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!