The 3 Ingredient Additions To Make Bottled BBQ Sauce Sweeter And Stickier

Store-bought BBQ sauce presents a bit of a conundrum. On one hand, it's convenient, as homemade BBQ sauces can have ingredient lists that run into the dozens. The best barbecue sauce brands you get at the store can also be quite flavorful and will make for a pretty good meal for people who aren't picky about their BBQ. But, the downside is that so many brands are undeniably one-note and fall so clearly short of the homemade thing in a way that most other condiments don't. Put down a bottle of Heinz ketchup and nobody is complaining. Try that with a plastic bottle of Kansas City BBQ sauce, and you've got another thing coming. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to elevate store-bought barbecue sauce, such as a squeeze of citrus, and if a little extra sweetness and texture are what you're looking for, you won't want for choices.

The three best additions for making your bottled BBQ sauce sweeter are honey, molasses, and maple syrup. While they each bring unique flavors depending on what you need, the one thing they all have in common that makes them better than white or brown sugar is that they can thicken up your sauce. One problem bottled BBQ sauce often has is being too runny to develop that thick, sticky, glossy finish that you want from barbecue, and all three of these options will help solve that.

Honey, molasses, and maple syrup each add different flavors to your store-bought BBQ sauce

Of your three sweet options for upgrading BBQ sauce, molasses might be the most useful. It's not nearly as sweet as maple syrup and honey and it will add an extra complexity that many bottled sauces are lacking. Molasses has a caramelized taste with strong roasted, smoky notes, which you want from barbecue but many sauces don't push far enough. Honey can add its own depth as well, as long as you opt for higher-quality products. The best raw honey brands will have a lot more herbal, floral, and even fruity notes compared to the cheap stuff and will push your sauce in new directions. Maple syrup doesn't quite capture that variety of flavors, but it's great for adding more nutty notes, and its sweetness has its own layers — good maple syrups have notes of toffee or vanilla in them.

Just make sure that when you add these sweeteners, you do so only a teaspoon or two at a time. All three pack a real punch, and it can be easy to tip over from not sweet enough to too sweet with one spoonful. Like any other time you are cooking, add a little and taste, and don't be afraid to mix up the options as well. Barbecue is one of the most personal types of food out there; it's all about finding what works for you.