How to Make and Use Barbecue Sauce Recipes


The ins and outs of various barbecue sauce recipes is something that people could actually argue over (some people anyway).

I think the arguments, if they really happen, are about regional variations, tastes and traditions and therefore pride.

Everybody thinks their way is best!

Tennessee and Kentucky add bourbon to their sauces.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

It's vinegar and pepper in most of North Carolina, or mustard in most of the South. Mexican salsa in Texas. Olive oil, garlic and parsley in France. In parts of Scandinavia Juniper is the thing.

So it turns out that the regional barbecue sauce recipe is the defining ingredient in so many parts.

Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipes

Mopping Sauces

A basting sauce or mopping sauce is basted (or mopped, with a small mop made for the purpose) on to meat at regular periods throughout cooking to add flavor.

These tend to be thin vinegar based sauces which won't burn if they are cooked for long periods of time.

Baste these on to pork for pulled pork - they are great examples of basting sauce applied at regular intervals through the smoking process.

Finishing Sauces

A variation on the mopping sauce is the finishing sauce. These tend to have a hefty quantity of sugar among the ingredients, which will caramelize in a few minutes, or will burn if left to barbecue too long.

Hence the name finishing sauce - you brush it on for the final stage of cooking only after the meat is actually cooked - but before you take it off the BBQ.

Finishing sauces need just long enough to cook and darken, and add another layer of flavor. BBQ pork ribs are usually made this way.

Actually the Carolina gold is added after cooking has ended altogether and mixed up with the chopped or shredded pork - so isn't really a finishing sauce I suppose.

Tips for Using BBQ Finishing Sauces

  • Finishing sauces are all applied after the meat is cooked, but before it is actually served. If you're using low indirect heat, this means the last 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Heat the sauce in a pan or microwave before before you apply it, it sticks to the meat better.
  • Many finishing sauces are pretty damn sweet, so go easy with them; too much and the whole thing starts to taste like dessert. One coat should be enough.
  • Some people like their sauce to be a little blackened and crispy, which is great if you can get it right - apply it earlier in that case, but only by an extra few minutes.
  • Cheat and use a blow torch if need be.

Dipping Sauces

And here's a couple more:

  • From the Spanish Canary Islands, tangy mojo sauce and exported across the Atlantic
  • And all the way from Argentina, chimichurri sauce.

Dipping Sauce could cover all sorts of condiment sauces from all over the world - Aioli, mayo, ketchup, salad dressing, salsa, soy, plain olive oil, honey, chutney - you name it, they all count somewhere.

Serve them at room temperature, but never straight from the refrigerator - they're too cold and taste just wrong! They tend to be served on the side of the main dish to literally dip food in, or poured over the top of the food as it is served.

Brand Barbecue Sauces

If you haven't got the time or inclination to make barbecue sauce recipes from scratch, or want something for the stock cupboard that will keep forever, try a brand made version. BBQ sauces come in all styles and flavors - there are thousands of products to suit all tastes.

Personally I go for any brand that guarantees all ingredients are natural and that it doesn't contain things like MSG, artificial sweeteners, gluten or corn syrup, etc.

There is a whole cottage industry of BBQ lovers selling their own homemade BBQ sauces. Believe it or not, Amazon is a great place to buy BBQ sauce, even from quite small scale producers - and most have been reviewed by buyer.

Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipes

Mopping & Basting Sauces

Finishing Sauces

Dipping Sauces

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