When it comes to grilling, marinating your meat is a popular technique used to enhance flavor and tenderness. One common marinade option that many people turn to is BBQ sauce.

But the question remains: should you marinate in BBQ sauce? Let’s explore the pros and cons.

The Pros of Marinating in BBQ Sauce

Enhanced Flavor:

Marinating in BBQ sauce can infuse your meat with a delicious smoky and tangy flavor. The combination of spices, vinegar, and other ingredients in the sauce can create a mouthwatering taste that many people enjoy.


BBQ sauce often contains acidic components like vinegar or citrus juice, which can help break down proteins in the meat and make it more tender. This can be especially beneficial for tougher cuts of meat.


When you marinate your meat in BBQ sauce and then grill it, the sugars present in the sauce can caramelize on the surface of the meat, creating a beautiful crust. This caramelization not only adds flavor but also enhances visual appeal.

The Cons of Marinating in BBQ Sauce

Potential Burning:

Because of its sugar content, BBQ sauce has a tendency to burn quickly when exposed to high heat. This can lead to charred or blackened spots on your meat if you’re not careful during grilling.

Masking Natural Flavors:

If you’re using a flavorful marinade like BBQ sauce, it may overpower or mask the natural taste of the meat itself. This could be a disadvantage if you’re looking to appreciate the natural flavors of high-quality cuts.

Long Marinating Time:

While marinating in BBQ sauce can be delicious, it often requires a longer marinating time compared to other marinades. The flavors need time to penetrate the meat fully, so if you’re short on time, this might not be the best option.

Tips for Marinating in BBQ Sauce

Proper Application:

When marinating in BBQ sauce, it’s important to apply the sauce evenly and thoroughly. You can use a brush or your hands to ensure every part of the meat is coated. This will help prevent uneven flavor distribution.

Controlled Grilling:

To avoid burning the BBQ sauce, it’s essential to grill your marinated meat over indirect heat. This means placing it away from direct flames or using a two-zone grilling setup with an area of indirect heat.

Consider Pre-Marination:

If you’re concerned about burning or overpowering flavors, you can try pre-marinating your meat in a simple brine or olive oil-based marinade before adding BBQ sauce just before grilling. This way, you get the benefits of tenderizing while minimizing potential drawbacks.

In Conclusion

In the end, whether you should marinate in BBQ sauce depends on personal preference and the specific circumstances. It offers enhanced flavor and tenderness but comes with the risk of burning and potentially overpowering natural flavors.

By following proper application techniques and controlling your grilling process, you can achieve delicious results. Consider experimenting with different marinades to find what works best for you and enjoy the flavorful journey of grilling!