Do you know that 70% of Americans have a smoker or grill at home? That shouldn’t be surprising because we all know how much we love bbq meat. In summers and even some cold afternoons, preparing, smoking, and then enjoying warm bbq meat is a great way to socialize with friends.
That said, many of us often find it hard to choose the best sauce with our meat dishes. Perfect meat with a not-so-perfect barbecue sauce can easily ruin your experience and dream of celebrating the goodness of smoked meat with your loved ones.
So, if you decide to include pulled pork or beef brisket on the menu, you need to have the right barbecue sauce to enhance the flavors of the meat. But with so many different barbecue sauces available, you might find it hard to choose the perfect one.
To help you out, in this article, we have covered different types of bbq sauce available. Furthermore, we have also included the meats that will go along with them. Take a look!
Table of Contents
The 12 Different Types of Barbecue Sauce
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4 Traditional Barbecue Sauce Flavors
Each barbecue sauce comes with a certain flavor that grabs all the attention. And that is why you will find every bbq sauce different from the other. So, depending on your preference and likings, here are some traditional flavors that you can decide on before selecting a barbecue sauce:
If you have a sweet tooth, you would love a sweet barbecue sauce. Mostly containing brown sugar, this sauce often tastes amazing with pulled pork or even beef at times.
The quantity of brown sugar helps decide the level of sweetness in the sauce. But if you are a health freak, you can always go for alternative sweet barbecue sauces with maple syrup and honey as the primary ingredients.
A reasonable salty sauce goes well with every type of meat. For instance, you can enjoy pork or fish with a salty version of bbq sauce. A Worcestershire sauce has a high salt content and can be used in your tomato sauce bases to add to the required touch.
Tangy sauces often contain apple cider vinegar, mustard sauce, and even lemon juice. Moreover, these vinegar based sauces taste great with pork ribs and beef dishes.
A spicy barbecue sauce also tastes amazing with different varieties of meat. Such sauces usually have chili powder, red pepper flakes, a vinegar sauce or tomato sauce base, and cayenne pepper, making them perfectly spicy for your taste buds.
Interestingly, there are 12 different barbecue sauces available for you. Each regional sauce is different from the rest, and that’s what makes them unique.
So, if you have come across Memphis style barbecue sauce or the Alabama white sauce in a store but have failed to pick one, we will help you know which sauce contains what and how they taste like. With this information, you can easily make a decision and serve the ideal sauce with your meat on your next barbecue lunch plan.
12 Types of Barbecue Sauce
Here’s the list for you:
Alabama sauce is unique because it is a mayonnaise-based sauce. Created in 1925, this bbq sauce goes amazing with smoked chicken. Besides, you can also use this sauce in your coleslaw or as a nice dipping sauce.
The most interesting thing about mayonnaise-based sauces is that they are both sweet and tangy. You can also use the Alabama sauce to marinate your meat and make it extremely tender.
2) Eastern North Carolina
Do you know that people in North Carolina love whole hog barbecue? And that’s why the traditional Carolina barbecue sauce is quite basic.
It contains black pepper, apple cider vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes. This sauce is quite thin in consistency, and the astringent flavor perfectly balances the fat meat.
You can enjoy the East North Carolina sauce with pork shoulder but we think it also tastes amazing with chicken. In addition, this sauce is quite a perfect ingredient to marinate Carolina style pulled pork.
3) West North Carolina
Some people do not like vinegar sauces, and we completely understand your preference. So, instead of Eastern North Carolina sauce, you can go for West North Carolina sauce. The latter is the Piedmont version of the Carolina bbq sauce, and unlike the former, it has brown sugar and ketchup to reduce the effect of vinegar.
Moreover, the West North Carolina Sauce is thicker than its eastern version. But you can still use the sweet sauce while creating a well-smoked pulled pork.
4) South Carolina
This mustard-based bbq sauce has a low-key fan club of its own. It is acidic, fiery, and is usually made of yellow mustard. The South Carolina sauce also contains Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and cider vinegar to add the perfect hints of spicy and sour flavors.
You can use the Carolina mustard sauce to marinate pork and chicken. This sauce adds so much flavor that you won’t stop licking your fingers even after completely consuming the meat.
So, what kind of barbecue sauce do people in Florida like? The traditional sauce in this area is a mix of Caribbean spices, vinegar, and Cuban citrus.
There are also many unique tropical elements in this barbecue sauce. The best way to use this sauce is to utilize it in your fish or chicken marination.
Interestingly, Baltimore style bbq sauce is quite similar to a horseradish sauce. It contains chili powder and a few other spices to increase its spice levels.
7) Kansas City
The Kansas City bbq sauce is one of the most traditional and basic sauces you can ever get your hands on. This is a tomato based sauce with a tomato paste and a dozen of other ingredients. Moreover, the sauce contains molasses or brown sugar to add an element of sweetness.
What’s more, this sauce goes with every type of meat, but we recommend you try it with pork or beef ribs. It also goes well as dips for sandwiches or french fries.
8) St Louis
Interestingly, both Kansas City and St Louis sauces are quite the same. But the latter is much thinner because it has lots of cider vinegar to tame down the sweet flavor.
The St Louis style barbecue sauce has a tangy and sweet flavor. In addition, it is also spicy, so this sauce is a great option for people looking for all these flavors.
The Oklahoma barbecue sauce is a perfect combination of Kansas City and Texas style sauce. But as compared to the latter two, the Oklahoma sauce is quite heavy.
It contains ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and a combination of sour and sweet flavors. You can use this sauce while enjoying your beef brisket.
If you have ever tasted barbecue in Texas, you would know that beef is the king. And interestingly, instead of using the sauce as a dip, it is utilized to marinate the meat.
The traditional Texas style bbq sauce has a thin consistency. This is because it contains meat drippings and a combination of ingredients such as hot sauce, garlic powder, chili powder, and smoky cumin.
Memphis style bbq sauce is more like a dry rub that provides the right kinds of flavor to your meat. According to most people, the Memphis style bbq sauce is much sweeter than the infamous St Louis sauce but is thinner than the delicious Kansas City sauce.
Last but not least, the Nashville bbq sauce is quite popular all over the USA. So, what does this sauce taste like?
Nashville has many regional barbecue sauces, but all of them have a nice smoky flavor. You will easily find tangy sauces and will also come across sweet ones.
Which Sauce Should You Go For?
As mentioned above, your meat type will help you select the right sauce. So, for instance, if you plan to cook pulled pork, you can give it a Kansas City finishing. Similarly, if you want to smoke chicken, the tangy and sweet Carolina blend will make an ideal choice.
If you are a rib lover, you can try several barbecue sauces to make your taste buds dance with joy. Any sauce that contains a high level of sweetness goes well with ribs. In this case, you can pair the ribs with Memphis or Kansas City sauce.
On the other hand, a beef dish would taste amazing with thin and tangy vinegar sauce.
Anyone who loves burgers can enhance the flavor with North Carolina sauce that contains Worcestershire sauce and ketchup for an awesome kick.
You can easily find all these sauces in stores. In addition, some renowned brands sell thicker sauce versions so that you can use them with all types of meat. You can also find here how to thicken your BBQ sauce.
We hope that this article has helped you understand the different types of bbq sauces available for you. So, if you prefer a tomato paste sauce or vinegar based sauces, there’s nothing that can stop you from getting a taste of these creations. From Kansas City to Texas style sauce, there is a product for everyone who loves to have a perfect barbecue meal.
That said, there are no fixed rules on which sauce goes with which meat. Therefore, it is always a great idea to experiment with the bbq sauces and create unique flavors and condiments to bring variety to your bbq lunch table.