Texas Living

Barbecue Sauces of the South

By Celia Bryan-Brown 7.1.18

There’s nothing quite like firing up the grill or hunkering down for a long slow-cook in the oven or over a fire pit. We can all agree that Texas barbecue is the best. But one thing we can never seem to agree on is the sauce.

Depending on who you ask, sauce is either necessary or blasphemy to a great barbecue. And then, you have arguments over whether it should be spicy, tangy, smoky, or sweet.

So in an effort to get everyone’s side of the story, we’ve cast our nets wide to find some of the best recipes from the most barbecue-diehard states of the South. We think they’ll convert even the staunchest no-sauce viewpoints.

Texas Hillbilly Mop Sauce

Texas knows how to go big, and flavor is no exception. The classic mop sauce is a cross between a marinade and a table sauce, used to pack in layer after layer of flavor as you baste the meat during cooking. It’s a classic with brisket. Why not try using a large bunch of woody herbs instead of a mop barbecue brush next time? Try this recipe.

Alabama White Sauce

We could never leave out the legendary Big Bob Gibson’s mayo-based invention. Created to complement his sweet hickory-smoked chicken, it’s naturally a winner with smoked white meats. Try this recipe.

barbecue sauces

North Carolina Vinegar Sauce

This is barbecue sauce as pure as it gets: a potent blend of white or cider vinegar with chili flakes, a whole load of peppers, and sometimes some sugar to take the edge off. This recipe hails from barbecue’s roots, when sauces were used purely as a counterpoint to the fattiness of the whole hog they were served with. Try this recipe.

Memphis Sweet ’n’ Sour

Tangy and sweet with a delicious vinegary kick, this tomato-based sauce is a barbecue staple. Tending to the runny side, with a kick of pepper, the sweet-and-sour sauce is best laid on thick with the dry-rubbed ribs beloved in Memphis, Tennessee. Try this recipe.

barbecue sauces

Kansas City Brown Sauce

This one is as sweet as it is tart and hot. Inspired by the 1970s classic KC Masterpiece, this is the style you’ll most likely find bottled in your local store — but it’s worth the extra elbow grease for homemade. Try this recipe.

South Carolina Mustard Sauce

Straight from South Carolina’s Mustard Belt, this classic sauce is a testament to the region’s German heritage. Simply yellow mustard thinned with vinegar and the usual hot spices, it’s a must-try with pork — the fattier, the better! Try this recipe.

Getting thirsty? Every barbecue needs a Texas sweet tea.

© 2018 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance