Apple Cider Vinegar Substitute for Ribs and BBQ Sauce (Common Alternatives)

ribs barbeque

Every year, millions of Americans fire up their grills for a summer cookout. Chances are, the barbecue sauce they reach for is made with apple cider vinegar. That’s because this type of vinegar is inexpensive and has a high acidity, which makes it perfect for balancing the sweetness of tomatoes in barbecue sauce. 

Apple cider vinegar also has a mellow flavor that doesn’t overpower other ingredients. Apple cider vinegar has a unique flavor that adds a zesty kick to any dish, and it’s also a great way to add acidity to a sauce.

Apple cider vinegar is a popular ingredient in many recipes, but it can be hard to find a good substitute. This article will provide some options for substitutes that can be used in place of apple cider vinegar. 

Why Apple Cider Vinegar is Perfect for Marinating Ribs

When it comes to vinegar, apple cider vinegar is the best type to use for preparing meat. Whether you’re looking to make your meat juicier or mellow out its flavor, apple cider vinegar is the way to go.

Make sure to add apple cider vinegar early on in the process when preparing meat.  This will give the vinegar enough time to work its magic and infuse your meat with flavor.

For the dosage, just add 1-2 tablespoons per pound of meat. You can also soak your meat in a mixture of 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts water for 30 minutes before cooking. This will make the meat more tender and give it a unique, tangy flavor that will make the meat taste better.

If you’re looking for an extra boost of flavor, try adding a bit of garlic or onion to your apple cider vinegar before adding it to your meat. Throw in some sage, rosemary, and chopped garlic, and you’ll have an excellent marinade. Let the mixture sit on your meat for at least 30 minutes before cooking to give the vinegar time to work its magic. 

These ingredients will complement the natural flavors of the vinegar and create a dish that’s truly delicious.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Making BBQ Sauce

Apple cider vinegar is a great addition to any BBQ sauce. It provides a tangy flavor that can really make your sauce stand out. 

The vinegar can also help balance out the sweetness of the other ingredients in the sauce. Here are a few tips for using apple cider vinegar in your BBQ sauce:

  • Add it to the sauce during the cooking process, so that the flavors have time to meld together.
  • Too much apple cider vinegar can make the sauce too sour, so start with a small amount and add more to taste.
  • If you want a sweeter BBQ sauce, add a bit of brown sugar or honey along with the apple cider vinegar. 

So, next time you’re making BBQ sauce, be sure to add some apple cider vinegar to the mix!

Apple Cider Vinegar Substitute for Ribs and BBQ Sauce

When it comes to making a BBQ sauce, there are a few key ingredients that you just can’t do without. The apple cider vinegar is one of those ingredients. However, if you don’t have any apple cider vinegar on hand, don’t worry! There are a few alternatives that are just as effective.

Lemon or Lime Juice

One great substitute for apple cider vinegar is lemon or lime juice. Both of these juices have a similar tart and acidic flavor that will work well in a BBQ sauce. 

In addition to BBQ sauce, this vinegar substitute is ideal for cooking ribs, pulled pork, and other thick sauces. You may use lime or lemon juice; however, lemon juice will give your food a bit more sweetness. 

Both lemon and lime juice are not difficult to get; it can be found at any grocery store or even convenience store nearby. While preparing your food, you can sprinkle some brown sugar on top to give it extra sweetness. 

To substitute apple cider vinegar with lemon or lime juice, just replace one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with one tablespoon of lemon or lime juice. Or just add the juice to your sauce until it has the desired flavor.

Rice Vinegar

You can also use rice vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar. It is sweet and sour, which is fantastic when you need to swap out apple cider vinegar in your barbecue sauce. 

Rice vinegar is usually used in Asian cooking, but it also tastes great with pulled pork, ribs, and even coleslaw. You may use a one to one ratio or just add the same quantity of rice wine vinegar to your recipe as you would apple cider vinegar, to replace your existing supply. 

Try using rice vinegar that you’ve bought at your neighborhood grocer or an organic market if you prefer to substitute it for apple cider vinegar. If you want to give your meal a little more sweetness, you may add a little more sugar, but wait to do so because this vinegar can be rather sweet.

Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar is another option on our list of the top alternatives to apple cider vinegar. This substitute is ideal to tenderize ribs and to make tasty BBQ sauce. Red wine vinegar has some of the delicious flavor of grapes since it is made by fermenting red wine into acetic acid. 

Any dark sauce, such as barbecue sauce, or foods like stews, brisket, pulled pork, or ribs, can be made with red wine vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar. 

Making barbecue sauce with red wine vinegar is a great way to add flavor to your sauce. It is easy to make and can be used on any type of meat. Here is a recipe for making your own red wine vinegar barbecue sauce:

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup of ketchup, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Stir thoroughly, then simmer for ten minutes.

This sauce is great on chicken, ribs, or even burgers. Give it a try the next time you fire up the grill!

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a fantastic substitute for apple cider vinegar in BBQ sauce. Keep in mind that white vinegar is not the optimal substitution for adding acidity to your dish, but it does work. 

White vinegar can also be used in place of apple cider vinegar for creating salad dressings, pickles, and sweet-and-sour sauces. 

For a slightly more fruity flavor, you might need to add a small amount of lemon juice. Use the same quantity of white vinegar in place of apple cider vinegar, but taste as you go and add more lemon juice if necessary. 

White vinegar is also available at every grocery or convenience shop.

Champagne Vinegar 

Another excellent alternative to apple cider vinegar in BBQ sauce is champagne vinegar. As the name suggests, this vinegar is made when champagne is turned into acetic acid. 

Its flavor is acidic and a little bit sour, but it also has a touch of sweetness to it. Also, champagne vinegar is great for making sauces, salads, marinades, and even some soups and broths. Simply use a one-to-one ratio when substituting champagne vinegar for apple cider vinegar; however, you might also need to add a little sweetness.

Sherry Vinegar

On our list of the best alternatives to apple cider vinegar, we also have sherry vinegar. Sherry vinegar is very different from other kinds of vinegar because it is made by letting the fortified wine sherry ferment. 

It has a tangy flavor, as well as sweet and nutty undertones. When making sauces and marinades, such as sweet and sour sauce or salad dressings, sherry vinegar can be used in place of apple cider vinegar. When substituting it for apple cider vinegar in sauces and other recipes, just use a 1:1 ratio. 

Though it might be hard to find, your neighborhood grocery shop might have it. Use sherry vinegar as a replacement anytime you think the flavors will blend well because it’s also wonderful for giving your dish body and color.


Apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular types of vinegar, and it’s no surprise that it’s also one of the most common types of vinegar used in barbecue sauce and to marinate the ribs. 

There are some apple cider substitutest that can still be used. Lemon or Lime Juice are the popular ones due to the availabilit and the taste is not stretched away from apple cider vinegar. 

We can also use Champagne vinegar, Red Wine, and Sherry Vinegar as alternatives. You may choose based on your preferences. They are still working well to tenderrize your ribs’ meat and mix to your bbq sauce.

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