Serious Eats: Recipes
Sauced: Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce
Whether there is a true style to a sauce in a city that prefers their barbecue "dry" is a debate for the ages. Through the rumblings I'm sure will follow, what is fairly solid is as we move east from Kansas City, barbecue sauce starts to transform from thick and sweet, to the thinner and tangier kind.
This "Memphis-style" is my favorite to make at home—it takes the aspects of sweet tomato-based sauces I grew up on, but by dialing back the sugar and amping up the vinegar, creates a sauce where seasonings and spice are more defined and achieves a pleasing balance between the main defining aspects of a barbecue sauce.
It's also a champion of usability. This thinner sauce bakes into tasty layers and caramelizes beautifully. It creates a flavor-packed sheen when finished on ribs and is an excellent consistency for dipping. Slop it on a pile of pulled pork—although, topping pulled pork is a serious matter in North Carolina, and brings up a whole different style of sauce.
About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.