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How To Thin BBQ Sauce Guide

How To Thin BBQ Sauce Guide

Sometimes BBQ sauce can thicken up way too much.

While you want the BBQ sauce to stick to the food, you do not want a thick and lumpy BBQ sauce that sticks to the roof of your mouth.

For this reason, you need to know how to thin BBQ sauce, so it is the perfect temperature.

How To Thin BBQ Sauce

There is nothing more satisfying than tasting a homemade BBQ sauce that will go perfectly with your smoked brisket.

However, as you will notice, BBQ sauce tends to thicken up if it sits for too long.

While you can thin out your spicy BBQ sauce with water, the flavor profile will take a huge hit. Luckily there are several ways you can thin BBQ sauce.

Apple Cider Vinegar

You can easily thin your BBQ sauce out using apple cider vinegar. After all, apple cider is widely available.

However, you should test the BBQ sauce with a small amount of vinegar before adding it to the entire mixture.

Simply add 1/2 cup BBQ sauce to a container and stir in 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.

Taste the BBQ sauce to determine if the flavor and consistency are okay. If you are pleased, add 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar for every 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce and whisk until the sauce is your desired consistency.

Bourbon Or Rum

Both bourbon and rum are the perfect liquids for thinning out BBQ sauce.

Whether you use bourbon or rum is up to you. However, make sure you use your favorite bourbon or rum.

Add 1/4 teaspoon of bourbon or rum for every cup of BBQ sauce to thin it out. Place your BBQ sauce over a medium-high flame and allow it to come to a boil.

Allowing the BBQ sauce to come to a boil will cook off the alcohol.

Fruit Liquor

Fruit liquor is a great way to thin BBQ sauce. If you love adding subtle hints of fruit to your BBQ, you will like the pairing of fruit liquor and BBQ sauce.

Place 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce into a bowl and add the fruit liquor a tablespoon at a time until it is your desired consistency.

Use the same measurements to thin out the remaining BBQ sauce. Place your BBQ sauce over a medium-high flame and allow it to come to a boil to cook off the alcohol.

Citrus Juice

If you love tangy BBQ sauces, citrus juice is the perfect way to thin your BBQ sauce. Simply place 1/4 cup of the BBQ sauce into a bowl.

Add the citrus juice a tablespoon at a time until the BBQ sauce is your desired consistency.

Use the same measurements with the remaining BBQ sauce until it is a perfect consistency.


If you are out of rum, fruit liquor, or bourbon, beer is the next best thing.

Simply combine 1/2 a cup of beer with your BBQ sauce and heat it until the alcohol boils off and the BBQ sauce is your desired temperature.

If the BBQ sauce is still too thick, add another half cup of beer.

However, you must keep boiling the BBQ sauce until the alcohol boils off and the sauce reaches the right thickness.

Chicken Or Beef Broth

Although it sounds strange, you can add chicken or beef broth to your BBQ sauce to thin it out. If you are making beef brisket, add beef broth.

On the other hand, if you are making BBQ chicken legs, add chicken broth to your BBQ sauce.

Add a 1/2 cup of beef or chicken broth to 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce and mix it thoroughly until it is your desired texture.

If you are grilling vegetables or making BBQ shrimp, you can also use vegetable broth in place of the chicken or beef broth.

How To Thin Tomato-Based BBQ Sauces

Ironically, if you are trying to thin out a tomato-based BBQ sauce, the best way to thin it out is by adding ketchup.

Simply add 1/2 cup ketchup to your BBQ sauce for every 2 cups of BBQ sauce.

If you only have a cup of BBQ sauce, add 1/4 cup of ketchup to the sauce. Stir the BBQ sauce until it reaches your desired consistency.

Final Thoughts

Even though it is super easy to thin out BBQ sauce, always remember it is harder to thicken BBQ sauce than thin it out.

If you add too much liquid, not only will it be too runny, but it could also dilute or overpower the BBQ sauce’s flavor.

No one wants BBQ sauce that tastes like vinegar, beef, or chicken broth.

The lesson of the day is always to add the liquid in small amounts when thinning out BBQ sauces. This is the only way you will end up with BBQ sauce that has the perfect consistency.


Saturday 27th of August 2022

Thanks a lot, I really learned something new. I never thought to do any of this. I got really tired of thick sauce, I wanted to do like a light shield over my ribs, now I know😊

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