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How Do You Like Your BBQ Sauce?

Sweet? Spicy? Tart? Tomatoey? Thick? Thin? Mustardy? Hot?

Personally, I like my sauce to be quite thin, tart, hot and spicy. For me, this means a recipe containing Coke, a healthy blast of chili powder, and a nice hit of vinegar.

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  1. Thick, tart, vinegar with a little tomato, hint of dates or raisins, NO MUSTARD (i'm allergic) cooked on the meat/fowl, NOT for dipping

    6 Replies
    1. re: bagelman01

      I assume you apply the sauce late in the cooking process. Early application, particularly if the sauce has a substantial sugar content, results in burnt sauce. But perhaps some people like it that way.

      1. re: Perilagu Khan

        I sauce for the final 25 minutes, after I have turned the grill off and let the meat finish cooking while the grill temp drops from 500F to 150F. Get a great coating and the meat ends up fully cooked and tender.

        If the BBQ is being made in my smoker (generally brisket or turkey) then I don't use sauce, but dry rubs.

        1. re: Perilagu Khan

          Actually in my case you are 100% correct. When using a BBQ sauce on the grill I start early and continue throughout the cooking process to give different levels or taste to the sauce. For an example if we are talking chicken......I coat them generously when I place them on the grill and by the end the tips/end of the skin is generally burnt with a nice BBQ flavor burned into the meat. Then as bagleman points out just before serving once last coat and let sit for 5 minutes till more dry than wet..........

          1. re: jrvedivici

            Interesting. I'd be willing to sample some of that yardbird.

            1. re: jrvedivici

              My dad does this too and it's delicious! The chicken skin ends up with an almost lacquered, smoky crispy finish. Heavenly...

        2. Thick or thin is fine, but I prefer it on the tart side, a bit of spice, plenty of complexity. Maull's is one of the few bottled versions I enjoy, but it's only available near St. Louis, MO. If I can't get Maull's, I generally make my own, with a tomato base, coffee, vinegar, garlic, onion, Worcestershire, chiles, etc.

          1. Thick, sweet, and spicy......I'm getting hungry.....

            11 Replies
            1. re: KSlink

              Hmmm. You sound like a Kansas Cityan.

              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                Well, my roots go back to Ohio but I was brought up in New England.....

                1. re: KSlink

                  Well, if you find yourself in KC, I think you'll really enjoy the cue. Now I'm a Texan, but I must admit I thoroughly relished the BBQ I had at Gates, which is an institution there.

                  (If I uttered those words in the Texas Hill Country sticks, they'd truss me up and drag me through a field of prickly pear and mesquite.)

              2. re: KSlink

                Nearly every BBQ sauce I make is thick, sweet and spicy.

                1. re: chefathome

                  I have to stop being so lazy and start making my own again, there really isn't anything quite like it!

                  1. re: KSlink


                    I only began making my own sauce within the last year or so, but it really is miles ahead of anything I've bought in a store. Having said that, I do not put any sauce at all on my favorite BBQ, which is spare ribs.

                    1. re: KSlink

                      Yes - I haven't bought any for years. I really like experimenting with different flavours and think I now have it narrowed down to my top 5 faves or so.

                      1. re: chefathome

                        so....um.......are you guys gonna give us any hints on what you?.....grins........like a recipe?

                        1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                          Here ya' go, bro. I thought you'd never ask.

                          2/3 cup Coke
                          1/2 cup ketchup
                          2 1/2 T. white vinegar
                          2 T. minced onion
                          1/3 T. black pepper
                          3/4 T. brown sugar
                          3/4 T. salt
                          3/4 T. chili powder

                          1. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
                          2. Reduce to a low simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

                          This is a modified version of the sauce that Underwood's BBQ in Brownwood, Texas makes.

                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                            Damn.....simple... and sounds good! But no Garlic? I'll try it (modified with the big G)


                            1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                              Yeah, it doesn't get much more straightforward than that. And it is plenty delicious.

                2. Lots of Garlic, lots of spice, maybe with some asian overtones, depending on what I'm eating. Even if I use a bottled sauce, I usually play around with it adding more Garlic, hot sauce and either some fruit chutney or honey. Not so big on Mustard but a light mustard hint is ok

                  1. For me, I like most types, but it really depends on the meat. But I'm not a fan of candy food so I tend to shy away from thick gloppy sweet stuff and go towards the tangier, spicier, thinner types. And NEVER while cooking, only as a condiment at the table. Good BBQ never really needs sauce, just like a pretty lady never really needs makeup. But sometimes it can make a great thing even better.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: acgold7

                      "Good BBQ never really needs sauce, just like a pretty lady never really needs makeup."

                      Or clothes! ;)

                    2. Medium thickness, tangy and slightly spicy.

                      But I also think it depends on what I'm using it on. I'll be making a pork chop tonight and will "finish simmer" it in some homemade BBQ sauce. For that, I'd like it a bit thicker than usual, as I'll also probably drizzle some of the sauce over egg noodles served alongside.

                      1. Vinegar and Red pepper. Eastern NC bbq and sauce is my fave!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Mcooper

                          That's it? Vinegar and red pepper? And what kind of red pepper do you have in mind? Crushed pizza pepper? Cayenne? And what kind of vinegar, come to think of it?

                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                            Yeah, usually it's apple cider vinegar, crushed red pepper, a little salt and sugar. I'm sure some put in some cayenne if they feel like it. Served along side whole hog chopped BBQ (not pulled shoulder and a tomato/vinegar based sauce like is popular in the west - it's also very good, just not my fave) It works really well to bring out the flavors of the meat.

                        2. Strong, with a lot of umami- a little sweet or not, some smoky is good, vinegar is a huge NO, citrus or citric acid okay, medium thick, and on the side for me to dress as I wish.

                          1. As long as it's not a sugar bomb, I like a variety. Mostly, I like vinegary, a bit tomatoey, smokey and spicy stuff. I hate anything that makes candied meat.

                            1. I'm surprised I didn't see this specifically mentioned yet....but when it comes to BBQ sauce for me for the past two years since discovering it has been only Sweet Baby Ray's for me!! This is the best overall BBQ sauce I have ever tasted.

                              If I want it spiced up a bit for for something like spicey BBQ wings...then I mix a littley cayenne pepper in it etc. I use it plain or flavor it as my tastes desire but that is the only BBQ sauce I use.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                It's mentioned a lot in threads asking for bottled sauce reccos. But this thread is about characteristics, not brands. There's a link on the right side of this page to such a thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787010

                                1. re: mcf

                                  mcf - need to put a space in between "brands." and the URL. It's picking up the "brands." as part of the URL.

                              2. Prefer not too sweet, usually tomato based, I like a little orange juice and peel in it. Frequently add a little maple syrup, sometimes oyster, soy and hoisin. Always garlic, and some kind of acid. Prefer it on the acidic side over the sweet side. Personal and other diners preferences come into play as well as the meat...the mood...and the motivation.

                                1. 99% of the time....NO sauce for me. ~~ I want to taste the meat, and complimentary seasonings (spices and a little smoke) for the particular meat being cooked ~~ I do, at times, make a vinegar based sauce/mop/sop/etc for chicken, and I will, as a special request from the little brown-eyed girl, lightly glaze a slab the last 5 or so minutes on the fire. ~~ Any sauces, if any, are served as a condiment at the table, and can include, several home made, a couple of sto-bought, Hoisin, Wildflower Honey, and a couple of others depending on the meat being served.


                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Uncle Bob

                                    The right sauce, used correctly, is a complementary seasoning.

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      As long as it's not a sugar bomb,

                                      1. re: Uncle Bob

                                        Totally agree. I hate goopy, sugary, candied meat.

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          Me too, but I'm amazed at how many people just love it.

                                  2. Spicy, a little tomato, medium consistency, noticeable but not overpowering vinegar and very black peppery