Basic Barbecue Sauce
This is midwestern barbecue sauce at its most elemental: a tomato-based potion that takes about 15 minutes to make, is easy to modify, and, despite its resemblance to the generic bottled sauces that you'll find at any American supermarket, blows them right out of the water.
Kansas City-Style Barbecue Sauce
When you're talking barbecue outside the South, you're usually talking Kansas City-Style. A thick, sweet, ketchup-heavy sauce like this one works almost anywhere. Spread it on burgers, mix it into beans, brush it on ribs, and enjoy.
Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce
Memphians have long preferred dry rubs to sauce. Still, a distinctly Memphis-style barbecue sauce can be found at many of the city's barbecue joints. Like Memphis itself, the sauce is about halfway between the sweet, ketchupy Midwest and the tangy Carolinas.
Western North Carolina's barbecue sauce, locally known as “dip,” is hot, thin, and tangy, with a strong vinegar kick that complements, but doesn't overwhelm, the flavor of pulled pork. There are at least 21 barbecue joints in the 19,000-resident town of Lexington, North Carolina, where this sauce was perfected. The best-known is the simply-titled Lexington Barbecue, which serves its pork with Lexington's famous red slaw.
Eastern Carolina Vinegar Sauce
If you're from North Carolina, or have spent much time there, you've probably already picked sides in the the never-ending eastern-versus-western-Carolina barbecue debate. While sauces on both sides of the state are vinegar-based, eastern North Carolina sauce cuts tomato altogether for a light, spicy condiment that's almost entirely vinegar.
South Carolina Mustard Sauce
As this map demonstrates, South Carolina hosts variations on every major style of barbecue in the Southeast. What makes the state special, though, is its mustard sauce. Developed by German immigrants, this sauce is popular within South Carolina but, for whatever reason—its unusual base, maybe—has never quite made it out.
Alabama White Sauce
Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur, Alabama, invented the mayonnaise-and-vinegar concoction called white sauce and remains ground zero for its production and consumption. These days, though, you can find white sauce just about anywhere in northern Alabama and in many parts of Tennessee. The sauce usually served on chicken or turkey, but it's good on pulled pork too. Come to think of it, isn't mayonnaise good on pretty much everything?
Dr. Pepper Barbecue Sauce
According to Josh, Dr. Pepper gives this sweet sauce "tang and depth that you would probably never be able to put your finger on if you didn't know what it was." Impress the neighbors with your secret ingredient when you serve it on ribs this summer.
Mango Habanero Barbecue Sauce
Cherry Barbecue Sauce
This sauce unfolds with a fruity, spicy complexity guaranteed to wipe the grin off your bottle of KC Masterpiece.
Stout Barbecue Sauce
This sauce, best on ribs, is a hearty one. Bring it out on those cold, rainy summer days when the cookout moves inside.
Hoisin Barbecue Sauce
Sweet hoisin sauce is already the defining ingredient in most Chinese "barbecue" dishes. This sauce combines two great barbecue traditions into a full-flavored condiment that layers the rich flavors of hoisin onto a tangy American base.