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Bringing my own sauce to a BBQ joint - did I do wrong?


The best BBQ joint in St Louis is Pappy;s Smokehouse - they claim to be Memphis Style - they serve their meat wichout sauce but with rub and it is GOOD

The meat is unsauced (but moist) and on the tables are three different tomatoey sauces - hot, sweet and spicy. I happen to like pulled pork with peppered vinegar sauce (South Carolina style) so I brought a bottle of my homade sauce to the restaurant and put it on my sandwich with their coleslaw.

Wifey told me I should not have brought my sauce to the restraunt - what do you say??

  1. I say do what you want. I don't see the harm in it. It's not like you showed up with a brown bag lunch, bought a pop from them, and sat down to tuck in, LOL!

    1. There have been a ton of "bringing one's own item to a restaurant" threads, from teabags to wine to birthday cakes to halal options. The responses cover every square inch of territory on the following considerations, so much so that I have nothing to add:

      - liability risks on the restaurant's part when diners consume what the restaurant cannot control
      - etiquette basics of checking beforehand
      - etiquette basics of responding to the request/discovery
      - costs/margins
      - when the restaurant offers what is being brought in
      - when the restaurant doesn't offer anything to meet religious/dietary restrictions

      For this example, one question: why not take-out?

      1. Over the years, I have seen friends and customers carry personal squeeze bottles of honey for their coffee or tea.....due to allergy concerns and a desire for a sweet beverage. I also know of many who carry in their favorite hot sauces too. I see this example as a simple extension of those practices.

        1. I agree with your wife.

          If it had been a date, it would have been the last one. Yes, a dealbreaker. Only the tip of the iceberg.

          Next time, do take out.

          2 Replies
            1. re: OCAnn

              Any date that has a problem with this isn't worth taking out again.

          1. There are so many tales on Chowhoud, from NYers bringing rye bread into a deli - they love the hot corned beef but don't like the packaged rye bread - to people on a diet bringing their own salad dressing to folks using their own chopsticks at a Chinese restaurant or bringing in baby food or a bottle for their baby.

            I'm not sure why anyone would have a problem with any of the above.

            1. Those kind of shenanigans would get you gut shot in some of the Oklahoma bbq joints.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Firegoat

                Then clearly OK bbq joints are good places to avoid.

                1. re: ZenSojourner

                  Only if you like avoiding really good food.

              2. In general bringing in outside food, even condiments is frowned upon. They prepare the food there they way they think it should be cooked and served. If you don't like it, you should find someplace else to eat. If you insist on bringing a modifier, then at least use it discretely, which does not include putting the bottle of your home made juice on the table (or encouraging everyone else at your table to try it.)

                1. Good BBQ joints have good sauce that pairs well with their meat and rub. Different regions use different parts of the pig, different cooking techniques, and different fuels, all of which change the taste and texture of the meat. I would never dream of bringing my own BBQ sauce, to me that is like bringing your own marinara to an Italian restaurant. If you must try your own sauce on their meat, get some to go and sauce at home.

                  1. Personally, I would never bring my own. If I can't eat what the restaurant serves, I should not go there. I would find another place to eat. I agree with the "take out" if you want your own sauce.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: boyzoma

                      agree. I think it's rude and childish. Get it take-out if you want to doctor the food up. What's next, bring your own fries since they have frozen? Bring your own mexican coke since theirs has corn syrup? come on. Eat it as is or get it to go.

                    2. With something like BBQ, and esp. with regional parochialism with respect to "styles", I would think bringing your own sauce (BYOS?) to a BBQ joint would be like taking your own container of cream to a place that serves Manhattan Clam Chowder.

                      Pappy's is probably trying to provide a certain type of BBQ -- i.e., Memphis style as you say -- and your efforts to BYOS is destroying that pedigree.

                      It's like an affront to their very reason for existence -- culinarily speaking, of course.

                      1. I don't know remember exactly where I saw this recently......but I believe it was on another thread about eggs and a you tube video about the BLT egg sandwich prepared for the movie Spanglish........In the video, Thomas Keller clearly indicates/explains he (and other chefs) carries a salt box/vessel of salt in his pocket and never leaves home without it for seasoning his food when out in public. How's this different from what the OP did?

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: fourunder

                          What's the difference between salt & BBQ sauce? Really?

                          1. re: OCAnn

                            It's the act, not the product....and btw, it wasn't BBQ sauce.

                            1. re: fourunder

                              Well, it's akin to hitting a nail with a hammer v sledge hammer. An act is not always an act.

                              If you invited someone over to dinner and they brought homemade sauce to flavour their food, wouldn't you be offended? I would. With salt, not so much. Salt often enhances; while sauce detracts/distracts and essentially says, "your sauce isn't good enough."

                              1. re: OCAnn

                                So it's your position sauces cannot enhance or compliment, only detract or distract? An act is not always an act? Really?

                                A person brings over a sauce......it can't be a gift, now can it? How about if he offers it to everyone?..... certainly, still in bad taste. How about they bring over an apple pie or cake and a bottle of wine......does this really mean what you have for the evening is inferior? Really, what's the big deal.

                                Lets take this a step further......you stop at a world renowned butcher where you pick up some dry-aged steaks or Imported Kobe Beef. You invite this person over for dinner. but he doesn't bring anything at all...sauce for his steak, a bottle of wine or something for dessert.....or even a house warming gift.........now, during dinner service you present a beautiful and perfectly prepared steak to this person and he asks you for a bottle of ketchup. Would I be offended? No I wouldn't and I could care less......Actually, I would be laughing instead.

                                Again, what's the big deal? To surmise the chef would be insulted, this is bad manners or poor behavior is stretching the issue a bit too far.....After all, It's only a condiment.

                                1. re: fourunder

                                  yes, i would be insulted and would probably not invite the clod back.

                                  1. re: fourunder

                                    The question was the OPs wife saying he shouldn't have brought his own sauce.

                                    She is the one who was mortified/offended/embarassed by his actions.

                                    For that reason alone, he should not have done it.

                                    1. re: Cathy

                                      the response you referenced has nothing to do with the OP's original post. It was in response to OCAnn about being offended or not with a different situation. As for this:

                                      * She is the one who was mortified/offended/embarassed by his actions.*

                                      I do not see where the OP indicates any of the three emotions experienced by his wife you have listed.....rather, he says that she told him he should not have done it.....after the fact. He doesn't indicate his wife gave him any directions not to do anything at all, one way or another.

                                      1. re: fourunder

                                        Something happened that the OP felt he should ask complete strangers from around the world if we agreed with his wife's statement.

                                        1. re: Cathy

                                          bingo. you shouldn't make your dining partner cringe.

                                    2. re: OCAnn

                                      1. an act is an act.....just not by your standards. Substituting words changes the argument in your mind for the very same act.

                                      2. That's fine

                                      3. What's the big deal? To each is own......exactly my point.

                                      1. re: fourunder

                                        1. A sauce is a whole different ball game from salt. If you don't get it, no big deal.

                                        2. I'm not talking about gifts; that would be another thread.

                                        3. What's the big deal? Obviously, you don't agree and I'm not going to argue with you. To each his own.

                                2. re: fourunder

                                  Do these restaurants make their own specialty salt? If so, that would be kind of not okay. Every good bbq joint I go to they make their own sauce. It is a part of the experience.

                                  1. re: Firegoat

                                    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the OP indicates the BBQ House has three "tomatoey" sauces. He prefers a peppered vinegar sauce with his pulled pork. He can't have (enjoy) it his way?

                                    1. re: fourunder

                                      Well of course the OP can have it his way. I don't recall the OP saying he was kicked out or anything or even got any dirty looks. The question I think is should he. Mind you, I'm biased, I'm in BBQ country and frequent a lot of the tiny dives where there are 5 kinds of linoleum on the floor and you get paper plates and the proprietor won't let his female employees even handle the money. And I'm friends with a couple of bbq judges who talk shop every time I see them. Doesn't mean my opinion is any better than anyone elses, just trying to say where i come from. Y'know, if you can pull it off without the owner seeing it? Go for it. The joints I go to are usually about 8-12 tables and you can't do ANYTHING without the owner seeing it and coming over personally to check and make sure the food is great. So my opinion based on my experiences is no, you should not do that unless you are at some big barn of a place.

                                  2. re: fourunder

                                    oh, and if it was in a movie, it must be true, and it must be ok. god forbid he use the salt on the table.

                                  3. It's bad manners, and insults the chef.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. how about suggesting to the owner they get some of the sauces you like or could you bring a new bottle and leave it there with your name on it for future visits?

                                      1. I say stop wussing and feeling guilty. You pay your money and have your food like you want it. I spent two years in the service in North Carolina and the word barbecue meant one thing: pork shoulder that was slow smoked, chopped, dressed with a nice vinegar sauce and served on a roll with slaw. That was barbecue. They ask you a question tell them you love their pig (which you do) but you miss the south too and like that little tase of home once in a while. If they throw you out, they throw you out. This is not a communion host, it's pork.

                                        ps, and if my date did it on the first date, I think it being the last might also depend on whether or not she a) had a good sense of humor, b) had a law degree or at least some common sense, and c) looked pretty good.

                                        1. BBQ is informal dining, so the rules here are:

                                          1. For you: don't bring the sauce if it makes your wife uncomfortable; and
                                          2. For your wife: Don't offer an unsolicited opinion that you husband is violating manners in an informal restaurant.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Karl S

                                            And don't expect to get east coast BBQ in a St. Louis joint.

                                          2. Folks, this thread is already going down the nasty path that these etiquette threads so often do, with personal attacks and sniping back and forth. We're going to lock it.