Barbecue sauce can be mild or spicy and the heat in a hot barbecue sauce can come from black pepper or chili peppers. Regardless of where the heat comes from, it is possible to add too much spice and wind up with something excessively hot. If your barbecue sauce is too spicy, there are steps you can take to lessen the heat and make it enjoyable again. Consider these tips:
Dilute with other ingredients
The simplest way to make a barbecue sauce less spicy is to add every ingredient to it except for the source of the heat. The idea is to lower the concentration of the spicy component and bring it back into balance with all of the sauce’s other flavors. The result is that you will have more barbecue sauce than you planned, but this shouldn’t be a problem since your homemade sauce should have a relatively long shelf life when stored properly. Keep it in the fridge and it can last for weeks depending on the recipe.
An alternative to multiplying the ingredients is to dispose of some of the recipe then add enough ingredients to make it back up to a full batch. How much of it you dump depends on the sauce’s heat level.
Increase the sweetness
This works for tomato- and mustard-based barbecue sauces. Sugar is essential in the most popular barbecue sauce recipes so adding some more won’t alter the finished taste too dramatically. Sugar can help to dilute the source of the heat and it will also provide a distraction from the spice level.
Also, overuse of black pepper or chili peppers can make barbecue sauce bitter; sugar helps to combat bitterness. Many recipes use honey as a barbecue sauce sweetener and that can help to lessen the heat as well. Use it in moderation to avoid making your sauce too thin. Note also that honey does burn easily, which may make your barbecue sauce more difficult to use over an open flame.
Make it tart
Add a sour flavor note to help neutralize the heat. Acidity is a well-known tool for mitigating excessive heat from the piperine in black pepper and the capsaicin in chilies. The alkaline chemistry of chili peppers is neutralized by the acidity in sour ingredients like lime juice, tamarind, and similar items.
Canned tomatoes also work well if your barbecue sauce is tomato-based. If your sauce is vinegar-based one like a North Carolina-style barbecue sauce, you can simply add more vinegar to it.
The addition of fat can help to wash away the capsaicin and neutralize an overly hot barbecue sauce. A small quantity of butter may help since dairy products are typically among the best options for combating the heat from capsaicin. Fat in the form of canola oil may work as well if the sauce is only a little too hot since adding too much may make the sauce unpleasantly oily.
One option that you may want to try is to add mayonnaise to your barbecue sauce since mayonnaise consists mostly of fat. The combination works for fry sauce and Japanese yum yum sauce and it is just as effective as a barbecue sauce. Keep in mind that the use of mayonnaise for barbecue is not unheard of since it is the main ingredient used in Alabama’s white barbecue sauce.