Use A Splash Of Booze To Thin Out Sticky Barbecue Sauce

No matter what style of barbecue sauce you prefer — whether it's a sweet, rich Kansas city-style or a mustard-based South Carolina style — the consistency of your sauce is paramount. Barbecue sauce that's too thin won't properly adhere to your meat, whether you're slow-smoking a brisket or dipping a chicken nugget. On the other hand, sauce that's too thick won't brush on easily, leaving you with a clumpy mess.

Sure, you could thin it out with a little water, but why not use an ingredient that kicks up the flavor instead? Your liquor cabinet may have just the thing to get your barbecue sauce to just the right consistency and while you won't need much booze to thin out your sauce, the liquor you choose should complement the flavors in your sauce. However, you'll want to make sure you use the right one, as there are three spirits that are best suited for the job. 

Reach for rum, bourbon, or tequila for your barbecue sauce

Barbecue sauce relies on the balance of sweet and tangy elements and the right liquor can play beautifully in your mixture. Rum is ideal for sauces on the sweeter side, as its sugarcane base makes the spirit inherently a bit sweet. For brighter, tangier sauces, light rum is ideal, and dark rum can add a rich intensity to barbecue sauces that include brown sugar or molasses. If you're a whiskey fan, bourbon can also kick up your barbecue sauce and bring it to the ideal consistency. It also imparts complexity with its notes of vanilla, wood, nuts, spice, and fruit.

Tequila may seem like a strange spirit to stir into barbecue sauce, but its assertive, herbal flavor profile works beautifully in barbecue sauces that have a citrus component, like Florida barbecue sauce, or with a traditional South Texas barbecue that brings in Mexican flavors. Ultimately, whether you reach for rum, bourbon, or tequila to thin out a barbecue sauce that's too thick, make sure you're not too heavy-handed with the booze. Too much alcohol can overwhelm the other elements in your sauce and make it taste a bit hot, but a tablespoon or two can deliver the ideal flavor profile and the perfect consistency.