Your Go-To Fix For Store-Bought Barbecue Sauce That's Way Too Spicy

As illustrated by this list of the best store-bought barbecue sauces, there are lots of great brands you can conveniently pick up at your preferred grocery store when preparing for your next backyard cookout. However, there may come a time when you encounter a brand of barbecue sauce that's a touch too spicy for your liking. In this case, you don't need to toss the offending sauce and go shopping for another brand. Instead, consider tweaking the intense flavor by adding a sweet ingredient.

Spicy foods get their heat from a chemical called capsaicin, which is found in all types of hot peppers. This capsaicin can actually cause some discomfort when it attaches to taste buds, which is often the case when a food contains high concentrations of the chemical. Adding something sweet, such as sugar or honey, to intensely spicy food brings down the heat and creates a better balance when it comes to flavors. Accordingly, mixing in a sweet ingredient to your too spicy storebought sauce will not only tame the fiery flavor profile, but it can also enhance the flavor of the sauce overall.

How different sweet ingredients can impact the flavor of the sauce

If you want to temper a spicy barbecue sauce without affecting the flavor of the sauce too much, sugar is a good choice. Plain sugar is ideal for turning up the sweetness, but it won't necessarily add new flavors to the mix. However, other additions can create a more complex flavor than a mere store-bought barbecue sauce is capable of (which is why Bobby Flay jazzes up storebought barbecue sauce with a few select ingredients).

For example, honey has a more complex flavor that goes beyond sweetness. Also, there are quite a few types of honey to choose from, each of which has a unique flavor profile. The most common type of honey is clover, which offers mild sweetness with a touch of spice. Then there's something like Manuka honey, which has pleasant notes of nuttiness.

Molasses is another possible spicy sauce amendment — one with a deliciously bold flavor. Unlike other sweetening agents, molasses has a smoky quality that should pair beautifully with the flavors in many barbecue sauce brands. Molasses can also taste a bit caramelly, which adds dimention to the sauce.

Tips for adding a sweet element to your sauce

Once you've chosen a sweetening agent, you can begin improving the flavor of your store-bought barbecue sauce. Remember that it's best to add your sweetener in small amounts to ensure the finished product is to your liking. After adding a bit of sweetener, take a moment to taste the sauce before incorporating more.

You'll find it easier to incorporate the sweet ingredient if you pour the barbecue sauce into another container or bowl. This will also spare the sauce in case you add too much molasses, sugar, or honey and aren't a huge fan of the resulting flavor. As for how much of your sweet element to add, 1 teaspoon is a good starting place. Proper mixing is also crucial, as you want both flavors to fully integrate. While there is a simple way to build up your tolerance to spicy food, the sweetener hack can tame a spicy bottled barbecue sauce in a jiffy.