Yes, You Can (And Should) Use Sweet Tea In Barbecue Sauce

A pitcher and glass of sweet tea
A pitcher and glass of sweet tea - Merc67/Getty Images

Sometimes it feels as if there's no end to the ways one can customize barbecue sauce. You can experiment with different American regional subspecialties, as well as flavor profiles inspired by other cultural practices, like flavors from Mexico, Argentina, or Brazil. You can also just come up with your own take since there's so much flexibility in the definition of barbecue. But if you've never thought about using sweet tea as an ingredient in your sauce, now's the time to lean into this tip.

When it comes to barbecue sauce, sweet tea is an ideal addition. Because this drink is typically made with classic black tea, it brings a tannic, mild bitterness to the table, balanced by the addition of sugar. In the framework of a barbecue sauce, those flavors provide counterpoints and complements to common elements like vinegary ketchup, earthy, funky Worcestershire, or zippy mustard. And incorporating it into your favorite recipe is easy, inspiring, and delicious.

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

What Is Sweet Tea, And How Do You Use It For Barbecue?

Barbecue chicken
Barbecue chicken - Debbismirnoff/Getty Images

If you're not familiar with sweet tea, the concept is simple. When it comes to standard iced tea, you might make a single glass at a time and add sugar or another sweetener before taking a sip. By contrast, this stuff is batched out and the sweetener is incorporated while the tea is still hot for maximum dilution. Once made, you can keep your sweet tea in the fridge for whenever the mood strikes. While you can pretty easily make your own sweet tea, you can also find store-bought versions, which will help you eliminate a step if you're in need of barbecue sauce on the fly.

When it comes to incorporating it into your condiment, you can use about ½ a cup of tea per ¾ to one cup of ketchup in your recipe, and adjust from there to your desired taste and consistency. If you're not totally sure how to add the tea without winding up with a watery finished product, look for opportunities to exchange a liquid in your recipe. For example, if you have a basic barbecue sauce that uses beer, you can exchange the suds for sweet tea.

Customizing And Using Your Sweet Tea Barbecue Sauce

Brushing ribs with barbecue sauce
Brushing ribs with barbecue sauce - Gmvozd/Getty Images

When it comes to this tasty twist on your sauce, there are plenty of opportunities to customize, too. Particularly, if you're making your own sweet tea for this purpose you have the ability to dial in the flavor profile by swapping out different sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, or agave are all good candidates) and controlling the concentration of sugar in your liquid. You can also make a sweetened version of other teas, like hibiscus, which adds both tartness and a brilliant color.

Regardless of whether you're making your own or using a store-bought version, sweet tea is a friendly ingredient to lots of flavors that will also go beautifully in a barbecue sauce. Fruits like peach and raspberry are complementary and bring a nice punchy brightness. Herbs like mint and lemongrass, or spices like ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon will all add spicy depth. An easy homemade barbecue sauce that has a bit of chili powder and paprika will add layers of heat and smoke that play well with the earthiness of the tea, too. You can even double down with a sweet tea brined grilled chicken with peach barbecue sauce. Slather your sauce on chicken, pork, brisket, ribs, or even veggies. Knowing that you can use sweet tea in your sauce makes it easy to get extra excited for your next barbecue experiment, no matter what's on the menu.

Read the original article on Daily Meal