A Squeeze Of Citrus Is All You Need To Elevate Store-Bought BBQ Sauce

bbq sauce wings
bbq sauce wings - Mphillips007/Getty Images

Not everyone has the time to simmer a homemade BBQ sauce to suit their palates, and store-bought varieties are often a gamble of hit-or-miss flavors. Some may be too sweet, thick, savory, or smoky. Yet, there's a simple way to elevate these ready-made condiments into something special -- a squeeze of citrus, be it a lemon, lime, yuzu, calamansi, orange, or even a tangerine, will make an ordinary store-brought BBQ sauce extraordinary.

While this seems like a trivial trick, the acidity and zest from citrus fruits can cut through the cloying sweetness, one-dimensional, or more robust flavors often found in off-the-shelf BBQ sauces. Adding citrus juice also helps thin out thicker sauces and adds a new flavor profile. As for which citrus fruit to use, well, that's up to you and what you have access to. Lemons are all-rounders and easily accessible across the U.S. A quick squeeze of lemon juice can brighten any BBQ sauce, lending summer notes and refreshing your palate.

Lime, a greener member of the citrus fruit family, brings zestiness and a taste of the tropics, helping balance intensely-flavored BBQ sauces. As for those who have access to yuzu (usually bottled as a concentrate or juice), we highly recommend you try it in BBQ sauce. Yuzu is an aromatic citrus fruit from East Asia with floral notes, and a squeeze of it will add a subtle sweetness and an intricate bouquet of flavors for the gourmet BBQ enthusiast.

Read more: Styles Of Regional BBQ In The US

From Calamansi To Tangerine, Citrus Can Transform BBQ To Perfection

barbecue chicken with lemon
barbecue chicken with lemon - Wundervisuals/Getty Images

Calamansi, a gem in the citrus family from the Philippines, offers a concentrated burst of sourness with a hint of sweetness, which is excellent for adding complexity to your sweeter BBQ sauces. The resulting sauce will be perfect for basting or marinating chicken and pork.

If you have an orange handy, fresh orange juice works wonders in rounding out the spices in a robust BBQ sauce, adding a mellow complexity that's especially delightful with steak and beef. Think orange beef, and why this classic dish works. Finally, the gentle sweetness of tangerines can complement the smoky undertones of an intense hickory-flavored sauce, smoothing and balancing out the taste with a subtle whisper of sweet citrus. This would be a perfect sauce for shrimp and ribs.

Each citrus fruit's distinctive character promises to elevate your store-bought BBQ sauce from a simple condiment to a star ingredient that enlivens every meal. We recommend you experiment at home. Don't hesitate to mix and match these citrus notes or add other fruits, like pineapples and mangos, into the mix to find a personalized flavor that suits your palate. You might discover that combining different fruits yields your ideal BBQ sauce masterpiece.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.