10 Things You Never Knew to Add to BBQ Sauce

Grillin' season is almost upon us so it's time to get planning. Here's how to make barbecue sauce that will tantalize your taste buds!

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With summer here, barbecue season is in full swing! But when you’re grilling, don’t settle for plain bottled BBQ sauce! Instead, add a few extras to your favorite bottled sauce to take them to the next level. Want to start from scratch? Try these recipes.

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apricot jam
Shutterstock/margouillat photo

Add some apricot jam

Fancy adding a little tangy sweetness to your BBQ sauce? A little-known trick is to add some apricot jam into the mixture when heating. When it comes to how much you dare to put in, the key here is to start small. The flavor can be overly sweet for some palettes so be sure to taste as you go. Grab a jar at the store or try to make it yourself!

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chiles chipotle mexican food
Shutterstock/Marcos Castillo

Smoke it up with chipotle

Close your eyes and imagine the perfect BBQ taste. It’s not just rich and tangy—it’s daringly smoky too. When it comes to how to make barbecue sauce, there’s one thing you can’t forget. Chipotle peppers. Of course, you want to be sparing with how you use these as they can be strong for some people’s taste. Including them in the sauce replicates the strong flavor of smoked food. Like things hot? These spicy recipes will blow your top.

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Teriyaki, traditional Japanese sauce. selective focus

Make it extra sticky

When you coat your meat with tasty BBQ sauce, it should be too sticky to handle. But how can you make sure you get that unmistakable texture to your sauce? One trick is to add some teriyaki sauce to the base of your barbecue. The traditional Japanese sauce will add a richness of flavor and make it gooey enough to stick to your favorite chicken and ribs, too.

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Kaiskynet Studio/Shutterstock

Raid your liquor cabinet

Want your BBQ sauce to have an extra kick? Get out of the kitchen and head to your liquor cabinet. Adding whiskey to the mix is a classic way to take your sauce to new levels. Be sure to opt for a well-aged, peated whiskey that packs loads of taste. That way it will give the sauce that super smoky flavor.

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Cola drink is poured into a glass with ice

Or keep things alcohol-free

Looking for an alcohol-free way to give your BBQ sauce some pizazz? Cola might be the answer. The sweet yet sharp taste of this drink gives the sauce a uniquely syrupy taste. What’s more, as the sugars melt, they give the sauce an extra sticky consistency too. Don’t have cola on hand? Try root beer or Dr. Pepper!

Get the recipe here.

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Glass of rum on the wooden background
Shutterstock/Alexander Prokopenko

Try a rum and chilies combo

When you think of rum, chilies aren’t likely to be the first thing that spring to your mind. But if you’re wondering how to make barbecue sauce that blows people’s socks off, you have to try this one. Use a tomato puree base, some fresh green chilies, and a generous helping of golden (or even spiced) rum. There are even more ways to cook with rum.

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Fresh cherry on plate on wooden blue background. fresh ripe cherries. sweet cherries
Ivanna Grigorova/Shutterstock

Cherrypick the best flavors

Want to add a little fruity zing to your BBQ sauce? We might have just the idea for you. Including either some fresh or frozen cherries into the mixture could be the way to go. Make sure that the fruit is dark, sweet, and (of course) pitted for the best results.

Get the recipe here.

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cup of coffee with chocolate on a table

Indulge a chocolate and coffee mix

Sweet and savory come together in this next BBQ sauce trick. Create a standard sauce base—using tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce and onions—and then add in the extras. Include some melted down semisweet chocolate, cocoa powder, freshly brewed coffee and chili powder. This will give your barbecue sauce a mole twist.

Learn more about the secrets of mole here.

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Rhubarb on wooden table. Fresh rhubarb on white bowl
Nadezhda Nesterova/Shutterstock

Get tangy with some rhubarb

And now for a real curveball? Who’d have thought that rhubarb would work so deliciously well in barbecue sauce? Before you set about making the base of your sauce, chop and boil up some fresh and peeled rhubarb to make a puree. Add this to any style for BBQ sauce you favor for an unexpected hit of tanginess.

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Gomel.Belarus - March 19.2018. Guinness is an Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness
Shutterstock/Egor Fomin

Get creative with Guinness

Beer-based BBQ sauce is nothing particularly new, but why not take things up a notch? Combining ketchup, brown sugar, Guinness, apple cider vinegar, and a whole lot of garlic could be a recipe for success. The concoction is ideal for smothering all over a nice rack of ribs before cooking.

Charlotte Grainger
Charlotte Grainger is a creative feature writer, with a flair for food, health and lifestyle pieces. Her work has been seen in a number of national publications including Beyond Words Magazine, Reader's Digest and Psychologies. When she’s not typing away, you can find her trying out new recipes or binging Netflix shows— sometimes simultaneously.