A Regional Guide to Barbecue Sauce

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Just as those in Northern cities and states lay claim to different styles of pizza, hot dogs and clam chowder, many in the South have passionate ideas for what barbecue sauce should be. Sweet, smoky, tangy, sticky, crimson and white — there’s no shortage of flavors, looks and textures when it comes to creating the ultimate meat accompaniment.

On the latest episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts broke down barbecue sauces by region, looking at the signature elements of each — and sharing how simple it is to make them all at home, no matter where you live. Read on below for four of the most-common ‘cue sauces, then tell us in the comments which is your favorite.

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce (Texas Style)

All it takes is a bit of cayenne pepper to provide a punch of heat to this sauce, the spiciest of the bunch here. Since this recipe also calls for hearty tomato paste, sweet brown sugar and smoky bacon fat, there’s plenty of full flavors to ease the heat and ensure it’s not overwhelming.

Sweet and Sticky BBQ Sauce (Kansas City Style)

Featuring a base of ketchup, molasses and brown sugar, this thick sauce is indeed packed with sugar, but the sweetness is hardly overwhelming. The key is balancing those ingredients with a splash of tangy apple cider vinegar and the umami-like funk of Worcestershire sauce for well-rounded results.

Tangy Mustard BBQ Sauce (South Carolina Style)

Believe it or not, the very mustard you smear on a sandwich stars in this tried-and-true barbecue sauce. Here yellow mustard comes together with a squeeze of honey and onion and garlic powders for a classically simple sauce.

White BBQ Sauce (Alabama Style)

Creamy is the name of the game here, as rich mayonnaise forms the base of this five-minute sauce. Thanks to the addition of vinegar and horseradish, though, the sauce isn’t especially heavy and boasts a welcome bite.

Tune in to The Kitchen on Saturdays at 11a|10c.