Give Bland Barbecue Sauce An Umami Kick With One Ingredient

bowl of barbeque sauce with jar
bowl of barbeque sauce with jar - Goskova Tatiana/Shutterstock

Barbecue sauce can contain layers full of flavor -- from sweet tomato to deep brown sugar to the tang of mustard. But sometimes, barbecue sauce can miss the mark, especially when it comes to store-bought brands where you don't know the exact balance of ingredients. Whether you're concocting your own creation or need to doctor up a bottled sauce, there's one ingredient to add that can easily turn your barbecue sauce into liquid gold: fish sauce.

Fish sauce is an umami-packed condiment that's used widely in Southeast Asian cuisine. Fish sauce is actually made from fish, specifically from the flavor-packed liquid that's a result of fermenting anchovies. If a fishy taste is off-putting to you, don't worry. When used in small amounts, the fishiness is undetectable and what you get is a briny saltiness and the inherent sweetness that develops during fermentation. Just a small dose of fish sauce will enrich your barbecue sauce with umami, not change its flavor entirely.

Read more: 13 Tips To Make Your Shrimp Taste So Much Better

Incorporating Fish Sauce Into Your Barbecue Sauce

bowl of fish sauce with dried anchovies
bowl of fish sauce with dried anchovies - Bigc Studio/Shutterstock

Fish sauce offers saltiness and richness, so if you want to use it in your homemade barbecue sauce, swap in fish sauce for ingredients offering lesser versions of those flavors. Worcestershire sauce is often found in barbecue sauce recipes, and while it works great as a thickening agent, fish sauce can be a stronger choice for a more impactful umami flavor. As for the salt, ditch the soy sauce and replace its sodium content with the natural saltiness of fish sauce. Sometimes barbecue sauce can desperately need a tangy ingredient, and fish sauce is a great choice to bring that lip-smacking tang that makes barbecue so lovable.

Alternatively, fish sauce can be used with other popular ingredients found in Asian cuisine to revitalize that bottled barbecue sauce sitting in the back of your pantry. Go ahead and combine fish sauce with soy for an extra salty punch to kick back the sweetness of bottled barbecue sauce. You can also balance it out with spicy Korean gochujang paste, or add extra tang with a hit of rice vinegar. And if you'd rather enhance the sauce's sweetness, a bit of sesame oil can go a long way. If you're adding fish sauce to a bottled barbecue sauce, you only need to add about 1 teaspoon of fish sauce to about 1½ cups of barbeque sauce. Fish sauce is pungent and powerful, so a little goes a long way.

Enhancing Foods With Fish Sauce Imbued Barbecue Sauce

barbecue grilled halibut filet
barbecue grilled halibut filet - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

It may seem obvious, but the tangy, umami edge of your newly upgraded barbecue sauce will help bring out the natural flavors of your choice of fish. Avoid flaky fish with barbeque, as you want a firm fish that can stand up to the heat of the grill. Sturdy fish like halibut or swordfish are strong choices for the grill. But you can also coat tuna steaks or salmon fillets in your umami barbecue sauce. You don't even need to grill, you can use your sauce in the oven or pan.

Just because you're using fish sauce here doesn't mean you have to use your barbecue sauce on just seafood. Remember, the fish sauce doesn't make the barbecue sauce fishy anyway, making it great for more popular barbecuing meats, like barbecued chicken, ribs, and pork. Once you double the irresistibility of your barbecue sauce with fish sauce, your home barbecue will never be the same.

Read the original article on Daily Meal