Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Tour of BBQ Sauces

Over the years I have tried a lot of different types of BBQ sauce. I thought I would run through a little exercise for myself to decide which one is my favorite. If anyone would like to throw their two cents in, please feel free. I have broken down the competitors as follows:

1.) Memphis Style

A moderately thick, sweeter sauce made up tomato, vinegar and brown sugar base with additional spices ranging from mild to hot.

2.) Kansas City Style

A very thick and sweet sauce with a tomato and molasses base.

3.) St. Louis

A tomato and vinegar based sauce that is essentially a thinner, less sweet version of Kansas City style BBQ sauce.

4.) South Carolina

A mustard based based sauce that is generally paired with pulled pork.

Now I fully recognize that this list is far from complete. I have not yet had the privilege to travel to some of U.S BBQ hotbeds, something I'm hoping to do next summer. I am going off what I have the most experience with for this comparison.

Now I do like Memphis and Kansas City Style sauces a lot. The thicker texture and sweet flavor make both of them a nice complement to any meat. My only issue would be, and this does depend on the sauce, that these types of sauces can sometimes overwhelm the flavor of the rub and the meat and should be used sparingly so that they provide good flavor without masking the taste of the meat you have been cooking for 14 hours.

South Carolina is also a great sauce, especially with Pork, but is generally a little thinner and depending on the sauce can be a little too tangy for my tastes.

What I have found is that I like a good balance of texture, sweetness and just the right amount of tanginess (not sure if this is a word or not, but you see where I am going). In the end my conclusion is that I am a St. Louis BBQ sauce guy. It's not too thick, not too sweet and works well with pork, brisket, ribs and just about any other barbequed meat out there.

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