Barbecue sauce
Pork steaks cooking-1.jpg
St. Louis-style barbecue involves slow open grilling until done, then simmering in a pan of barbecue sauce placed on the grill.
Place of originUnited States
Main ingredientsVinegar, tomato paste, or ketchup
Ingredients generally usedLiquid smoke, onion powder, spices such as mustard and black pepper, mayonnaise, and sugar or molasses

Barbecue sauce (also abbreviated as BBQ sauce) is a sauce used as a marinade, basting, condiment, or topping for meat cooked in the barbecue cooking style, including pork or beef ribs and chicken. It is a ubiquitous condiment in the Southern United States and is used on many other foods as well.[1]

Ingredients vary, but most include vinegar or tomato paste (or a combination) as a base, as well as liquid smoke, onion powder, spices such as mustard and black pepper, and sweeteners such as sugar or molasses.


Main article: Barbecue in the United States

Some place the origin of barbecue sauce at the formation of the first American colonies in the 17th century.[2] References to the sauce start occurring in both English and French literature over the next two hundred years. South Carolina mustard sauce, a type of barbecue sauce, can be traced to German settlers in the 18th century.[3]

Early homemade barbecue sauces were made with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Sugar, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce started to be used in the 1920s, but after World War II, the quantity of sugar and the number of ingredients increased dramatically.[4]

The Georgia Barbecue Sauce Company of Atlanta advertised an early commercially produced barbecue sauce in 1909.[5] Heinz was the first major company to sell bottled barbecue sauce in 1940. Soon afterward, General Foods introduced "Open Pit." Kraft Foods only entered the market in around 1960, but with heavy advertising, succeeded in becoming the market leader.[4] Kraft also started making cooking oils with bags of spice attached, supplying another market entrance of barbecue sauce.[6]


Different geographical regions have allegiances to their particular styles and variations of barbecue sauce.

Homemade barbecue sauce
Homemade barbecue sauce
Bottles of commercial BBQ sauce
Bottles of commercial BBQ sauce

See also


  1. ^ Michelle Moran (2005-03-01). "Category Analysis: Condiments". The Gourmet Retailer. Archived from the original on 3 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-01.
  2. ^ Bob Garner (1996). North Carolina Barbecue: Flavored by Time. p. 160. ISBN 0-89587-152-1.
  3. ^ a b Lake E. High Jr. (2019). "A Very Brief History of the Four Types of Barbeque Found In the USA". South Carolina Barbeque Association. Archived from the original on 13 March 2017.
  4. ^ a b Robert F. Moss (2010). Barbecue: The History of an American Institution. University of Alabama Press. pp. 189–190.
  5. ^ "Georgia Barbecue Sauce" (advertisement), Atlanta Constitution, January 31, 1909, as reproduced in Moss, Barbecue
  6. ^ Bruce Bjorkman (1996). The Great Barbecue Companion: Mops, Sops, Sauces, and Rubs. p. 112. ISBN 0-89594-806-0.
  7. ^ Moss, Robert F. (2010). Barbecue: The History of an American Institution. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press. p. 119. ISBN 9780817317188.
  8. ^ "Eastern NC barbecue is healthier than western". WRAL-TV. July 11, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  9. ^ a b James, Cleo (September 6, 2013). "Kansas City BBQ vs. Memphis BBQ – What's the Difference?". Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  10. ^ Daniel Vaughn (2014). "All About the Sauce". TexasMonthly. Archived from the original on 6 July 2020.
  11. ^ HEINZ (2019). "Heinz Texas Style Bold & Spicy BBQ Sauce, 19.5 oz Bottle". Kraft-Heinz.
  12. ^ Cary, Josh & Jackson, Chef Tom. (Aug 10, 2018). Cooking With Fire: Alabama White Sauce, KMUW 89.1 Wichita Public Radio, Wichita, KS.