BBQ sauce is the crowning finish to any grilled or smoked meat. There are strong lines of division throughout the country as to sauce preferences.
The overall winner in popularity is a thick, sweet ketchup and sugar-based sauce – often referred to as a Kansas City-style sauce. You see them in the stores in mass quantities. However, there are many other flavors from different areas of the country to sample.
Alabama is famous for its white BBQ sauce, originally gaining fame from the Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q restaurant in Decatur. This mayonnaise-based sauce baptizes smoked chicken. It is tangy and rich and gives a delicious finish.
In the Carolinas, there is a mixture of three or four sauces, depending on the geography. To the north, you have more tangy vinegar sauce. To the south, you have mustard-based sauces. And there are pockets of North Carolina that enjoy tomato-based sauces. They all have their virtues. The vinegar sauces cut through the rich, fatty pulled pork from shoulders and hogs. The mustard sauces add tangy sweetness to pork, as well.
Then you have the dips or mops, which are thin flavorful liquids used to moisten the meat periodically during cooking. Kentucky uses a complex mutton dip that varies from spicy vinegar to sweet. In the Piedmont area of the Carolinas, you have a thin vinegary sauce that soaks into the meat.
Tennessee is abundant with many tomato- and ketchup-based sauces, but there are pockets where thin vinegar sauces can be found. Whiskey is a popular additive to many sauces in this state.
In Texas, beef is king and sauce is used sparingly. Mops are sometimes used for meats cooked in large open pits and can be comprised of Worcestershire, steak sauce and beefy stocks.
No matter what your favorite sauce is, enjoying new recipes and flavor profiles is always fun and absolutely delicious.
- 4 cups ketchup
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups apple juice
- 1/2 cup yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
- 2 tablespoons granulated onion
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon butcher grind black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (or more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Combine all ingredients into a saucepan and whisk.
- Bring the sauce to a rapid boil for five minutes.
- Cool for 10 minutes, then serve on grilled/smoked meats.