Nothing can improve a good burger or steak quite like some high quality barbecue sauce. While it is uncertain precisely where barbecue sauce came from, some trace its origins as far back as the 1400s. However, it did not gain extensive popularity until more recently. It's only been a century since the Atlanta-based Georgia Barbecue Sauce Company produced the first barbecue sauce for widespread commercial use. Since that time, though, its popularity has exploded, particularly as a summertime staple at backyard barbecues.
Barbecue sauce comes in varying degrees of intensity. Some prefer it mild; others like it to have a particular type of flavoring, like honey, hickory or vinegar BBQ sauce. Barbecue competitions across the country reflect the variety of BBQ sauce options and the passion of those who create and taste this iconic condiment. From Memphis BBQ to Carolina BBQ, different regions have distinct flavors of barbecue, so an aficionado could travel the country and happily sample hundreds of unique blends as they try to find the best BBQ sauce.
Ribs, BBQ pork and BBQ chicken are all popular foods to which barbecue sauce can easily be added. Sometimes the sauce enhances the flavor of the meat. Sometimes, in the case of very spicy BBQ sauce, it overpowers it, and eating meat with five-alarm hot sauce is more of a challenge and a test of endurance than a pleasant culinary experience. That's not to say that those who eat this type of sauce don't enjoy it. However, many people find that hot sauce is just too spicy for them and prefer to stick with milder flavors. Brands of intense hot sauce include Frank's Red Hot Sauce, Mad Dog Hot Sauce, Cholula Hot Sauce, Original Juan, Da Bomb Hot Sauce and many others.
Kraft foods was one of the first major companies to produce barbecue sauce, and it continues to have many flavors available. Heinz is another company that has gotten into the barbecue business. Meanwhile, many of the best barbecue sauces are locally made, with a narrow distribution range. The national brands are not necessarily the most flavorful. Sometimes BBQ restaurants, such as the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que that has four locations in New York State, will sell the sauce that helps make their entrees so tasty.
Barbecue is invariably associated with summer, but those who appreciate this delicious topper of ribs, pork and other meats know that it can be savored all year long. Every maker of barbecue sauce strives to add something a little different to the mix, whether it's an unusual texture or a unique assortment of herbs and spices. If barbecue is your bag, why not expand your horizons and try a few new brands this year? Your palate will thank you.