Barbecue cooking is not a science. It is not something that is so difficult that you will never be able to cook outdoors with great results. What it is, however, is the most important part of any barbecue.
Your barbecue sauce will decide your outdoor cooking success. Sure, not all barbecue cooks use sauce in their cooking. They will sometimes use a barbecue rub instead. Nonetheless, a bbq sauce should always be passed around for dipping.
There are more different barbecue sauces and ways to make barbecue than you can count. But generally there are just a few different kinds of barbecue sauces that make up the vast majority. For every class of barbecue sauce, there is one base ingredient that gives it this distinction.
These classes of barbecue sauces are quite often regional in their popularity. In other words, traditionally you tend to see certain kinds of sauces in certain regions and areas of the United States.
Listed here, in no particular order, are the larger classes and regions of barbecue sauces that are most commonly found. Included is the base ingredient for each sauce. Also included is the particular meat or cut of meat most often associated with the regions' barbecue.
(1) Texas Barbecue Sauce - This is a sweet and spicy sauce that uses ketchup as its base ingredient. Texas barbecue starts with beef and usually ends with beef.
(2) Memphis Barbecue Sauce - Not as sweet or spicy as Texas sauce, Memphis sauce usually includes tomatoes and vinegar as its base ingredients. It is also a thinner sauce. Ribs are Memphis' favorite cut of meat to barbecue.
(3) Carolina Barbecue Sauce - Within the Carolinas, barbecue can actually be broken down into three distinct regions of sauces. Pork shoulder or butt is king of all the Carolina barbecue meats.
In Eastern North Carolina, a thin sauce heavy in vinegar is the desired choice.
In Western North Carolina, a thicker, sweeter "red" sauce made of ketchup or tomato sauce is the favorite flavor.
In South Carolina, people tend to go for a thick barbecue sauce that uses mustard as its base ingredient.
(4) Alabama Barbecue Sauce - One of the more unusual sauces, this is "white" and uses mayonnaise as its base ingredient. This is used on chicken, turkey, or pork.
(5) Kansas City Barbecue Sauce - This is a thick, red sauce. Kansas City barbecue uses a lot of sauce on many different kinds of meat. Pork and beef the most common types of meat in Kansas City.
This list in no way included all the types of barbecue sauce styles there are. Versions of each type of sauce can be found in regions throughout the United States. And of course, different recipes within the regions can be found everywhere.
Choose a barbecue sauce that fits your taste. Find a few good recipes for that type of sauce. Then try different ingredients and add them to your base ingredient to make this recipe into your personal signature sauce.