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How to Intensify Flavor in Sauce?

Discussion in 'Sauces, Rubs & Marinades' started by Preacher Man, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. I've been working on a BBQ sauce lately using a beer from a local brewery I frequent. I like where I'm headed, but one thing I'm trying to do is really intensify the flavor of this beer but also keep the sauce at the current thickness.

    My thought is to just add more beer and reduce it down longer. But does anyone else have any suggestions on how to intensify this one flavor while keeping all the other flavors right where they are?

  2. hoity toit

    hoity toit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    you got it..keep adding and reducing.

    jokensmoken likes this.
  3. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think you are on the right track.
    What about adding some dregs from the brewery?

    My friends used to boil Brats in beer. I thought it was a waste of good beer.... :emoji_upside_down::emoji_rolling_eyes:

    I mix my rub with some Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce, and add a big glob of Sage honey. Tasty, Tasty, Tasty!
    I mix Beer with it in my tummy. :emoji_wink:
  4. Scott Eisenbraun

    Scott Eisenbraun Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Make the beer your first ingredient, double the usual amount and reduce by half. Add the rest of the ingredients as usual. Should end up with the same consistency.
    indaswamp and chef jimmyj like this.
  5. mike243

    mike243 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Try making the sauce without the beer then after reducing it past the thickness you want then add it back in
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This the way it's done by Pro Chefs. Beer, Wine, anything containing water. Way Faster to reduce a cup or two of Beer than a Quart of BBQ Sauce with sugar that could burn. Good job Scott...JJ
    indaswamp and Scott Eisenbraun like this.
  7. Scott Eisenbraun

    Scott Eisenbraun Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Chef!
    chef jimmyj likes this.
  8. Bigtank

    Bigtank Smoke Blower

  9. Thanks everyone. I'm going to try reducing it first like @Scott Eisenbraun and @chef jimmyj recommend and adding that to everything else. My concern in reducing beer is that it will bring out more bitterness rather than the overall flavor, but I'll see how the sugar and vinegar and other flavors counteract with that.
  10. Bigtank

    Bigtank Smoke Blower

    Let us know how it turns out.
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Reducing any flavored liquid will intensify some flavor compounds and cook away others. Run a test batch and see what you get...JJ
  12. Ran a batch today and divided it up into 4 test bowls. Each bowl started with this reduction added to my other ingredients.

    Bowl 1: Original
    Bowl 2: Halved my apple cider vinegar
    Bowl 3: Same as bowl 1 with dijon mustard
    Bowl 4: Same as bowl 2 with dijon mustard

    I was very pleased with the flavor brought out by the reduction! I'm thinking I might add a few more ounces and reduce more to get a touch more flavor. All in all, my favorite was bowl 4.
  13. Scott Eisenbraun

    Scott Eisenbraun Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Maybe we'll see Preacher Man BBQ Sauce on the store shelves pretty soon.
    Preacher Man likes this.
  14. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Master of the Pit

    If you make beer, or know someone who does, try to figure out what ingredient in the beer is providing the flavor you want more of, and then add that: barley, hops, yeast, etc.

    Obviously the raw ingredients may taste different without the fermentation, but then again, they may be able to pump up the specific taste you are looking for. It is certainly true that when you look on ingredients labels you will often find "yeast extract" and other ingredients that are found in some beers.

    Another possibility, although one that has fallen out of favor, is to add a flavor enhancer. MSG has long been used to "kick it up a notch" and provide more intensity to flavors that are already there.

    The other suggestions are probably going to produce better results, but I thought I'd give you a few ideas that hadn't been brought up yet.
    indaswamp and Preacher Man like this.
  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Unless you know for a fact that you are MSG sensitive, there in no good reason not to add it. None of my family have problems with MSG so I add it most foods I make. It sits on the counter next to the salt & pepper...JJ
    forktender and indaswamp like this.
  16. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Master of the Pit

    Totally agree. MSG got a bad rap back in the 1970s thanks to "food police" organizations such as the awful Center for Science in the Public Interest. They are the ones that said we'd all die from eating popcorn at movie theaters because they used coconut oil. Fast forward a few decades and now coconut oil is supposed to be really good for you.

    It's just like this wonderful clip from Woody Allen's "Sleeper:"

    Hawging It and chef jimmyj like this.
  17. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Have you considered using powdered malt in place of some of the other sugar(s)?
    Plinsc likes this.
  18. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I use fish sauce. It is the same thing but doesn't affect people who are msg sensitive. A little goes a long way. One bottle will last a heck of a long time. I use it in anything I want to increase flavor in.
    chef jimmyj likes this.
  19. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yep! I love to use Golden Boy Fish Sauce, or add a couple mashed Anchovy Fillets to sauteed items, especially those that start with, " Saute the Garlic in EVOO until fragrant. "
    Maggi Seasoning adds a great UMAMI punch taught to me by an Old German Lady Chef and Mentor...I would taste and say, " something missing here..." Chef Anne's response, " Needs a little MAGGI..." Anne said, " In Germany, it is very common to have Salt, Pepper and a bottle of Maggi on the home and restaurant table. " Maggi is Strong Stuff and intense. A couple of drops go a long way on the plate and a few Dashes enhances a whole Pot of Soup or Chili.
    Our Italian friends knew that a grating of Parmaggiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano adds a ton of Umami to any dish, but Seafood. Frankly, Although I would get beaten by my Sicilian Uncle, I strongly feel Parm Reggiano on Linguine and Clams or Scampi is DELICIOUS!!!
    A great Thai Sauce similar to Maggi is Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce. It's a Fermented Soy Based sauce. Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce uses two flavor enhancers but no MSG. The flavor enhancers, seen on labels as I & G, are, disodium guanylate "produced from dried fish or dried seaweed" and used in conjunction with disodium-inosinate, from bacterial fermentation of sugars, create the taste of umami. Add I & G with MSG and the combined action is many times the flavor enhancement of either alone.
    I have not tried it but BRAGG'S Liquid Amigos is supposed to work magic as well...JJ
  20. zwiller

    zwiller Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Long time homebrewer. Swear I posted but if the flavors you like in that beer are the dark and malty you definitely want dark malt extract like John and Blue were talking. Grab a 1lb bag of dried for like $5. I can totally see this working well in sauce.
    Plinsc likes this.