How Rye Whiskey Can Majorly Upgrade Your BBQ Game

Making whiskey and barbecuing meat are two staples of American food culture that have often intertwined. For instance, some of the 30 best rye whiskeys come from parts of the U.S. that are also famous for BBQ. Fortunately, you don't have to travel to the Carolinas or Texas to experience a convergence of barbecue and rye whiskey, though. It's something you can actually explore for yourself.

According to Cocktail Hammer, a rye whiskey is a whiskey distilled from at least 51% rye grains, as mandated by U.S. law. That differentiates it from bourbon, which uses at least 51% corn in its mash. Cocktail Hammer says the mash composition makes rye bolder and zestier in comparison to whiskey made from other grains. In turn, that can introduce a bold flavor element to things like barbecue rubs and sauces.

Some distilleries have already capitalized on that pairing, selling sauces infused with their ryes in bottles. If you'd rather see what BBQ and rye concoctions you can come up with yourself, though, there are some resources to guide you.

For stellar BBQ, try some rye

One of the easiest ways to add the kick of rye to your flame-grilled meats is to infuse rye whiskey into your homemade sauce. Barbecues Galore explains that the trick to that is starting your sauce off with rye in a saucepan over high heat. As soon as the rye starts to steam, it's time to add your other ingredients. Self-Proclaimed Foodie suggests cooking some ingredients like garlic and onions in some of your rye before adding them in to deliver even more of the whiskey's boldness to your sauce.

Rye-infused sauces can make a great flavor enhancement for everything from brisket to tilapia. Even your desserts and sides could benefit from a little whiskey, though. CD Kitchen beans lays out how you can elevate your baked beans with whiskey and Thrillist breaks down how to work the spirit into an apple crisp.

There are some perfect pairings if you also want to enjoy what's left of your rye supply after you complete your dishes. Whistlepig, maker of the best crowd-sourced rye whiskey, recommends a grilled bacon-wrapped hot dog and a BBQ brisket hot dog as pairings for its latest rye whiskey. WhistlePig SmokeStock Whiskey fuses barbecue and distilling, using Traeger Grills' all-natural Apple BBQ wood. 

Using whiskey in balance with other ingredients, barbecue infused with rye can be to die for.