ sauces with sweeteners like brown sugar or honey can accumulate some molding over time. Even some vinegar-based BBQ sauces also but, far less frequently. Store bought BBQ sauces will often have some preservatives to extend the life.

Finally, if you add in any diced onions or tomatoes, the life of the sauce will be among the shortest.

Nutritional Values when you Add To BBQ Sauce

The nutritional values are shown in the <Print Recipe> option. However, you’ll need to consider any other things you might add to BBQ sauce.

Related To Add To BBQ Sauce

Conclusion of Add To BBQ Sauce: From Store-Bought to Spectacular

You now have a lot of ideas of what to add to BBQ sauce. Transforming a standard sauce into a spectacular one can take mere minutes and doesn’t require a culinary degree. Start by adding a cup of ketchup for thickness and a base flavor. Then, spice things up with 2 teaspoons of chili powder, a sprinkle of pepper flakes for heat, and a drizzle of chili oil for an extra kick. To bring in a bit of Southern charm, infuse your sauce with a North Carolina style by incorporating vinegar and sugar, balancing the flavors to perfection. With these simple tweaks, your BBQ sauce will go from good to gourmet in no time.

Enhanced Bbq Sauce with Brush

Simple, Popular BBQ Sauce Enhancements

BBQ Sauce Additives to enhance its flavor. Includes mustard, brown sugar, mustard, onion powder. Optionally remove or adjust any of the additives.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 14 servings
Calories: 87kcal

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  • 18 oz BBQ Sauce 1 jar such as Kraft Original
  • 4 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder or ¼ diced onion


  • Pull out the barbecue sauce all the additives you intend to use.
    Enhanced Bbq Sauce Ingredients 150x200 1
  • Power the BBQ sauce into a mixing bowl and add in the preferred additions. Mix thoroughly. Ready to use or store in the fridge.
    Enhanced Bbq Sauce Spoon 150x150 1


Combine all ingredients.


Calories: 87kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 424mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 85IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us all know how it was!
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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