BBQ Sauce by Region

From my good friends at The Sausage Maker:

“BBQ Sauce By Region

Barbeque sauce. There are so many kinds it can be a bit overwhelming to find the right sauce to compliment your dish. Of course, you can make your own. You can release your inner alchemist and stand over the pot making adding a little bit of this, taste it, add some of this or that until it has reached perfection. Of course, no one expects to slave over the stove making a sauce for your causal barbecue, unless you love it.

Throughout the southern United States there are many styles of barbeque and with each style comes its own sauce. The sauces used in the Carolinas are far different from the sauces used in Texas, and the sauces used in Texas are far different from those used in Alabama. With such a variety of sauces that range from incredibly simple to amazingly complex, it is no wonder why people love them so much.

With the amount of sauces there are for barbecue, we could go on for days and days explaining each one. So, we picked out our top five regions of the United States and picked our favorite style of sauce (or mop) from each. The following are our favorites, in no particular order.

South Carolina –  Mustard Sauce

In South Carolina there is usually a good chance that if you get barbecue, you’re going to get a mustard sauce slathered on top. The mustard based sauce is usually found in the areas around Charleston and Columbia. The sauce goes perfectly with pork, you can’t go wrong with mustard sauce on pork, it is to die for. Here is the recipe:

Texas – Mop Sauce

This one is tough to describe, quickly. There is a ton of great barbecue in the Lone Star state, and one of the most popular outside of the state is the mop sauce. The mop sauce usually starts with drippings, seasonings, and ketchup. The sauce resembles a very thin tomato soup, and adds so much flavor to your barbeque.  Here is a recipe for a Texas mop sauce:

Memphis Dry Rub Ribs –  Vinegar Mop

Now, Memphis doesn’t have a sauce, per say. Down in Memphis there is a way of cooking succulent ribs with a rub and a mop that will knock your socks off. A mop sauce will make or break your BBQ, so using one correctly can make your BBQ so tender you’ll just want more. Memphis knows its stuff when it comes to barbecue, because of their wonderful dry rub ribs. These ribs are charcoal grilled, mopped with a vinegar sauce, and then crusted with a spice rub (of choice). There are plenty of ways to go about this, the vinegar sauce can be tweaked in many ways. Here is a link to a simple vinegar mop: and a link to a Memphis Dry Rub Rib Tutorial:

Kansas City – Tomato and Sugar Sauce

Kansas City is the birthplace of the tomato and sugar sauce. We can thank Heinz, K.C. Masterpiece, and the other bottled sauce brands that almost every American knows exclusively as barbecue sauce. Most of these sauces don’t represent the sauces served in Kansas City. The heavy tomato sauces coat the barbecue with its intense sweet and smoky flavor. Most of these sauces are prepared with molasses or brown sugar, with some vinegar, pepper, and other ingredients as the cook sees fit. Here is a recipe for a homemade heavy tomato sauce:

Lexington Style BBQ Sauce

Vinegar sauce, the most basic of BBQ sauces. It is one of the easiest to make, and one of the easiest to customize. In Lexington, Kentucky this type of sauce is generally found. In Lexington it is generally a base vinegar sauce, then they add a bit of tomato paste or ketchup to thicken and sweeten the vinegar based “Dip.” Vinegar sauce is best served with whole hog or pork shoulder. The sweetness and smokiness of pork barbecue is perfectly complemented by the vinegar’s acidic tang. Here is a link to make your own vinegar sauce: “

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