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Root Beer Is The Key Ingredient That Gives BBQ Sauce A Sweet Finishing Touch

Chicken wings covered in BBQ sauce
Chicken wings covered in BBQ sauce - Debbismirnoff/Getty Images

BBQ sauce has long been the go-to condiment for weeknight patio dinners, warm-weather picnics, and family-friendly cookouts. Depending on the recipe, this sweet and savory sauce is made with varying degrees of ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, water, and a blend of spices. With a little doctoring, this base combination of ingredients can be made into the perfect sauce accompaniment for all your favorite meat-heavy dishes. Even though making homemade barbecue sauce is quite simple, those looking to include an additional hint of sweetness in their classic recipes should look no further than root beer. A sweet and distinctly spiced carbonated soda, root beer may have made a name for itself via ultimate root beer floats, but surprisingly, a cup or two of this fizzy drink adds a nice level of complexity and flavor to traditional BBQ sauce.

While traditional root beer used to be flavored with sassafras root, modern-day varieties include a range of ingredients to achieve a similar taste including wintergreen oil, allspice berries, cinnamon, clove, and anise. Not only will your next round of BBQ sauce benefit from root beer's added sweetness; the fizzy drink's warming spices will add layers of flavor to an already delicious condiment. Incorporating root beer into your favorite BBQ sauce recipe is also straightforward and based on the recipe you're following, added at various stages in the heating process.

Read more: The 15 Best Store-Bought Barbecue Sauces, Ranked

There's More Than One Way To Make Root Beer BBQ Sauce

Glass of fizzy root beer
Glass of fizzy root beer - Bhofack2/Getty Images

While most homemade BBQ sauce varieties are made over the stove, incorporating root beer can be done at the beginning of the heating process or toward the end. Some recipes suggest simmering root beer alone in your saucepan until the liquid reduces by half before adding the remaining ingredients. Cooking down root beer first allows you to achieve a thicker BBQ sauce.

Alternatively, you could take a page from this recipe for root beer pulled pork with root beer BBQ sauce to further simplify this delicious condiment. All you need to do is add a cup of root beer to traditional BBQ sauce ingredients and heat over the stove. After simmering for roughly 30 minutes, you'll have a delicious root beer-infused sauce to lather on all your favorite sandwiches.

Another option is to heat your standard lineup of BBQ sauce ingredients first and allow them to simmer and combine for half an hour before adding a few bottles of hard root beer. Our recipe for the Best Damn root beer BBQ sauce suggests adding alcohol-infused root beer halfway through the cooking process. While both hard root beer and the traditional classic add a distinct taste to any BBQ sauce, adjust the base ingredients if you want more control over the resulting sweetness of your new and improved condiment.

How To Make A Mildly Sweet Root Beer BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce in small glass bowl
BBQ sauce in small glass bowl - New Africa/Shutterstock

While homemade BBQ sauce infused with carbonated root beer has delicious potential, combining ketchup, brown sugar, and sugary soda may seem like too many sweet ingredients for those who prefer an even balance of flavor. Achieve that spiced root beer taste without overwhelming your palate by swapping ketchup for jarred or canned tomato sauce. In using crushed tomatoes or a sugarless sauce, your resulting BBQ sauce will have a more even flavor profile and a perfectly balanced sweet flavor thanks to the added brown sugar and root beer. You can even combine orange juice and honey with savory ingredients like Worcestershire sauce and chopped onions for a distinctive flavor.

If you often use bottled BBQ sauce, there are a few effective ways to add that signature root beer taste without making this simplified condiment too sweet. Mini BBQ chicken sliders combine chicken with root beer in your slow cooker before adding BBQ sauce. Choose a more savory BBQ sauce with an acidic bite to counterbalance the sweet chicken. You may also want to try slow cooker barbecue ribs. While the recipe calls for cola, root beer can be used instead. For a mildly sweet sauce, use less root beer. All in all, the soda can add a well-rounded warmly spiced sweetness to a wide range of BBQ sauce varieties.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.