There’s no doubt about it—Southerners know their ‘cue. From big, smoky racks of ribs to tender pulled pork, the meat may be the main event, but the unsung hero of any barbecue is the sauce. From thin, vinegary sauce, to its delicious sweet and thick, tomato-based counterpart—and who can forget Alabama white sauce?—everyone has their favorite. What reins supreme for your taste buds? These are six of our staff favorite Southern-made sauces that add an extra kick of flavor to any barbecue.
Ever tried mustard sauce? It’s a South Carolina staple, and if you ask us, Melvin’s BBQ in Charleston does it best. In fact, they’re the ones who invented the flavor-packed sauce back in 1933, and continue to be a must-try eatery today. With a pronounced mustard flavor, this pepper-speckled sauce is surprisingly sweet at first taste, but the sweetness is quickly balanced by a glorious developing heat for lasting flavor. melvinsbbq.com
Not too thick, not too thin, and tons of bold flavor—these are just a few of the reasons we love Stubb’s Original Legendary Bar-B-Q Sauce. Created in 1968 when C.B. Stubblefield, known simply as Stubb, opened his Lubbock, Texas, restaurant, this sauce has a strong tomato flavor and minimal sweetness. Kicks from tangy vinegar and black pepper add balance and subtle spiciness. Do as the Texans do and try this savory sauce with a big slab of tender brisket. stubbsbbq.com
With heavy notes of Worcestershire, this handcrafted, Florida-made concoction reminds us of a steak sauce, but with subtle sweetness and a hint of heat. The incredible combination of spicy, smoky, and sweet mix to create what many consider a classic barbecue sauce with can’t-beat flavor and a perfectly pourable consistency. Try basting your meat with it, or pour it atop your next pulled pork sandwich. fatdsbbq.com
Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, in the mid 1980s, Bone Suckin’ Sauce is an incredible thin and tangy sauce that holds true to its Carolina roots. While a hefty amount of apple cider vinegar and horseradish give it a bite, honey and molasses add just enough sweetness for a glorious balance of flavor. We think this sauce is best slathered on a big rack of smoky ribs. bonesuckin.com
Today, Alabama White Sauce may be fairly well-known, but when the folks at Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q first introduced it more than 90 years ago, it was an anomaly. Tangy and peppery, this mayonnaise-based barbecue sauce pairs well with nearly any barbecued meat, but we especially love it on smoked chicken. bigbobgibson.com
Created by two fatigued senate staffers in Washington, D.C., this savory sauce rose to fame on the hit show Shark Tank. With recognizable hints of molasses, this sauce isn’t overly sweet, but balanced by a kick of tart vinegar and smokiness. We love its texture—thick without being goopy, and easily pourable. With a robust flavor, we recommend trying it with heartier barbecued meats like brisket or pork. porkbarrelbbqstore.com