Rt 38 BBQ

BBQ Sauce Questions

Once upon a time, everyone made their food, at home or in a communal kitchen. Today, most people are looking to save time and energy, so they purchase ready-to-eat meals at the grocery store, through subscription services, or, at restaurants.

The takeaway is, to understand where and what you are buying. Read labels, search FAQs, and ask your server. If those do not answer your questions, don’t buy.

There are millions of questions asked on the internet on billions of subjects. Today, we are narrowing that field to only those about Barbeque Sauce.

The reasons I mention home cooking and communal kitchens are this; sauces were local, seasonal, and influenced by the people directly eating the results. International brands are a recent event, less than 150 years.

As of 2020, according to the United States Industry Report, 247 companies were producing countless different barbecue sauces sold in stores, independently, and online. This is a $2bn industry, and growing…not remaining consistent, not shrinking, growing!

So Many Sauces, So Many Companies, So Many Differences, So Many Similarities.

The number one selling barbecue sauce in the United States, originated in Chicago, and Sweet Baby, how it’s grown!

Now, look at the label, many ingredients, of course, but also many artificial chemicals. Thickeners, preservatives, flavors, and…well, you know.  

At RT 38 BBQ, all our sauces are made here with no artificial ingredients, preservatives, or all the other stuff that makes us wish we had a chemistry degree.

And yet, our sauces have a 60–90-day shelf life when refrigerated. Why? Because of natural preservation, such as kinds of vinegar and the smoking process. Plus, all our regular sauces can be frozen, used as a marinade, and are gluten-free.

All sauces go bad. Abuse of time and temperature can shorten even a factory-sealed bottle. The “USE BY” date is there for your knowledge. Not that the contents of the bottle know, “well, that’s it! Were outta here!” It means the manufacturer, using optimal storage for flavor and safety, suggests you do not use it. That’s science at work.

Other things to look for are seeping seals, tops that are bubbled outward, damage to the container, and discoloration from the original.

Never buy anything that has been “sealed” in a home canning process, such as Ball™ jars. You don’t know if the jar was sanitized, sealed correctly, or stored properly. All sorts of nasty microorganisms can inhabit that environment. Yuck!

Can Barbecue Sauce Be Frozen?

That depends on the ingredients. Tomato, mustard, syrups, fruit, butter, and vinegar-based sauces can be frozen. Mayonnaise-based sauces cannot.

It is suggested that you do not keep sauces for longer than six months in a home freezer. Home units do not hold at 0°F to -10°F like industrial. If you do have an industrial freezer, those sauces can be held for one year.

Thaw all sauces in the refrigerator. Do not set it on the counter to thaw. The shock from quickly thawing may cause the product to separate, oxidize, or spoil. Once opened, refrigerate. Use that within 60 days. (By the way, date your bottles when you open them).

Can Barbecue Sauces Be Used As A Marinade?

The basic answer is, yes. Some barbecue sauces may need to be thinned out, to ease adsorption. Some may be better as a glaze, (sauce added after the protein is cooked to accentuate a flavor or texture), and some are better only as a side.

Salad dressing has been used for marinating meats, too. A classic French dressing compliments tougher meats that will be roasted and sliced, i.e., London Broil and flank steak.

Only trial and error will assist you with which barbecue sauce is the best marinade to meet your personal palate.

Will Barbeque Sauce Burn In The Oven?

Emphatically, yes. Or over an open flame, hot coals, in a pan on the range top, or anywhere the sauce encounters a direct heat source, plain and simple.

All barbecue sauces contain sugars. Sugars and proteins will caramelize when heated. The Mallard reaction is a chemical process between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives that distinctive flavor we all know, and love.

Let the process go on too long or too quickly, and you get that charred muck that destroys all hope to recover.

If you are going to sauce a protein, after it’s cooked and place it on a grill, under a broiler, or in any way continue the cooking, watch it like a hawk! The moment you see it start to crystalize or bubble, it’s time to take it off the heat.

Does BBQ Sauce Have Gluten?

Many do, found in items like Worcestershire sauce and in thickening agents. There may not be a high percentage, but if you are allergic or have Celiac disease, even a trace amount can harm you.

Many are gluten-free. Again, the number one selling brand IS gluten-free.

The only advice I can provide is, to read the label. Here is the caveat.

The FDA set a limit of 20ppm for foods that carry this benefit. Even that trace amount may trigger a reaction in some individuals. Caveat Emptor.

As I stated earlier, ALL our sauces are made in our kitchens. ALL our core sauces are gluten-free. I say this in total transparency as I have a child who is Celiac. I don’t mess around with people’s health.

I hope this information is informative and was fun to read. Please let me know if you enjoyed it. I will talk to you again, soon.

The Pitmaster

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