a couple of months ago

BBQ Sauce 101: How to Make The Best BBQ Sauces (Who Knew There Where So Many?

BBQ sauce is one of those things that goes with everything. Its one of the natural food wonders of the world.

It can give even the most boring bowl of chips the additional lift it needs to transform into a really special, flavoursome meal.

There are tonnes of BBQ sauce recipes, variations, and styles out there. Nearly every backyard pit master has his or her own secret recipe that they protect better than their own children.

Don't get me wrong, I have my own secret recipe, however, I am open to share my recipe and even encourage people to use it, hell even add your own flare to it. After all, that is how we improve things, isn't it? Its all about trial and error.

In this article we will cover some the history of barbecue sauce, where the origin of the word BBQ comes from and some of the different BBQ sauce styles for BBQ sauce in the United States.

Barbecue Word Origin - BBQ Definition

There is no definite history of where the word barbecue was originated, however, as the more well known tale goes it is believed that the word barbecue was created by the Spanish and has Spanish / Caribbean origins.

The Spanish who landed in the Caribbean used the word 'barbacoa' to describe the slow cooking style of the Caribbean people. This word 'barbacoa' was adapted into the Spanish language and slowly adapted into 'barbecue' by the English speaking nations that where invaded by the Spanish.

Where Does BBQ Sauce Originate?

The history of BBQ sauce is one that is not very clear. When researching this topic I found that there were many different explanations and theories for when and whom it was first developed by.

I have found websites that claim the earliest traces of BBQ sauce were found dating as far back as 700BC, the start of the 17th century, the 19th century and even the mid 20th century. There are numerous old recipes out there, however, no solid evidence has ever been found as to them they where written.

I also could not really find a reliable answer for what culture this beautiful sauce was invented by. There are mainly hints at the French being the first to develop this sauce, which to me is believable as the French tend to discover many of the worlds culinary wonders, but without solid proof of a date or place, it is really hard to say when/where it was truly invented. 

What Is BBQ Sauce Made Of?

It depends where you go around the US and the world as to what is in your barbecue sauce.

Every different region has their own special ingredients that go into their BBQ sauce. People are very passionate about what goes in their BBQ sauce.

Some areas use a strictly mustard base, whereas other areas use a heavier tomato base for theirs. In some areas they stick to a sweet and spicy flavour wheres other areas will go for a more tangy, vinegary flavour profile. 

Not even the colours are the same, BBQ sauce can range from white all the way to the darkest shades of brown.  

The texture is something else that changes dramatically from region to region. It can be water thin, thick like a mayonnaise or even have big pieces of onion, garlic and spices in it. 

Below I have outlined a few of the different styles of BBQ sauce we have here in the United States.

So, What Variations of BBQ Sauce Are There?


Nowadays in the US, we have a huge amount of different styles and recipes for BBQ sauce.

These recipes and styles change from state to state, city to city and in some cases what part of the city you are in. Some of the variations of BBQ sauce here in the US include:

Alabama White BBQ Sauce

That's right you read that correctly. White BBQ Sauce. This beauty was created back in 1925 by a man who goes by the name of Bob Gibson.

This sauce was first made by Bob to go with his famous backyard BBQ chicken and was never intended to be used on pork or beef. The zesty, creamy sauce is perfect for chicken. However, nowadays you see the sauce as a side for everything from pretzels to grilled fish.

The white consistency comes from its main ingredient, mayonnaise. Like every BBQ sauce, there are a million different variations out there now, but a basic recipe for this sauce is: 

Alabama White BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ingredients
1 clove of crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon finely ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 tablespoon powdered garlic

Method
In a medium sized bowl whisk together all the ingredients. You can use this sauce right away, however for a better flavour it is best to make a day in advance and chill in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving. 

All Natural BBQ Sauce

A lot of Americans out there these days are looking for healthy alternatives for classic meals, sides, and condiments. Unfortunately, BBQ sauce does not escape this. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing, is it? barbecue sauce without ketchup in the recipe is actually quite a good thing. Ketchup is loaded with un necessary salt, sugar and other additives.

If it gets the wife excited about BBQ I'm all in! This all natural BBQ sauce recipe takes a little longer than some of the others and is not a sauce that you can just decide to whip up for dinner, some of the ingredients do take time to prepare. 

All Natural BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ingredients
40g chopped onion
40g sun-dried tomatoes (soaked overnight)
120g dates (soaked overnight)
1/4 teaspoon smoked Chipotle powder
1 small garlic clove minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon Tamari sauce
2 medium roasted tomatoes
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
liquid smoke

Method
The evening before you want to use this sauce, soak your dates in 1 cup of fresh water and your sun-dried tomatoes in 1/2 a cup of fresh water. Remember to keep all the liquid for the blending process.

The next day, preheat your oven to 350˚F and roast your tomatoes until the skins darken. You want to rotate them a couple of times throughout the cook. This should take around 1 hour. Once cooled peel the skins and remove the seeds.

In a sauce pan heat your olive oil and brown your garlic and chopped onion.

Combine your garlic and onion mixture in a blender with all other remaining ingredients and blend. If there is not enough moisture add in the soaking liquid from the sun-dried tomatoes and dates.

Once blended add the mixture back in the sauce pan and cook over a low heat until the water evaporates and the sauce starts to thicken. 

Carolina BBQ Sauce

Carolina BBQ sauce is a vinegar and mustard based sauce that is considered the mother of all the American barbecue sauces. It is a spicy and vinegary sauce that does not include any tomatoes, instead opting for (usually) cider vinegar.

this is a very thin sauce and is mainly used to soak/ baste pork as it slowly cooks over an open flame. Some of the earlier recipes used ingredients such as oysters for a unique saltiness. 

Carolina BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ingredients
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Method
First place all of your ingredients in a sauce pan

Cook down over a medium heat, stirring often.

Bring to a boil and whisk until the salt and sugar and completely dissolved. Once dissolved remove from the heat immediately.

Let sauce cool to room temperature and store in a jar. Before using this sauce it is best to refrigerate and shake well.

Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

Tucked away right down the bottom of South Carolina you will find the areas of Charleston and Columbia. Folks in these parts have a special BBQ sauce not found in many other places (if any).

It sprouts from German roots and has a yellow mustard tinge to it. That is because it is a mustard based sauce bought over by the Germans. It pairs beautifully with pork and has a sweet, but tangy flavor with just a pinch of spice.

Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ingredients
1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar
1⁄4 cup molasses
1⁄4 cup honey
1 cup yellow mustard
1 tsp. mild hot sauce
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Method
In a bowl mix together all the ingredients until thoroughly combined.

If you are not using the sauce right away, place in a jar and refrigerate. Shake well before using.

South Carolina BBQ Sauce

The South Carolina BBQ sauce is another sauce that is a thin, mustard based sauce. It again it is of German descent and has a nice punch of hot sauce and mustard.

This sauce is perfect for pulled pork, however, has found its way into grilled chicken in my household. Typically I will use a little less mustard than in this recipe and a little more hot sauce. 

South Carolina BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ingredients
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup prepared yellow mustard

Method
Simple whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.

For the best flavor make this sauce a day or two in advance, store in a jar in the refrigerator and shake very well before using.

Virginia BBQ Sauce

Virginia's BBQ sauces can be broken down into several different areas, each slightly different. The Virginians are very passionate about their sauces

Northern Virginia BBQ Sauce

Northern Virginia sauces are tomato based and are the sweetest of the Virginian varieties. Usually, you will find them well seasoned with herbs and sweet spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and thyme. They have also been known to include fruit such as apple added in for extra flavor and sweetness.

Northern Virginia BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ingredients
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups tomato ketchup

Method
In a saucepan add all ingredients except the lemon juice and simmer until all ingredients are well combined and the sugar has melted.

Bring off the heat and whisk in the lemon juice.

Place in a jar and refrigerate overnight and shake well before using. 

Central Virginia BBQ Sauce

The Central style BBQ sauce is all about sweetness with just a hint of sour. Typical ingredients include cayenne pepper, cloves, ginger, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce/ root beer/ sassafras.

Central Virginia BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ingredients
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon creamy peanut butter
1 cup tomato juice
1–1 1/2 cups brown sugar

Method
In a saucepan add all ingredients except the tomato juice and simmer until all ingredients are well combined and the sugar and peanut butter have melted.

Bring off the heat and whisk in the tomato juice.

Place in a jar and refrigerate overnight and shake well before using.

Southern Virginia BBQ Sauce

​Southern Virginian BBQ sauces are vinegar or tomato based with a hint of mustard. Unlike those in South Carolina, the mustard is used just as a base and is not the main flavor.​​​​

Southern Virginia BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ingredients
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup hot sauce
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

Method
Add all ingredients to a blender and mix well.

Once well blended, place in a well sealed jar and refrigerate overnight.

Shake well before serving.

Texas Style BBQ Sauce

The Texas BBQ sauce is a tomato based sauce that has a nice little bit of heat and sweetness. They are often a thicker, more sticky sauce that is perfect for dipping, marinating and grilling.

My favorite thing to have with Texas style BBQ sauce is pulled pork.. or ribs.. or chicken wings.. to be honest, there s not much I don't enjoy Texas Style sauce with. It's just to dang good!​

Texas Style BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ingredients
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons molasses

Method
Add all ingredients to a saucepan and simmer over a medium heat for 30 minutes. Be sure to stir throughout the simmer.

Remove from the heat and transfer into a jar. Serve immediately or let cool t room temperature and refrigerate. Be sure to shake well before use.

Tennessee BBQ Sauce (Whiskey BBQ Sauce)

There is one thing that a Tennessee BBQ sauce must have. I think you can already guess what that is. It's whiskey.

No Tennessee BBQ sauce is complete without it (in mine and many other opinions). Many people add in liquid smoke to give this recipe a lot of extra smoky flavor. I personally don't like liquid smoke too much and don't use it unless there is not BBQ, grill or smoker in sight.​

Tennessee BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ingredients
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon Tabasco
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 cup of your favorite whiskey
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup ketchup
2 - 3 drops of liquid smoke (if you have too)

Method
In a saucepan heat the canola oil. Saute the onion until translucent.

Get your favorite whiskey and deglaze the pan with a good glug (and a good glug for yourself). With a wooden spoon scrape the pan down and remove any pieces of onion from the pot. Add in the rest of your ingredients and whisk together.

Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and leave for 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Use immediately or place into a jar and refrigerate. Always shake thoroughly before use.

St Louis BBQ Sauce

​​St Louis Style BBQ sauce is known to be tangier than most other BBQ sauces. It also has one of the thinnest consistencies of all BBQ sauces.

Like all BBQ sauces, there is a tonne of different influences to this style of sauce and each recipe has it's on a slightly different flare to it.​

St Louis BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ingredients
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 cups Ketchup

Method
Add all ingredients to a saucepan and stir over a low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for 30 minutes.

Let cool to room temperature and place in a jar. This sauce is best used a couple of days after making it so its best to let sit in the refrigerator for a couple of days before use. Shake well before using.

Kansas City BBQ Sauce

​The Kanasas City BBQ sauce is one of my favorites. Its super sweet, it's thick and it goes well with pretty much everything you can cook on (or off) the grill.

Kansas City BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ingredients
1/2 cup yellow ballpark-style mustard
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup steak sauce
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup of honey (or more for a sweeter taste)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 finely chopped medium onion
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 cups ketchup
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 medium garlic cloves crushed

Method
In a bowl mix together the salt, pepper and chili powder. In a separate bowl mix together brown sugar, honey, hot sauce, ketchup, lemon juice, mustard, molasses, steak sauce, vinegar, and Worcestershire.

In a large saucepan add the oil and heat over a medium heat. Add your onions and saute until translucent. Add your crushed garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add in your dry spice mix and cook for a further minute until combined well. Add the combination of wet ingredients and simmer on a medium heat for 20 minutes.

Use immediately or cool to room temperature and place in a jar. It's best to refrigerate for a couple of days and then use. Make sure you shake well before use.

Georgia BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce in Georgia is a mustard based sauce which can either have a sweet or tangy flavor depending on your preference. I like this one to have a nice tangy flavor and a decent punch of heat.

Georgia BBQ Sauce Recipe

​Ingredients
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup mustard
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Method
In a large saucepan add all ingredients and gently simmer over a low - medium heat for 30 minutes.

Best used a day or two after making. Cool to room temperature and place in a jar inside the refrigerator for a couple of days. Shake before using.

How To Make Barbecue Sauce From Scratch - The Basic BBQ Sauce Recipe


Every man needs his own go-to BBQ sauce recipe. It's important to have the base down where you can make it at the drop of a hat and adjust it according to the situation, what you are cooking or who you are cooking for.

This basic BBQ sauce recipe is made from everyday ingredients that you should find in your cupboard. Every backyard BBQ-er should know how to make a BBQ sauce from scratch!

My Basic BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ingredients
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1 chopped onion
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 finely chopped garlic cloves
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Method
Pre heat your olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and add in your onions. Saute until translucent. Add in your garlic and stir through for 30 seconds.

Add in the rest of your ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer.

Simmer gently for 45 minutes stirring regularly. If you notice your sauce getting to thick add in a little bit more water and turn the heat down.

Once at a nice thick consistency take off the heat. You can use it straight away, or for best results and a more in-depth flavor cool to room temperature then place in a jar and refrigerate for 1 - 2 days. Shake well before using.

Brands Of BBQ Sauce

There is a tonne of different brands of BBQ sauce out there on the market these days. Some of my favourite include:

Traeger Grills Sweet & Heat Bbq Sauce

Bull's Eye Original Barbecue Sauce

Stubb's Sweet Heat Bar B Q Sauce

Mild Mambo Sauce 


Open Pit Barbecue Sauce

Vegan BBQ Sauce Brands

Every year more & more Americans are becoming more health & conscious. More & more brands are finding unique ways to keep up with the current health trends and to be honest I think this is a really good thing. It is great to see brands supplying the demand!

My wife dabbles in vegan foods and condiments, and over the years we have found these vegan BBQ sauces to be really great.

Triple Crown, Organic BBQ Sauce

Organicville Organic BBQ Sauce

Simple Girl Organic Carolina Kick BBQ Sauce

Simple Girl Sweet N’ Spicy BBQ Sauce

Smoky Date BBQ Sauce


​Charlie's Hot Tip!

​We all love BBQ sauce but you may want to try a dry rub. It really penetrates the meat and can bring out some delicious flavors! I've put together a list of my ​the best pork BBQ rubs (pork is my top ​choice for smoking, if you hadn't guessed)

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Charlie

You will more often than not find me in my backyard. I will have one hand tightly gripped to a can of beer and the other hand tightly gripped to my spatula. Not to long ago I got obsessed with Grilling, smoking and BBQ-ing. I can't get enough.. and neither can my family!

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