I'm making a Carolina-style BBQ sauce (specifically Piedmont-style), so it's supposed to be a thin and vinegary sauce. The recipe is basically: 2 cups vinegar, 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon each of ketchup and hot sauce, plus some salt and pepper. The instructions call for it to be brought to a boil for a minute, and then it should be refrigerated overnight.

Since the sauce is supposed to be thin, and we're only boiling for a minute, the desired effect cannot be to reduce the liquids. Is there some other sort of chemical reaction that this is supposed to produce? Also, what effect would the overnight rest have on the sauce -- I don't see the flavors mellowing in the bottle, really. I'm wondering if these are just some urban lore bits being passed down that have little actual effect on the end result.

1 Answer 1


I would think that the boil is simply to dissolve the sugar and salt. I am sure you could consume it right away, but there is definitely something to flavors melding with time.

  • Do you think that a (nearly) all-liquid product like this would have any appreciable flavor mellowing? Aug 20, 2016 at 20:23
  • It's also possible that it's for pasteurization to get a longer shelf life.
    – Joe
    Aug 20, 2016 at 23:28
  • @Joe While it's possible, I doubt any recipe would assume pasteurization in one minute. If that were the case, the time would likely be longer.
    – moscafj
    Aug 21, 2016 at 0:31
  • @moscafj : good point. And there might be enough vinegar in there to preserve it.
    – Joe
    Aug 21, 2016 at 0:40

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