4 Most Popular Styles of BBQ Sauces

By MariJo Kolze

BBQ Sauce Bottles

BBQ Sauces

When you think of BBQ sauces, you normally think of the traditional red tomato based sauce. In the same way that there are different kinds of seasonings and rubs, there are also different kinds of BBQ sauces. BBQ sauces usually contain vinegar, ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise as their four main ingredients. From sweet to tangy to even spicy, these ingredients satisfy all the taste buds. These ingredients make up the most popular BBQ sauces and go so well with a variety options of meals. For the perfect meat, you need the perfect sauce! Let's look at the four most popular BBQ sauces in the world.

1. North Carolina Style

BBQ is taken very seriously in North Carolina to such an extent that they have their own recipes divided between the western and eastern regions. The BBQ sauces in Carolina tend to be thinner and runnier rather than thick and paste-like. Since their main base ingredient consists of vinegar, their sauces are thinner and a bit more tangy.

On the eastern side of Carolina, is that traditional thin vinegar sauce. A primarily vinegar-based sauce is served with red pepper flakes, some salt, and pepper. In comparison to the Western style, this one is spicier and lighter. For those who love a strong tangy flavor on their meat, this sauce is perfect. 

The sauce on the western side of Carolina is a bit sweeter and richer, called Lexington style. They thicken their recipe by adding some ketchup and brown sugar. Adding these ingredients will help to balance out the vinegar's tanginess, and they complement the recipe well. Pork is a popular choice with this sauce since the sauce balances out the fattier pork. For your next meal, try this North Carolina style pork sandwich!

2. South Carolina

If you love mustard, you’ll love this BBQ sauce. Since mustard is its main ingredient, it gives off a tangy, spicy taste, opposed to a sweet taste like tomato-based sauces. It is very simple to make your own homemade South Carolina BBQ sauce since you only need a few ingredients. In addition to yellow mustard, this recipe calls for some vinegar, spices, and brown sugar to balance out some of the tanginess. Many people use this type of BBQ sauce as a finisher for their chicken or pork. This sauce is often used to make juicy pulled pork sandwiches. Make sure to try a South Carolina BBQ recipe if you enjoy tangy flavors and a kick of heat!

3. Kansas City

Kansas City BBQ sauces are among the most popular sauces you probably have at home. Typically, this sauce is in the form of ketchup and has a thick tomato base. Other ingredients include brown sugar and molasses for sweetness, as well as chili powder and spices for an extra zing. The combination of these ingredients results in a sweet, but tangy, flavor. Kansas City BBQ Sauce can be eaten in many different ways, but it is particularly good on beef, pork, and chicken. As a glaze for steak or a sauce for ribs, a tomato-based BBQ sauce like this is excellent. Next time you want to make tasty ribs, try this recipe! You will enjoy this sauce no matter what you use it for!

4. Alabama White

Alabama White BBQ sauces are the perfect side dipping sauce for your meal. White creamy bases aren't what you think of when it comes to BBQ sauces. Mayonnaise is used as a base, along with other ingredients like mustard, vinegar, and other spices. The vinegar and lemon juice in the sauce make it a nice texture, so it's not as thick as it may seem. With these ingredients, you can create a nice creamy dipping or topping for your meat. The majority of people prefer this type of sauce on chicken, like freshly grilled chicken that has just come off the grill or smoker. You can even use this BBQ sauce on a side dish such as coleslaw or potato salad. Check out this nice and flavorful Alabama White sauce chicken recipe!

Choosing The Right BBQ Sauce 

Choosing the right BBQ sauce all depends on what you plan to cook. For instance, if you plan on grilling chicken you might want to use a Carolina sauce to marinate the chicken, or use an Alabama White sauce to dip it in. When it comes to ribs, the classic Kansas City will give you the perfect barbecue flavor that is sweet and tangy at the same time. In addition, if you are planning to grill burgers with your friends and family, choose a western North Carolina sauce to put between the buns. With the vinegar base, the ketchup and the vinegar will come together nicely. There are of course the classic pulled pork sandwiches. Rub the South Carolina sauce between the buns and toppings to give the sandwich a sweet flavor but powerful taste. All of these BBQ sauces are delicious and will give your food a great flavor. Try them all, and you may even discover your favorite!

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Difference Between Barbecuing And Grilling

By MariJo Kolze

Barbecuing and grilling are often mistaken for the same thing by many people. While both of these methods make excellent meats, their flavors are very different. Unlike grilling, barbecue involves cooking food slowly and can be used to cook tougher meat. As for grilling, you prepare your meat using higher heat, and for a shorter period of time. Either method will result in a tasty meal, but barbecuing is a better option if you prefer an intense, smoky flavor.

What is Barbecuing?

BBQ Ribs

Barbecuing is known as a slow and low-temperature cooking process. If you love those large, authentic BBQ pieces of meat, you're familiar with this process. Because you grill at lower temperatures ranging from 190 to 300 degrees when you barbecue, you get a juicier, more even cut of meat. If you cook large pieces of meat at these temperatures, cooking time will be longer, ranging from 4 to 6 hours, or even longer.

There are also differences when it comes to how the heat reflects off the meat when barbecuing. As an example, the meat isn't cooked directly over the flames, but instead uses indirect heat and a two-zone method of cooking. The indirect heat method gives barbecue its authentic smoky flavor. Often, people use wood or charcoal when barbecuing to enhance the flavor and bring out that distinct taste. As long as "slow and low" is on your mind, you'll be able to barbecue some delicious meat.

As for the seasoning part, it is best to avoid adding BBQ sauce while barbecuing meat due to their long cooking times. Due to tougher meats taking longer to cook, adding BBQ sauce will simply burn the meat. If you want to enhance the flavor even more, add a bit after you take the meat off or use it as a side dip!

Best Foods to Barbecue

As mentioned earlier, the best foods to barbecue are the big and fattier pieces of meat. Meats such as a pork shoulder, ribs, or a whole chicken can fit into this category. When grilling, you should choose meats that are less tender and already marinated. Next time you fire up the grill, watch this smoked pulled pork recipe by chef Billy Parisi!

What is Grilling?


Grilling on the other hand, is something that is very common across households. Due to the faster cooking process, families often choose to use this method during the busy week to prepare their meat. As a result, grilling is often referred to as a fast and hot cooking method. Normally, grilling takes place at temperatures between 450 and 550 degrees, for a shorter period of time.

When grilling, you place the meat directly over the flames. Using direct heat, you prepare food over a charcoal or gas grill. Since you are grilling for a shorter period of time, you will not produce smoke like you would if you were barbecuing. Although grilling gives you the same natural, juicy taste as barbecuing, it will not have the same smoky taste. We recommend adding a rub, marinade, or sauce to your meat to give it more flavor.

If you wish to add seasoning to your grilling, you can marinate beforehand with your rub or spices. In addition, you can also apply a BBQ sauce during the last few minutes of cooking to achieve the desired taste and texture.

Best Foods to Grill

When it comes to the best foods to grill, there is a wide range of options. However, cooking smaller pieces of meat like hamburgers, chicken, steaks, etc. is better. Despite the smaller meats, there are still thick cuts, like a filet mignon or ribeye, you can grill. The key to grilling meats is choosing those with the most tenderness because they cook more quickly and will be able to maintain their juiciness. Grilling is also a good way to cook tasty vegetables, as it enhances their sweetness and flavor.

Check out this Youtube video for a fast and easy way to grill chicken on the grill!

Always Keep Internal Temperatures in Mind

No matter what cooking method you decide to use, you always want to check on your meat when finished to make sure it is at the right internal temperature for that perfect, juicy result. Save this cooking temperature chart next time you decide to barbecue or grill!

chart via

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BBQ Rubs vs BBQ Sauces: Which to Use

By MariJo Kolze

Spices and Sauces

Every BBQ lover knows that spices and sauces enhance the flavor of their meats. Despite this, few people know the difference between the types of rubs and BBQ sauces and when they should use each. The choice to use a spice or sauce depends entirely on the cook, but there are a few tips that can help make your decision easier. While these methods may be used differently, they both add a nice flavorful taste to your meat!

Types of Rubs 

Rubs are one of the most common ways to season meat while grilling. A rub in general, is a mixture of spices and seasonings that are applied to the outside of meat before it is cooked. Depending on the cut or marbling of the meat, some meats don't need much seasoning. However, some meats may require additional seasoning, such as rubs, to enhance their taste. 

Dry Rubs

In dry rubs, various spices, sugars and herbs are combined. A dry rub typically contains ingredients like paprika, pepper, and sugar. Ultimately, it's a seasoning made from several dry ingredients. Dry rubs not only add a nice crust and bark to your meat, but it also intensifies its flavor. A popular dry rub that is great on every protein, including shrimp is The Gospel’s All-Purpose Southwestern rub. The ingredients in this rub include paprika, sugar, garlic, and other spices to give off an incredible BBQ flavor. 

Wet Rubs

A wet rub contains many of the same ingredients as a dry rub. The only difference between the two is that a wet rub contains a liquid ingredient. If your meat is somewhat dry from the start, using a wet rub is a great option. When forming a wet rub, it is important to have enough liquid ingredients to make the paste thick and strong enough to apply to meat. Oil, vinegar, mustard, and even alcohol are some of the wet ingredients used in different types of rubs. Liquid ingredients like these allow dry and wet ingredients to adhere to the meat and create a powerful flavor. For your next meal, try Kinder's original wet rub sample! 

When to Apply a Rub

The process of using both a wet and dry rub is very simple. Before you apply your rubs, you want to make sure you pat down your meat with a paper towel in order to get rid of as much moisture as possible. Then you can apply your rubs to your meat by using your hands to make sure the spices and herbs are absorbed into the meat. You'll get a nice and crispy texture when your spices soak into the meat. If you want the best flavor, add the dry rub to the steak at least an hour before grilling. However, you can add the dry rub as little as right before you throw it on the grill. For wet rubs, apply the rub about an hour before grilling, or up to several hours before if you have time. The results of a wet rub will be similar to those of a dry rub, but the meat will contain more moisture.

For cooking with rubs, it is important to know what kind of temperature and meats work best with each rub. Dry rubs can be applied to almost anything, which makes them very versatile. As they can be used under a grill or in the oven, they are an excellent choice for high heat temperatures. Dry rubs go well with protein options such as beef, pork, and chicken. When choosing a dry rub for your meat, look for ingredients such as brown sugar, paprika, pepper, and garlic powder. Utilize Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub for a smoky, sweet flavor with a kick. For a stronger blend of flavor, try Traeger's Beef Rub, which goes well with ribs, ribeyes, and other beef cuts. 

In terms of cooking with a wet rub, you should ensure that it remains as a paste on your meat, rather than turning into a liquid marinade. For this reason, you should prepare your meat at low temperatures so that it does not burn. If you cook your meat at a low temperature, your meat's crust will absorb the sugars rather than burning them. Slow-cooked pork or beef roast are some great options that pair well with wet rubs. The slow cooking allows the wet rub to create a beautiful bark on the outside while keeping the moisture inside. For the next time you cook pork, try this recipe!

What is BBQ Sauce?

BBQ sauce was created in the 17th century as a way to enhance grilling. Back then, BBQ sauce consisted only of salt, vinegar, and pepper. BBQ sauces were so popular for BBQ as they serve as a form of marinade where they enhance the flavor of the meat and tenderize it. BBQ sauces today are normally made with some kind of enzyme, like a fruit, and an acidic ingredient, like vinegar that helps break down the meat's proteins. It will also include ingredients such as ketchup, chili peppers, mustard, etc. The ingredients in the sauces are essential as they help bring flavor to the meat throughout the cooking process, as well as after. 

BBQ sauces have a reasonable amount of sugar, therefore adding the sauce towards the end of the cooking process will keep it from overcooking and burning your meat. Sugar in BBQ sauces is crucial to developing the flavor of your meat, but can burn at high temperatures. For this, you should apply your BBQ sauce of choice around the last 10 minutes of cooking so that you capture the ideal taste without overdoing it. Remember this tip next time you light up the grill, because many people forget and end up burning their perfect meal by putting on the sauce too soon. 

The choice is yours whether or not to use BBQ sauce as a marinade or dipping sauce. We recommend you try our famous Waterloo BBQ Sauce as the dipping sauce of your choice. If you want to use BBQ sauce as a marinade, we recommend you choose meats that need to be cooked for longer periods like ribs. However, if you wanted to use it as a dipping sauce, some fan favorite meals are pulled pork sandwiches or any pulled meats. Either way you choose to use your BBQ sauce as a condiment on your meal, or even as a marinade, you can’t go wrong!

Can you use both for BBQ?

To get the best of both worlds, you can definitely use both a rub and a BBQ sauce when preparing your meat. In fact, most BBQ lovers use both while cooking. When using both, apply the dry rub to the meat first before grilling it, so it will absorb as much flavor as possible. As you are about to remove the meat from the grill, then apply your BBQ sauce. In case you cannot decide between a dry or wet seasoning, your BBQ sauce can be served on the side. You can’t go wrong with either method of seasoning as they both enhance and elevate the flavor of meat!

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The 6 Best Tips for a Summer Cookout

By MariJo Kolze

Summer Party

 There's nothing better than a summer cookout - complete with a nice day outside, friends and family, and plenty of food. Yet, it can sometimes be challenging to host many guests and organize your BBQ or cookout. As planning a cookout can be stressful, we'd like to share a few tips and ideas that will help you prepare!

1. Prepare in Advance

You can save yourself a lot of time by preparing in advance. A great place to start is knowing what to cook, how many people will attend and how you want to set up the cookout. By knowing this in advance you’ll be able to know how much time you’ll need to set up and what you’ll need to purchase well in advance...

Depending on what you decide to cook at your gathering, some meals may take longer than others since they need to marinade or be seasoned. For instance, you may want to marinade your meat the day before, or slice your veggies in advance in order to make your party preparations easier the day of. Additionally, if you wanted to prepare your own dips and sauces, this might require some preparation. We recommend inviting some family and friends to help prepare for the party as it will save you time, and gives you a chance to catch up with one another! 

Having an idea of how many people will attend your cookout will help you figure out how much food and drinks you'll need. The best way to feed a large crowd is to prepare hamburgers, which are very affordable and serve several people. Alternatively, if you are entertaining a smaller group, you can spoil them with grass-fed steak or some BBQ ribs. 

It is not necessary to set up decorations for your cookout, but it can definitely add to the fun of the event! Getting your decorations ready a couple days before is a good idea if you decide to decorate. Decorating can be something as simple as arranging flowers on the tables, or it could be fun as setting up a photo booth. By preparing everything in advance, it will make set up easier on the day and prevent last-minute runs to the store. 

2. Keep The Main Dishes Simple

Hamburgers and Hot Dogs

A summer cookout or BBQ for your guests isn't as complicated as you might think. There are plenty of easy dishes to make everyone happy. Hot dogs, burgers, and sausages are some classic BBQ foods that you can use as staples for your next party. These are all great options since they’re easy to grill and affordable. As there is no need to marinate beforehand, the preparation is very simple. You can still get a flavorful coating on the meat by adding spices and sauces during the cooking process.

 Even better, try setting up a condiment bar to complement your meals! These meat options are great and go well with many toppings and condiments. For instance, you could simply add pickles, tomatoes, and cheese to the condiment bar, while ketchup and mayo are served on the side. To make your guests even more impressed, you can grill mushrooms or vegetables and serve them with your favorite BBQ sauce as we recommend our Waterloo BBQ Sauce. We recommend these BBQ staples because they are simple and great for all ages, including kids! Ultimately, your guests just want to enjoy good food and good company.

3. Choose Tasty But Easy Side Dishes

Your meal will be just that much better when you select easy yet fun side dishes! For your cookout, there are plenty of easy but flavorful side dishes that you can prepare. We suggest preparing some type of salad such as a potato salad or even a pasta salad. Side dishes like these are great because they can be kept in the fridge and give a fresh and light taste. In addition, they make great leftovers throughout the week and are made to serve a large crowd! Even if you don't have much time, you can still prepare a nice meal by grilling some vegetables and baking a loaf of bread. This is a great way to complement the delicious meat that you grilled.

4. Have Snacks And Drinks Ready To Go!

Cookouts cannot be complete without delicious snacks and drinks to keep your guests entertained. Small snacks and beverages can be a great way to keep them happy! Easy snacks that are great and require little to no preparation are chips and a dip. You can either make your own special dip or buy a dip of your choice. Alternatively, if you wanted a healthier option, you could prepare a fruit platter or a vegetable platter with a favorite dip. You can offer your guests many tasty snacks that are suitable for all dietary needs.

Drink Cooler

During the party, you can serve your guests a wide variety of drinks to keep them refreshed. The key to keeping your drinks nice and cool is having a cooler filled with ice on hand. You can fill the cooler with many different types of drinks for both kids and adults. A pitcher of homemade punch or lemonade is a great option for kids. You can either prepare your own juice or simply buy little cans of juice at the store. As for adults, you can keep a variety of alcoholic beverages in the cooler to keep them cool and accessible. As far as everybody, make sure you have plenty of water available since summer cookouts can get hot! 

5. Add Some Festive Decorations

Make your cookout more than just food by incorporating decorations or creating a theme. Making those special memories more memorable can be done by creating a theme or simply by adding decorations. Arrange your next summer party around special occasions or holidays like Father’s Day or 4th of July. 

Father's Day is the perfect time to recognize and honor the special dads in our lives! You can decorate your cookout with Dad’s favorite colors, or even prepare some of his favorite BBQ dishes. To help you decide what to BBQ for Dad, look at these recipes

4th of July Flag

The 4th of July is also a fun holiday to decorate for as it celebrates America's independence. Add red, white, and blue decor to your cookout by decorating your tables, plates, and silverware. Check out these 4th of July Party Ideas for some great inspiration. When planning your next summer cookout, consider these great holiday ideas. Nonetheless, summer is the perfect season to throw any party!

6. Choose a Self-Serve Food Bar

Once the preparation and cooking is done, it is best to set up a self-serve food bar where your guests can feed themselves. You'll be able to display the snacks, meals and desserts you prepared throughout the day. Providing guests with this style of service is efficient because they can choose the amount and type of each dish they want to eat. We recommend this type of style of service as it allows your guests to interact with one another and creates a fun atmosphere. This way, your guests are sure not to go hungry!

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How to Deep Clean a Grill

By MariJo Kolze

As the weather starts to heat up, many people look forward to cooking on their BBQ grill. Cooking with an outdoor grill is an excellent way to prepare food, but properly maintaining it is just as crucial. It is recommended that you deep clean your grill at least once or twice a year. However, you should clean your grill after every use. The foundation of your perfect meal is a well-maintained grill. In addition to being better for food preparation, a clean grill ensures a safer and more effective grilling experience. 

To help you understand where to begin deep cleaning your grill, we have provided you with these steps to guide you. Whether you are using a gas or charcoal grill, we have the tools to help!

Here are some of our favorite basic tools and materials to keep in mind when deep cleaning your grill:

How to Clean a Gas Grill: 

Gas Grill

Due to their simplicity while cooking, gas grills are very popular among people. Likewise, deep cleaning a gas grill is a very straightforward process. If you clean your gas grill before and after each grilling session, it will be easier to deep clean when necessary. 

Before and After Grilling:

  1. The first step to deep cleaning your grill is to preheat it on high, then turn it off immediately afterwards. To ensure your safety, you should make sure the gas is off. Once the grill has cooled down, you can begin the cleaning process. To begin, remove the grill grates and set them aside. It's much easier to remove them and clean them this way. Additionally, you should remove the metal pieces that cover the burners. It is important to remove these while cleaning since they can collect a lot of grease and dirt.
  2. Now that you have removed the components from your grill, you should wipe any loose charcoal or food from the grill. Any leftover residue can be removed with a rag. We suggest using any old rag you're willing to toss after.
  3. As for the metal parts and grill grates, you want to let them soak in a soapy water container or even your bathtub for at least an hour or more. All you need to do is fill up the area you intend to use with warm water and dish soap. As a result, the grates and metal pieces will soak and help the residue and rust to come off. After thoroughly soaking the pieces, you can scrub any remaining stains or residue with your grill brush. Scrubbing shouldn't be too difficult since the residue should be softer and easier to remove.
  4. After you have soaked and removed the residue, wipe your parts with a clean, old rag. In this step, you just make sure all the grease and dirt are removed. When you have reinstalled the grill grates and other metal parts, you can begin cleaning the outside of the grill. Simply spray your grill with the stainless steel cleaner and wipe it down with a rag or paper towels. 

If you follow these steps, cleaning your gas grill is not as difficult as it may seem at first. If you want to clean your grill effectively, you should always use clean products, including the rags you wipe with, and by replacing your grill brush annually. With this process, you can clean your grill more easily and cook your next meal on a fresh grill!

See the YouTube video for a more visual explanation of how to deep clean your gas grill: 

How to clean a charcoal grill:

Charcoal Grill

Charcoal grills are known for the extra flavor they give to food. Nothing is like the rich and smoky taste you get from meat that was cooked on a charcoal grill. Despite the fact that charcoal grills are easy to clean, they still get dirty and leave a lot of ash behind after each use. Over time, ash can accumulate inside the grill and block vents which could be dangerous while cooking. The best way to ensure your charcoal grill cooks food properly and delivers that perfect BBQ flavor is to clean it after every use.

  1. The first thing you want to do before you start cleaning your charcoal grill, is make sure the charcoal has cooled off. After that, you will be able to remove the grates from the grill. Once the grates are removed, you can also empty any remaining ash or charcoal into a bin. 
  2. After you remove the grates from the grill, you can start cleaning them. Be sure you have vegetable oil and a grill brush ready for use. Before applying the vegetable oil, you will want to scrub as much of the ash/charcoal off as possible. Then add vegetable oil to the grates and wipe them with a paper towel or rag to loosen the grease. If there is still residue left on the grates, try using aluminum foil as a hack to scrub any last parts away.
  3. When you finish cleaning the grates, be sure to clean the bottom of the grill as well. This is the area where ash accumulates and becomes dirty. You can either wipe the debris away with a rag or towel, or brush it off. Following your wipe-down, spray the grill interior with an oven cleaner. Take some time to let this sit before rinsing it off. 
  4. Finally, to clean the grill's exterior, mix dish soap with warm water and wipe with a rag or paper towel. Afterward, rinse the exterior of the grill with water to remove any soap that may remain. Once you have cleaned every part of your grill, rinse it thoroughly with water to get rid of any soap or cleaner. Your charcoal grill is now ready for use!

While charcoal grills can be cleaned easily, they are also prone to accumulating residue and ash. A tip before you always start to grill is to make sure you brush the grill grates beforehand. By doing so, you are removing any previous burnt food. By maintaining a clean grill, you can get the flavor you're looking for, as well as prevent flare-ups and old debris. Hopefully, these steps for deep cleaning your grill will assist you in cooking your next delicious meal!

Check out this YouTube video for a more visual explanation of how to deep clean your charcoal grill:

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Who Was Bette Thomas

By MariJo Kolze

Bette Thomas, the owner of Waterloo BBQ restaurant, was born and raised in Stockton, California. Family was a priority to her as she was both a wife and mother who possessed strong values. Despite growing up in a difficult environment, she overcame all obstacles with her self-determination. Even in the face of adverse circumstances, she never let them hold her back from achieving her goals.

Prior to opening up her own restaurant, Bette Thomas worked as a hairstylist. Her lack of education led her to pursue a career in hairdressing. As the owner and operator of two hair salon businesses, she experienced success from an early age. Her reputation as a hairdresser grew in Stockton, California. It wasn't until later in her career that Bette Thomas decided to take her love of cooking into a career. Due to Bette's love of cooking for others and for making memories with her friends and family, she began to consider what options were available. After weighing her options and following her dreams, she decided to open a restaurant with her husband JT. When they opened their restaurant, they had no idea of the impact and success they would have.

Against all odds, Bette and JT Thomas opened a restaurant called The Waterloo. Despite her limited education and other potential factors, many people didn't think she could open a restaurant. The Waterloo is located in a small town in Stockton, California. Due to the restaurant's location and accessibility, it would be difficult to make a name for it. As well as other factors including limited assistance in running the business. When Bette's restaurant first opened, she served as the cook, while her husband JT worked behind the bar. It wasn't long before their business took off, and they grew their staff from just two to more than fifty people. They knew what it would take to be a successful restaurant, and eventually grew their business into The Biggest Little Giant's Town in the World. 

Choosing to open The Waterloo was one of the best decisions Bette and JT made. The importance of continuing her family's culinary tradition was very important to Bette. Several of Bette's famous dishes and sauces have been passed down from her family to her. Throughout her different meals, you can taste her Southern Italian flair. Family is so important to the couple, and you feel the same way when you visit The Waterloo. In fact, even the staff of the restaurant is in their fourth generation. Their goal is to make you feel at home and welcome. By implementing the traditions she started at The Waterloo, Bette has left a lasting legacy.


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How The Waterloo BBQ Sauce Was Invented

By MariJo Kolze

More than 37 years ago, The Waterloo BBQ began its journey. In 1984, Bette and JT Thomas opened the restaurant with the goal of providing Northern Californians with a place where they could share food and create unforgettable memories. In addition to the great food and atmosphere, the Waterloo BBQ sauce is what keeps people coming back. It wasn't until we discovered how sacred it was that we planned to bottle and sell our barbecue sauce.

Despite all odds, Bette and JT Thomas, the owners of the Waterloo BBQ, were unsure of just how far their restaurant would go when they first opened. Let alone, they didn't realize how far their barbecue sauce would go. The true creation of our original barbecue sauce was not discovered until customers began raving about it. Our barbecue sauce was so popular that people kept trying to get a hold of it. They insisted on getting the recipe and having us bottle the barbecue sauce. We had customers who would even bring their own containers to fill with our barbecue sauce. Owner Bette Thomas would fill up customers' containers in the restaurant so they could take some home. In response to high demand for our barbecue sauce, we began bottling and packaging the sauce.

One of the challenges owner Bette and JT faced was packaging the sauce for distribution. Packaging was a much more challenging task back then. The lack of advanced technology made it difficult to create SKU barcodes for the bottles as well as other bottle-related problems. There also were many qualifications and requirements that needed to be met. For instance, they had to make sure the barbecue sauce met all FDA and health requirements. Although bottling the barbecue sauce took a bit of effort, it was well worth it.

One of the best things about the original Waterloo BBQ sauce is that it is made with love and is part of our family. Bette Thomas' original Milano family recipe gives the barbecue sauce its distinct flavor. Both her biological father and her stepfather came up with alterations to the Milano recipe to make it uniquely her own. The original Waterloo BBQ Sauce is a delicious blend of Italian herbs and spices combined with the best of the fresh Northern Californian roots. The success of our BBQ sauce is continuing to grow and would not be possible without the love and support of both our family and customers.


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Steak Tips: Understanding the Grades and Cuts of Steak

By MariJo Kolze

Few things are better than a nice tender steak. On average, Americans consume almost 250 pounds of meat each year. But, oddly most Americans when asked don’t actually know the different cuts and grades that make their steaks so enjoyable (or not). To make sure you never have a bad steak again, we feel it’s our duty to educate our steak-loving fans. If you’re in a grocery store looking to purchase a great steak, two of the most important things to consider are the cut and the grade. Let’s dive in a bit deeper!

Grades of Steak: 

When it comes to grading in the United States, the USDA is the primary authority. To guarantee consumers like you can enjoy a fresh and flavorful steak, the USDA must develop and maintain grade standards for meat. It is determined by two main factors: the amount of marbling (how much fat) in the meat, and its maturity (the age of the animal). There are numerous beef quality grades to choose from as there are a total of eight. However, the three consumer grades in the United States are prime, choice, and select. The top grade is prime, the same grade you’d likely find at a high-end restaurant, while choice and select are at the bottom. The remaining grades of meat are of lower quality, and are processed into foods like hot dogs that you might see grilled on your barbecue during the summer.

(Image via

Prime grade beef remains the highest in quality. Whenever you treat yourself to a high-end restaurant and dine out, you usually order and eat this grade of beef. Because prime grade beef is of high quality, it is in limited supply, which drives up market prices. The flavor of prime grade beef is well worth the price increase. If you're wondering how to prepare this type of grade, we recommend that you dry-cook it for maximum flavor. Dry-heat cooking such as broiling, roasting, and grilling is a great way to prepare prime roasts and steaks.

The next best option is to purchase a choice grade. Choice beef is still high in quality, but has less marbling than prime. Since it is a lower cut quality than prime, consumers have greater access to choice beef since it is more affordable. The main difference between choice and prime meat is the fat content, as prime meat typically contains more. Under this choice grade, you can still enjoy tender, juicy, and flavorful steaks. If you want to cook your beef to be nice and tender, you should try braising or roasting your meats. You can even simmer your meat in a tightly covered pan to keep its moisture. As for picking choice grade steaks, filets and rib steaks are always fan favorites.

Select beef is the last grade available to consumers. Compared to higher grades, it is considered the leaner meat. The meat is fairly tender, but it lacks some of the juiciness of the higher-grade cuts due to its minimal marbling. BBQ grills are best suited for cooking tender cuts of meat, such as ribs, loins, and sirloins. These would make great options to serve your guests at your next barbecue! For the best steak, we recommend marinating your steaks before cooking in order to get the most tenderness and flavor.  

Cuts of Steak: 

The second factor to consider is the cut of the steak. There are different cuts of beef based on which part of the cow they come from. In other words, the quality of the steak is determined by where it is cut from the cow. Choosing the ideal steak cut for what you want to cook is probably the most important part of getting the right steak at the right price. Learning the differences between the different cuts of beef and finding out how to cook each type of beef is the key to a great BBQ. You have plenty of options to choose from with the variety of cuts and cooking styles available.  

The meat from a cow is divided into different sections known as primal cuts. There are then sub-primal cuts that come from these primary cuts. Cuts of meat can be separated into three main categories: rib, short loin, and sirloin. 

In the rib category, which is located in the middle of the cow, you'll find cuts like back ribs, ribeye filets, and ribeye steaks. Meats in this section are full of flavor and have lots of marbling. We recommend using a sauce, such as our Original Waterloo BBQ Sauce, to enhance the flavoring even more. The fattier the cuts, the better they can be prepared when slow cooked and roasted. Some, however, are not best prepared for slow cooking. For instance, ribeye steak is best grilled or fried in a skillet. When you are looking for a tender cut of beef that has extra marbling, try finding a meat from the rib category. 

When it comes to short loins, these cuts are typically leaner and tender. It comes from behind the rib section, towards the back of the cow. Since these cuts are leaner, they are best grilled or fried, and at a high temperature. On the other hand, T-bones, porterhouse steaks, and tenderloins are cuts that do well when cooked at low temperatures. In this category you'll find the most expensive steaks as they are highly prized because of their tenderness. 

Sirloin cuts are the third category coming from the back of the cow. The sirloin is less tender than a short loin, but is still very flavorful. The sirloin includes some of your favorite choices like filet mignon, tri-tip, and strip steak. These cuts are also leaner and best cooked on high heat, on the grill, in a skillet, or in a stir-fry. When you're craving a flavorful and tender cut of beef, cook a cut from the loin. 

Any steak no matter the cut or grade, will always taste better with our Waterloo BBQ sauce. Next time you fire up the grill, keep these steak tips in mind!

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