How To Thicken Sauce: Glop Be Gone

by Pat
How to Thicken Sauce

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Runny sauces has plagued a many of BBQs throughout history. If you regularly end up with a runny sauce that sticks to nothing, don’t worry, there is a solution to thicken sauce! With these tips, you’ll be able to thicken your sauce while you cook it. These methods are perfect if you’re in a hurry.

Issue With Runny Sauce

There is noting more heartbreaking than saucing a piece of perfectly prepared smoked meat, only to have the sauce slide right off. It’s even worse when your dish turns out gloppy because you tried to thicken the sauce too much. But don’t worry, I am here to help avoid these disasters with tips on how to thicken your sauce while you cook it.

Thicken Sauce - Thin Wing Sauce

About Sauce

Before we can understand how to fix a runny sauce, you first need to understand what sauce is. A sauce is a thickened liquid that is used to add flavor or moisten food. It can be made from a variety of different ingredients, but most commonly it is made with either stocks or cream.

How to Make Your Sauce Stick and Avoid Runny Sauce

The tips below will give advice on how to thicken sauce and fix your runny sauce problem in no time!

Add A Roux

A roux is a combination of flour and fat that is used to thicken sauce. To make a roux, simply combine equal parts flour and butter. Then, add the roux to your sauce and cook until it reaches the desired consistency.

Slow Down With Fat

Buffalo sauce, for example, is notorious for being runny. To thicken buffalo sauce, cook it on low heat until the fat has a chance to render out. Once the fat has rendered, your sauce will be much thicker.

Smooth BBQ Sauce

If you are wondering which fat to add, look no further than butter! Butter is both long and tangy, and it is also solid at room temperature (unlike most other fats). In time, as the chicken and sauce cool, the sauce thickens and coats the chicken’s skin.

Using a store bought sauce as your base, see How to Improve Store Bought BBQ Sauce

When it comes to pan sauces, butter or cream (which has a high fat content) is the secret ingredient that helps them adhere to your steak or chop. Add a pat of butter, a dash of heavy cream, or a dollop of sour cream the next time you encounter a runny pan sauce to slow down its flow rate and give it some body.

Reduce The Liquids to Thicken Sauce

If you find that your sauce is still too thin after following the tips above, you can always reduce the liquids. This will help to concentrate the flavors and thicken the sauce at the same time. Simply simmer the sauce on low heat until it reaches the desired consistency.

Cue Up the Corn Startch

In addition to swelling and gelation, corn starch is an excellent thickener. Starch granules weaken and absorb liquid when exposed to hot water. As the granules expand, the ordered structures of the starch molecules are disrupted, further weakening the granules. “Amorphous networks of starch and water mixed” are the results, and they slow the sauce down and help it coat the meat.

More cooking tips, How to Make Beef Jerky in a Smoker

Adding cornstarch directly to your sauce will cause it to clump, so mix it with two parts water and one part starch first. Whisk the slurry into your spicy sauce, remembering that the sauce will thicken as it cools. Pour a small amount onto a cool dish to see how much it thickens without letting the sauce cool completely in the pot. Continue until you have a sauce that is the perfect consistency.

It’s possible to substitute flour for cornstarch and make beurre manie, which means “flour butter paste” or “raw roux in French.” Take equal parts flour and butter and crush them together into a little paste nugget to produce this magical thickening ball. You may easily thicken a stew or soup by breaking off a little piece and dropping it into a pot of simmering liquid. Watch as the magic happens as you mix and stir.

Veggies to the Rescue

An easy way to block water is to block it. Adding some pureed vegetables to your sauce will do just that, and they’ll also lend some extra flavor.

Looking to try something new? Ultimate Bacon Jerky Recipe for Your Smoker

Use cooked veggies for a milder flavor or raw veggies for more of a punch. Just remember to strain your sauce before serving to remove any chunks or bits.

Sweeten It Up

Sugar is a great thickener, and it also has the added benefit of sweetening your sauce. Simply add a small amount of sugar to your sauce and cook until it reaches the desired consistency.

Timing Is Everything

Many sauce-coated meat recipes instruct you to apply the sauce after the meat has been cooked on the grill or in the oven for a period of time. Again, water is the key.

Moisture is released when a piece of meat is cooked. To avoid the dreaded sauce slide-off, apply thick and reduced glazes and sauces at the end, when the exterior section of your item appears dry and/or crisp.

Read Next, Converting Propane to Natural Gas Grill

Wrapping Up Tips to Thicken Sauce

Now that you know how to thicken sauce, you can make all of your favorite sauces without worry. Just remember to start with less liquid, cook slowly, and add a thickener if needed. With these tips, you’ll be able to make any sauce you desire!

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