Barbecue sauce is something that we at Bounty Hunter are quite familiar with – our restaurant boasts some of the tastiest barbecue in Northern California and has been featured on shows like Check, Please! and Travel Channel’s Food Paradise. And while pairing a cut of barbecued meat is pretty simple in and of itself, the wide array of flavors and different varieties of barbecue sauce that could very well be served up along side it can make for a bit of a pairing puzzle. But we’ve got some tips to help break it down for you.
In general, fruitier wines like a Pinot Noir pairs well with pork, while peppery wines like Chianti or Cabernet pair better with beef. Layering a barbecue sauce into the mix complicates things a little, but if you break down the basic flavors of common barbecue sauces, it gets simpler.
Sweet Sauces – Sweet sauces are full of big flavor combinations, so don’t be afraid to go for a wine with some personality. Try an intense Zinfandel.
Vinegary Sauces – these options tend to be acidic, so choosing a wine higher in acidity that will stand up to the strong flavors is wise. Barbera and Sangiovese stand up well.
Mustard Sauces – Acid again is essential here, and some richness is a great pair to the tangy flavors. Cotes du Rhone or Syrah is a great choice.
Spicy Sauces – A fruit forward wine will more easily cut through any spice, so a full flavored Beaujolais is a safe bet. A Lambrusco also has a slight sweetness that makes for an interesting complement.
Smoky Sauces/Rubs – These treatments fall in line more closely with a straightforward beef pairing. Smoky, earthy, and complex wines are a great choice. Think a big Cabernet Sauvignon or a Rioja.
And a general tip to remember: Albarino, Sparkling Rosé and Pinot Noir are some of the most food-friendly and versatile wine varietals – They’re always great to have on hand at a barbecue. Here are some of our favorites:
Albarino: 2014 Garzón Albarino Uruguay