5 Classic Regional BBQ Sauces

traditional bbq sauce recipes

 

Traditional BBQ Sauce RecipesIn BBQ and grilling, sauces are used to flavor, marinade, glaze, and as a condiment or topping for seared and smoked meats, especially ribs and chicken.

History places the origin of BBQ sauce to the first American colonies of the 17th century and can be found in recipes and cookbooks (both English and French) over the following two centuries.

Much like chili in Texas, these sauces were less about gourmet ambitions, and  more about masking the often off-putting odors and flavors of “aged” meat in a pre-refrigeration society.

The origins of these sauces isn’t particularly complicated, take the traditional tastes and flavors of the predominate immigrant population, add in the most similar ingredients that could be found locally, and mix with some good old American ingenuity, and you have the roots of a tradition that has only grown stronger and more popular over the last two centuries.

South Carolina mustard sauce, for example, can be traced to that region’s German settlers of the early 18th century

Ingredients vary widely even within states and counties of the American South, but most include a base of vinegar, tomato paste, or mayonnaise (or a combination). Liquid smoke, and spices like paprika, mustard and black pepper, and sweeteners such as sugar and molasses typically round of the recipes.

Here are five of my personal favorites…

Eastern Carolina Sauce recipeThis & Tangy Eastern North Carolina BBQ Sauce (my favorite)

  • 1 Gal. cider vinegar                             
  • 1 Cup crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. ground black pepper              
  • ¼ Cup fine sea salt

Combine ingredients, heat to a low simmer, and cook 20-30 minutes, stirring often.

Chill for at least 24 hours (72 is better) before using.

This sauce get’s better with age, which is why I make it a gallon at a time!

Pulled pork bbq sauce recipes

North Carolina Barbecue Sauce

In the Carolinas, the barbeque meat is pork, and the barbeque sauces are matters of hot debate even from one town to the next. Some sauces are thin and vinegary, while some regions add ketchup, or even mustard. This is the recipe I grew up with, and Pop’s recipe is still my go-to for amazing baby-back ribs.

  • 1 qt cider vinegar                                         
  • 12 oz ketchup
  • 2/3 C packed brown sugar                           
  • 2 Tbs salt
  • ¼ C lemon juice                                          
  • 1 Tbs red pepper flakes          
  • 1 Tbs smoked paprika                                 
  • 1 Tbs onion powder
  • 1 tsp each: black pepper, dry mustard          

Bring all ingredients to the boil, and then simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently.

Allow to cool, and serve or bottle.

Traditional Kansas City sauce recipesMemphis-Style Barbecue Sauce

Slightly on the sweeter side, Memphis barbecue sauce has its own distinctive flavor, as well. Though the specific ingredients will vary from cook to cook, Memphis sauce is usually made with tomatoes, vinegar, and any countless combination of spices.

Memphis sauce is poured over pulled pork  or served alongside of dry ribs.

  • 1 Tbs butter                                                 
  • ¼ C finely chopped onion
  • 1 ½ C ketchup                                             
  • ¼ C chili sauce
  • 4 Tbs brown sugar                                       
  • 4 Tbs molasses
  • 2 Tbs yellow mustard                                   
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce                         
  • 1 Tbs liquid hickory smoke
  • ½ tsp garlic powder                                    
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper                          
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • dash cayenne pepper

Bring all ingredients to the boil, and then simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently.

Allow to cool, and serve or bottle.

Texas Brisket sauce recipes

Texas Brisket Sauce

Texas is famous for tender slow-smoked brisket. Sauces are usually thin, spicy, and mixed with intensely flavorful pan drippings.

  • ½ C brisket drippings (defatted)                  
  • ½ C vinegar
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce                         
  • ½ C ketchup
  • ½ tsp hot pepper sauce (Franks)                 
  • 1 lg onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed                            
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • ½ tsp chili powder                                       
  • traditional Texas bbq sauce recipesJuice of one lemon

Combine all ingredients.

Simmer, whisking occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Allow to rest 1-2 hours, and serve warm (on the side) with pencil-thin sliced brisket and sliced white bread.

Note: I like to coat the whole brisket in gold sauce after rubbing with spices, and the drizzle with some warmed sauce just before service.

mustard_sauce

South Carolina Gold Sauce

  • ½ Gal. yellow mustard
  • ½ Gal. cider vinegar
  • 1 Cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. sea salt
  • ¼ Cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. black pepper
  • ¼ Cup Louisiana hot sauce (to taste)

For each of these recipes, combine ingredients, heat to a low simmer, and cook 20-30 minutes, stirring often.

Chill for at least 24 hours (72 is better) before using.

BTW, I have a LOT more BBQ & Grilling recipes, for all types of cooking, over on my outdoor cooking blog, La Caja China Cooking

~Chef Perry 

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