Whether you prefer a tangy, vinegar-based Carolina sauce or a thicker, sweeter, redder offering, BBQ sauce (or “barbecue sauce” if you’re a person of letters) tastes like summer. Almost every iteration of the condiment is complex and balanced, perfect for marinating, basting and finishing.
It’s also a striking dressing ingredient.
In addition to the (obvious) aliquot of oil, good salad dressings all have a few things in common: high acid level, a a little more sugar than you think you need, and an emulsifier. Store-bought barbecue sauce has all of these things, plus a whole bunch of spices and other flavoring agents, which means you only need two more ingredients to turn it into a summer dressing: Oit and vinegar.
The amount of vinegar your dressing needs will depend on the acidity of your sauce. The aforementioned Carolina sauce, for example, will require less fallout than a Memphis-style sauce. Oregon doesn’t really have a barbecue identity, so I grabbed Sweet Baby Ray’s (my favorite sweet sauce from the grocery store) to make mine. (Spoiler alert: It was surprisingly complex and very, very good.)
For the oil, you want to use something neutral, like grape seeds or a plain vegetable, as the olive can clash. For the acid, use apple cider vinegar. It’s fruity and bright, and complete—but don’t distract from—the flavor profile of your sauce.
To make this dressing, youI will need:
- 1/4 cup neutral oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
Add all to a pot and shake to combine. If your sauce is sour, start with two tablespoons of vinegar and add more if necessary. Taste and adjust with more sauce or vinegar as needed. Your dressing should be tangy – too tangy to eat with a spoon – but pleasantly punchy on a veggie. Once you’ve hit that flavor point, sprinkle it with a big pile of grilled veggies, corn salad, or whatever needs a touch of aggressive summer flavor.