The world of BBQ sauce is so vast that it can be absolutely dizzying. The basics are this: it can be used for marinating, basting, topping, dipping, as a condiment, and more. Truly versatile and truly delicious.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind on this topic. First, there are different styles of BBQ sauce. Second, there are different flavors within each of those styles. Third, everyone has their own opinion on them.
Taste a lot, make a lot, and form your own. It’s a fun culinary adventure. And keep in mind, while these typically pair well with smoked meats, they go just as well with those that are baked, grilled, roasted, and fried.
In terms of the styles, these are typically categorized by region, but I like to think of them in terms of ingredients. With the world of ‘cue very much expanding, the hard and fast regional rules of old do not always hold true.
The BBQ sauce that probably comes to mind first is the ketchup-based sauce. This style is thicker and usually sweet in terms of the flavor profile. Within that people throw in spice, some, and a whole lot more giving you endless variations.
Next up, is the vinegar-based variety. These are usually thinner in texture and have a nice bit of tang to them as well as some sweetness. White vinegar or apple cider vinegar are usually the base as well as some brown sugar and pepper for balance.
Last but not least is the mustard-based group. These are generally in the middle in terms of texture and fall into the sweet and tart flavor realm. Some of these are similar to a honey barbecue sauce, but many of them have a whole host of other ingredients like chile peppers, garlic, and sometimes hot sauce.
The store-bought BBQ sauces will often include liquid smoke which will give them that just off the barbecue flavor.
This is a loaded question. Typically, it will be a tomato or ketchup base, a vinegar base, or a mustard-based sauce. From there, it is a choose your own adventure type thing. Most will include some sweetness, some tang, and often a bit of heat.
What does BBQ sauce go well with?
BBQ sauce is amazing because it goes with lots of things. Aside from the obvious choices (beef, pork, chicken, fish etc.,), they are great in everything from quesadillas, and sandwiches to beans and nachos.
How do you make BBQ sauce from scratch?
Easily! There are tons of recipes online (ahem, here) and they are often a dump and stir situation or simply made in a single pot on the stove.