Six Quintessential American BBQ Sauces

Six Quintessential American BBQ Sauces

At GQue BBQ, we understand that BBQ isn’t just about how meat is cooked. Geography, history, and human struggle have always played a role in the creation of BBQ (and food in general), and that’s incredibly evident in the creation of BBQ sauce in America. Here are a few of the classic staples of American BBQ sauce.

Alabama White Sauce

Originating from the Decatur area, Alabama White Sauce is an unconventional yet tasty BBQ option. It has a mayonnaise base and hints of vinegar and apple flavor, which is a departure from the traditional, ketchup-based BBQ sauces that are so popular in the US today. While Alabama White Sauce doesn’t often end up on red meat BBQ, it’s an excellent pairing for BBQ’d birds like chicken and turkey, and according to many southerners, an essential item in the refrigerator.

Kansas City Sweet Red Sauce

Kansas City Sweet Red Sauce is exactly what comes to mind when you think of BBQ sauce: super red, super saucy, and super sweet. It’s the quintessential BBQ sauce in America, which is why it goes so well with a heaping rack of ribs, a BBQ restaurant classic. Most sweet red sauces have a ketchup base, brown sugar notes, and just enough spice to keep things interesting, which is why it’s so easy to drown your meat it in it from time to time.  

Texas-Style Sauce

Everything is big in Texas—including the flavor of a Texas-style BBQ sauce. This sauce is well-known for its heat (usually coming from hot sauce and a little worcestershire), and its fatty flavor, which comes from chopped up bits of brisket fat mixed into the sauce. While some Texans don’t like BBQ sauce tainting their brisket, this sauce has enough Texas style to be a true BBQ classic.


South Carolina Mustard Sauce

Pork and mustard are a match made in heaven—just ask South Carolina. BBQ mustard sauce is a true favorite of the Palmetto State because of its spicy, tangy, and unexpected flavor profile, and its near-perfect partnership with a BBQ favorite: the pulled pork sandwich. While traditional sweet-red BBQ sauces have a ketchup base and are sweetened with molasses, South Carolina BBQ sauce has a mustard base, and is sweetened with cane sugar. It’s a truly original take on BBQ sauce, with a one-of-a-kind flavor.

Eastern North Carolina BBQ Sauce

Eastern North Carolina takes a minimal approach to BBQ sauce, making it the ideal BBQ companion for those who don’t like to lose the taste of meat in a sea of sauce. The ingredients are simple: cider vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and a little sugar—a combination that provides big-time taste, without the mess and sauciness of a sweet-red sauce. It’s truly an ode to meat, and according to natives of the area, there’s only one way to prepare it: as a sauce for a whole hog.

Western North Carolina Sauce

While the purists of Eastern North Carolina might find western ways to be a bit sacrilegious, the BBQ connoisseurs of Western North Carolina view their take on BBQ sauce as a natural evolution of North Carolina cuisine. Westerners took the Eastern recipe, and simply added ketchup and brown sugar—additions that makes for sweeter, more substantial sauce for BBQ fare.

Which side of North Carolina wins the BBQ battle? Perhaps the only true winners are our taste buds.

At GQue BBQ, we understand that a good sauce can transform a BBQ dish. Stop by and try our original sauces, and taste Denver’s Best BBQ today!