Barbecue is a slow and popular cooking technique in the United States. The art transforms bland meat into mouthwatering and flavor-rich delicacies. The talk of summer approaching is always highlighted by people raving about Barbecue. Not just this, the sauce is the secret to the shiny, smokey, sweet, and sticky meat that you eat.
BBQ sauces are one of the most popular condiments used to make barbecue meat more delicious. This is because the sauces offer unique flavors with varieties of ingredients, spices, and herbs.
BBQ sauces are available in different flavors that range from fruity and sweet to spicy and smoky. With so many sauces in the market, it can be a hard task to choose the best sauces. That is why we have come up with a review of the top 5 BBQ sauces in the market. We have also included a section on barbecue sauce styles around the World and a buyer’s guide to making the best out of your purchase. Read on to find out the best sauces to transform your Barbecue.
Enjoy Barbecue the way you love with the Capital City Mambo Sauce as it creates a tangy and sweet addition to your dish. Light sweet flavor and tomato base qualifies the sauce as an all-purpose sauce. As a result, you can use it as a glaze, dipping, marinade, or finishing sauce. The sauce is excellent for fried chicken, especially if you have some pickled jalapenos on the side. If you like chicken and French fries, then this is the sauce for you. It also goes well with fish and shrimp. The sweet and spicy is not too spicy but has the right balance.
For convenient use, the product comes in a nicely sized bottle. The screws on top with caps make it easy to dispense the contents of the bottle without messy application. What’s more, you can re-use the container for other condiments as you desire. The package is also excellent, as no customers reported issues with leaking.
- A great mix of flavor
- Easy-to-use dispense bottle
- Mild spicy sauce
- Wide usage options
- A bit pricey
- Some users wished it was very spicy
Another sauce that qualifies as one of the best for Barbecue is the Blues Hog Original BBQ Sauce. A single jug of the Kansas City Style sauce offers 90 calories per 1. oz serving. Not just this, you can mix it with your home-made sauce for a more personalized experience. The Blue Hog sauce features the best all-natural ingredients that stick to the meat and is sweetened with the right amount of heat. As a result, it is one of the thickest gourmet sauce in the market.
For flexible use, you can use the sauce on fish, hot wings, wild game, beef, pork, and veggies. Ingredients include distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, onion powder, salt, and ripe red tomatoes. Not just this, it also contains natural ingredients like apple cider vinegar, chili pepper, garlic powder, and lots more. Be careful, though, if you are watching your carbs as it contains sugar. Be sure to keep it refrigerated after you open the sauce.
- Thick sauce
- Sticks to anything
- Very sweet and tangy
- Good and consistent flavor
- Too sweet for some buyers
- Some users received their sauce a few days to its expiry
The Traeger Grills SAU034 Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy BBQ Sauce is versatile, tasty, easy to use, and has a consistent taste. Available in different tastes and styles, the product provides an unmatched flavor to spice your meal. Unlike some not too good products, the sauce is not too spicy, sweet, thick, and runny. Its consistency plus a bit of smoke adds the perfect flavor for your meal. The sauce is designed to not only pair with proteins but with Traeger pellet flavors and rubs to make your meal complete.
For an unmatched flavor, the sauce contains brown sugar, sweet apricot, and a bit of pepper. Combine all of the premium ingredients with heat, and you have one of the best sauce for BBQ. To use, slather the sauce on your meat in a generous amount and dip it into the sides. You can also use it as a marinade or in whatever way you prefer to get your flavors lined up.
- Blend of sweet and spicy
- Great flavor
- Attractive packaging
- Not spicy enough for some buyers
- It sometimes ends up on the burner shield
The Gates Original Classic Bar-B-Q Sauce is an excellent product from a brand that has been around for more than 40 years. The classic sauce is full of flavor, however, it is not overpowering. More than use on meat, the sauce goes well with French fries, vegetables, burritos, and burgers. It is perfectly spiced and doesn’t have the cloying sweetness that some products are known for. If you want a blend of spicy and peppery, then this is your sauce. The consistency is medium to thin, and as such, will not overly stick. Classic appearance and durable packing are also exciting features of the product. Since a purchase gets you a pack of 2, it promises lasting use.
- Not overpowering
- Not thick
- Awesome flavors
- Bottle arrived broken for some buyers
- The leaks at the top sometimes
The pack of six Salt Lick Original BBQ Sauce is richly flavored for the whole family. Enjoy the flavorful but not spicy sauce with pork, chicken, and whatever else you like to eat. The sauce has a mild amount of heat and a bit of a mustard kick to it. One advantage is that it does not get old quickly. This is because it is not overly sweet with far less sugar than most sauce. The texture is a bit thin; however, it sticks well to food. The mustard-based sauce is more versatile than tomato-based ones
- Tangy, not sweet
- Great for all kinds of meat
- Reasonably priced
- High in fat
- The caps sometimes come loose during transit
Regional Barbecue Sauce Styles
Barbecue is deeply rooted in our daily lifestyle that it is hard to pinpoint where it started. The art itself has defined the history of cooking meat over grills in America. However, similar barbecuing is, adding sauce differs from one person to another. Barbecue sauce gives the food a different taste with evolving flavors to compliment your smoked meat. Let us look at some of the most popular barbecue sauce styles.
Kansas City Style
One of the cities that dominates the front when it comes to barbecue traditions in America is Kansas. From supermarket shelves to ribs in the restaurants, the thick sauce unites the lovers of Barbecue in the city. In most cases, the Kansas style sauce is a tomato-based sauce that is thick and has a reddish-brown appearance. It also features spices, vinegar, and sugar for a thick and sweet taste. Due to its composition, the sauce does not penetrate your meat all through but sits on its surface. By far, the Kansas sauce style is the most popular in the United States. It is sometimes used to create varieties of profiles that range from spicy to extra vinegar and peppery.
Eastern North Carolina Vinegar Style Sauce
Barbecuing in the Eastern North Carolina is one of the earliest ever to use the sauce. Not only was it the earliest, but it is also the easiest to make and was made famous by African Slaves that advanced developing American Barbecue. The sauce features hot chili pepper, ground black pepper, and vinegar. In most cases, it is used to baste the meat as a mopping sauce when it is cooking or as a dipping sauce. Unlike Kansas sauce, the Eastern North sauce is sharp, thin, and penetrates the meat. Plus, it does not contain sugar.
South Carolina Mustard Style
The South style is like its Eastern North counterpart except for its yellow mustard. This sauce style is thin thanks to vinegar and is spicy for more flavor. It is most popular in the German-occupied part of South Carolina for dressing port.
Western Carolina Lexington or Piedmont Style
1876 saw the introduction of the Heinz Ketchup, a development that was embraced in Western Carolina with style. The sauce often referred to as a dip in piedmont and Lexington areas is just like the Eastern sauce except for the addition of tomato sauce and paste.
The Texas-style sauce is a bit different from the other styles. Texas barbecue meats are cooked with “basting or mop sauce” since the sauce is applied with a mop. Unlike the thick ones, the Texas-style sauce is medium-thick, therefore, glazes and moistens meats. It also adds flavor to the meat as it smokes. Traditional restaurants in Texas like the sauce heavily seasoned with fresh onion, black pepper, chili pepper and powder, and cumin. However, there is less sugar and tomato. The medium-thick appearance of the sauce gives it the resemblance of tomato soup. As a result, it penetrates the meat and doesn’t just sit on it.
Alabama White Sauce
As the name implies, the Alabama Sauce is distinctive for its white mayonnaise-based sauce. People would enjoy having sauce as the side dish plus their Barbecue will find the Alabama sauce handy. Best applied to chicken and pork, the sauce can be milky, creamy, or thick. Other ingredients used include sugar, black pepper, apple cider vinegar, and salt.
Ingredient Based Sauce Styles
- Tomato-Based sauce: The tomato-based sauce is by far the commonest type. The sauce is characterized by a consistent thickness that is in the form of ketchup. One example of a tomato-based sauce is the Kansa City sauce. Thick, sweet, tangy, and ketchup like. This type of sauce will go on beef, lamb, pork, and chicken.
- Mustard-based sauce: This South Carolina sauce is an example of the mustard-based sauce. It is thin and spicy.
- Vinegar-based sauce: The vinegar-based sauce is thinner than the tomato-based sauce. As such, it is spicier. The North Carolina style is an example of a vinegar-based sauce. It is an excellent choice for pork as astringent flavor in it balances the fat in the pork.
- Mayonnaise-Based sauce: The Alabama sauce is a type of mayonnaise-based sauce. The sauce contains lemon juice, seasonings, flavors, and a bit of vinegar to make your barbecue choice less weird. The sauce is preferred for smoked chicken than pork.
When to Apply Barbecue Sauce?
If you are trying to coat your Barbecue for the first time, then it is vital not to apply your sauce too early into the grilling. Some people use the barbecue sauce before putting the meal on the grill while some just wait for it to cook. If you fall into either category, the result will be different from what you had in mind. This is because the sauce contains specific ingredients that can withstand particular temperatures. For example, sugar burns when you cook it at 139C. Hence, if your sauce contains sugar, it will burn and add an unpleasant flavor to your food if you cook it too early.
Another belief is that you should wait till your Barbecue is ready before you apply the sauce. As logical as this seems, there is a fault with the school of thought. This is because the meat or vegetables won’t have the chance to absorb the sauce flavors. By implication, what you will have is a raw sauce with no smoky flavor. The right temperature lets your meat soak in the flavors of the sauce
The Right time to apply
The best time to use the sauce when you are grilling is when your meal is almost done, say 15 mins to the end. Doing this will give you enough time for the heat to dissipate the rich flavors of the sauce, but not enough to burn the sauce. You can apply by brushing the sauce on your meat and add more coats as desired before the end. Be careful not to use a thick sauce on light beef or vegetables.
How Much Sauce Should You Use?
A single coat or two of BBQ sauce is enough to see you through your meal. As such, you shouldn’t load your meal with the whole gallon of sauce. Check for allergies and dietary requirements to further know how much you should use.
BBQ Sauce Buying Guide
More than knowing the best products in the market, let us look at some factors that you should consider before buying any sauce for your barbeque.
Determine your style
The place of origin of a sauce determines its flavor and texture. Although BBQ sauces are traceable to different areas, the prominent areas are America, the Caribbean, and Asia.
- American style sauce: The American sauce is the commonest of the three types and is characterized by the presence of vinegar, mayonnaise or tomato ketchup, and tomato paste. As a result, it provides a smoky, salty, and sweet flavor. Ingredients like black pepper, molasses, garlic, onion powder are few extra ingredients that are added for taste. Check out the section about Regional Barbecue Sauce Styles to know more about American style sauce.
- Caribbean Sauce: The jerk sauce features Jamaican thyme and pimento spice mix called fiery scotch bonnet to create a unique flavor. Although you can use the sauce for vegetables, fish, and other types of meat, it is best used for barbecued chicken.
- Asian Sauce: Asian sauce is more than a dipping sauce. This is because it is often used to marinate food as it is much thinner. The popular ingredients used include sesame base and soy, honey, pears, and apple.
Check your diary style and requirement
Although barbeque sources contain different simple ingredients with various flavors, we recommend that you check the product package for allergies or dietary requirements. For example, some sauces contain honey and fish pastes, ingredients that you won’t like as a vegan. The rule is to check the label before use rest assured that it won’t cause you any harm.
Watch your sugar level
Sugar or molasses is one of the primary ingredients used in barbecue sauces. The mixture of sugar, spices, and herbs gives it its sweet flavor. Be careful not to consume an entire bottle of sauce as the sugar will be too much. Although 30g is the recommended sugar consumer per day, we recommend that you stick to under 25g per 100g is you are watching your sugar level.
So there you have it on our review of the top 5 BBQ sauces. Get the sauce right, and let it be the final touch for a truly memorable barbecue. The best BBQ sauces come in handy for adding a smokey flavor to your meal. Take a cue from the information above and watch your barbecue sauce become the foundation for healthy and delicious meals.