BBQ Sauce: Making US Barbecues Ultra-Saucy (Since Forever)

Chicken nuggets with a small ramekin of BBQ sauce

Okay, it’s time to address the sauce in the room. BBQ sauce. What is it, where does it come from, and is it really American?

It’s not a sauce we’re particularly fond of. But in the US it’s worshipped daily and revered as a God (possibly). Kind of like Worcestershire sauce in the UK.

Well, we wanted to find out more about it. Why do North Americans worship it so?! We did some research to find out!

What’s BBQ Sauce?

Barbecue sauce is a topping used for meats that consists of vinegar, tomato paste, liquid smoke, onion powder, mustard, and spices.

It’s typically used as a condiment or marinade for various meats popular on a barbecue.

However, you can use it with whatever you like. Vegan alternatives and with salads, if that’s your type of thing (even if salad cream is what you need there).

But yeah, as it’s summer and all that lots of folks will be slopping this stuff all over their barbecue and wondering why it won’t catch on fire.

What’s the History of BBQ Sauce?

Although AMERICANS like to claim this as their own, historically there are multiple nationalities at play here.

The belief is American colonies in the 17th century developed, with the influence of English and French cuisine. Those pesky Brits!

So, non-native settlers (and invaders, if you will) had a big influence on the sauce.

That all likely kicked off in the 15th century, when European sailors reached the New World and found natives chilling out back with their BBQs and some beers.

The Spanish brought hogs and vinegar to the mix when they visited in the 16th century as the Age of Discovery continued on its merry way.

This led to much socialising during feasts, which led to foods being dipped into wine, cider, malt, vinegar, and herbs. That heady mix eventually merged with local marinades and, blow and behold, the world done and got BBQ sauce!

So the recipe is a mixture of European, New World, and North American sort of hoo hah.

And because barbecues are as popular as ever (immensely so during the summer months), the cause has remained on the top of some folks’ shopping lists.

During the 20th century it’s continued to boom. Check out this old bit of advertising and all that.

Historical Georgia barbecue sauce newspaper clipping

Don’t forget to ask for it at your favourite grocer shop! And refuse flatly to accept anything else (as in, BBQ sauce)!

How Do You Make BBQ Sauce?

Dreamboat or not, Jamie Oliver is a stinkin’ Brit who needs do get his damned dirty hands off our recipes, y’all!

And by “our” we mean “yours”, for our American readers.

At any rate, the standard list of ingredients you’ll need are as follows:

Chilli pepper
Black pepper
Brown sugar

You can also chuck some Worcestershire sauce into the mix, if that floats your boat. A sauce within a sauce, eh? Full Inception there.

And well, use the sauce for whatever you want to. Meat eaters love it on their meat, but we reckon it’d go nicely with a Beyond Burger any day, too.

Dispense with some gibberish!

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