Regional Types of BBQ Sauce

Regional Types of BBQ Sauce

Publish Date March 23, 2023 3 Minute Read

Did you know that each region of the country has a unique style of BBQ? Each region’s BBQ sauce varies by the type of ingredients included. BBQ sauce can also vary by the meat it’s typically served with, how the meat is cooked, its cooking temperature, cooking time and more. Here’s a breakdown, region by region, of what makes each BBQ sauce unique.

Kansas City BBQ Sauce

Probably the most familiar to those who generally use BBQ sauce for dipping nuggets or topping chops. This sauce is typically thick and tomato-based, with sweet notes from ingredients like brown sugar and molasses. The meat that’s paired with Kansas City BBQ sauce is often smoked using a blend of hickory and oak wood. The sauce goes well with all meats, but especially with a rack of ribs or crispy burnt ends. Try Kansas City BBQ with traditional sides like baked beans and coleslaw.

Memphis BBQ Sauce

The perfect balance of smoky, sweet and tangy flavors. Even though Memphis BBQ sauce is tomato-based and contains brown sugar like Kansas City BBQ sauce, it also includes mustard and vinegar. Because the BBQ sauce is thin, it makes a great marinade. It can also be mopped or basted on pork shoulders, butts, ribs and fresh pulled-pork sandwiches. Fun fact: There’s a regional rivalry between Kansas City BBQ and Memphis BBQ. We suggest trying them both to see which one takes home the win.

Texas BBQ Sauce

Texas-style BBQ usually centers around beef, a tangy tomato-based sauce and a punch of black pepper. This mouthwatering BBQ sauce is infused with big Texas flavors like chili powder, garlic, hot sauce, cumin and Worcestershire. Its consistency may be thin, but its flavor is bold. Texas-style BBQ is best smoked low and slow using hickory wood. Slather this BBQ sauce on ribs, brisket or sausage.

South Carolina BBQ Sauce

Putting a twist on the standard tomato-based sauces of other regions, South Carolina BBQ sauce features mustard, cider vinegar and brown sugar. Since it’s mustard based, the sauce has a unique yellowish color that gives it the nickname, Carolina gold BBQ sauce. This sauce adds a unique flavor to all grilled dishes, but really shines on a pulled-pork sandwich.

Alabama White BBQ Sauce

Mayonnaise is what gives this BBQ sauce its signature color. It also includes lemon juice, vinegar and black pepper. This zingy favorite goes well with pulled-pork sandwiches and smoked chicken. It can also double as a dressing for coleslaw. Some pitmasters even use locally sourced hickory wood chips to give you an authentic taste of Alabama.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Get creative and whip up your very own BBQ sauce. For a traditional homemade BBQ sauce, you can simply blend brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, water and Worcestershire sauce. Season the sauce with mustard, paprika, salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce, and mix until smooth. Of course, you can add as much or as little of each ingredient as you’d like, ensuring that the BBQ sauce suits your taste. If your sauce turns out runnier than you prefer, you can pour it in a pot on the stove, bring to a boil and cook for about a minute. This will not only thicken your sauce, but it’ll also create more of an intense flavor. Now that you know how to make BBQ sauce, get inspired by checking out some of our favorite BBQ recipes.

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