A Regional Guide to Barbecue Sauce

Set photography from the production of Food Network's, The Kitchen, episodes 1001-1005 on May 18-20, 2016. Photo By Todd Plitt for BSTV

Photo by: Todd Plitt

Todd Plitt

Set photography from the production of Food Network's, The Kitchen, episodes 1001-1005 on May 18-20, 2016. Photo By Todd Plitt for BSTV

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.

Set photography from the production of Food Network's, The Kitchen, episodes 1001-1005 on May 18-20, 2016. Photo By Todd Plitt for BSTV

Photo by: Todd Plitt

Todd Plitt

Set photography from the production of Food Network's, The Kitchen, episodes 1001-1005 on May 18-20, 2016. Photo By Todd Plitt for BSTV

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.

Set photography from the production of Food Network's, The Kitchen, episodes 1001-1005 on May 18-20, 2016. Photo By Todd Plitt for BSTV

Photo by: Todd Plitt

Todd Plitt

Set photography from the production of Food Network's, The Kitchen, episodes 1001-1005 on May 18-20, 2016. Photo By Todd Plitt for BSTV

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.

Set photography from the production of Food Network's, The Kitchen, episodes 1001-1005 on May 18-20, 2016. Photo By Todd Plitt for BSTV

Photo by: Todd Plitt

Todd Plitt

Set photography from the production of Food Network's, The Kitchen, episodes 1001-1005 on May 18-20, 2016. Photo By Todd Plitt for BSTV

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.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Liquid Gold: Regional BBQ Sauces

Upgrade your barbecue sauce with help from six legendary pit masters in South Carolina, Memphis, North Carolina, Texas, Kansas City and Kentucky.

Regional Barbecue Road Trip: Memphis

Regional Barbecue Road Trip: Memphis

Regional Barbecue Road Trip: Carolinas


Here are 5 must-try spots for an ultimate Carolina barbecue tour, plus where to find great Carolina 'cue outside of the Carolinas.

Chefs’ Picks: Regional Dishes

Chefs give Food Network the inside story on their favorite regional specialties from across the country. We're talking barbecue, tacos and more.

Regional Thai Cuisine

Rice, pork, nuts, shellfish, squid, lime, grains, oysters and more

How to Make a Basic Tomato Sauce: A Step-by-Step Guide

Read these simple steps for making a delicious tomato sauce, then watch our how-to video.

Make Your Own BBQ Sauce

Add extra sizzle to your cookouts. Whip up a batch of homemade barbecue sauce to slather on burgers, chops, chicken, seafood and veggies. The best part is, you control the ingredients.

Is It Healthy: Bottled BBQ Sauce

Are bottled barbecue sauces a smart choice or just plain bad for your health?

Carolina vs. Colorado: Regional Food Fight

Super Bowl 50 pits a Southeastern barbecue powerhouse against a Colorado city known for stellar Mexican food and microbrews, promising a fierce battle on the food front.