For the majority of us, thoughts of barbecue sauce bring up a very specific image. A dark brown and relatively thick sauce. Usually pretty sweet, thickened with molasses, and topped with a few dashes of liquid smoke. However, the world of BBQ sauces is massive, varied, and filled with history and tradition.
"Barbecue sauce doesn't make good barbecue, but it can certainly complement good barbecue." - Aaron Franklin - Franklin Barbecue.
While barbecue existed long before first colonies of The United States were formed, the history of barbecue sauce is much younger. In fact, saucing meats before barbecuing them (and basting them as they cook) started in cookouts in the 17th century with a simple lime and pepper sauce. Over the next century, America took its first steps as a nation and barbecue sauces evolved along side.
Largely because of the colonization of the new world and the slave trade, BBQ sauce started integrating global flavors. Wine, vinegar and salt from Spain, sugar cane and molasses from the Caribbean, chili peppers from Central America, and tomatoes from South America. The starting point for American BBQ sauce was born, and it was only the beginning.
Today, most barbecue sauces still contain vinegar, mustard, and ketchup but that is only the tip of the iceberg.
At The Backporch, we proudly make and serve six distinct barbecue sauces inspired by one of our country's oldest cuisines:
Eastern North Carolina Vinegar
One of the oldest sauce styles in the country, this loose sauce has been the life force of who-hog cooking in the Carolinas for a few hundred years. It isn't thick like most barbecue sauces you are likely familiar with. This sauce is the perfect counter to the sweetness of pulled pork. The simplest of our sauces, The Eastern North Carolina Vinegar sauce is a tribute to the birthplace of American barbecue.
It's not hard to tell what makes this sauce different. This white sauce is one of the younger sauces on our menu created in the early 1900s as the perfect sauce for smoked poultry. This mayonnaise based sauce has a bit of a punch with horseradish and cayenne pepper taking center stage. The mayonnaise helps calm the heat and the perfect combination of 10 ingredients, makes this the perfect sauce to cut through the bold flavors of barbecue.
St. Louis Sweet & Tangy
If St. Louis and Kansas City barbecue sauces were a Venn diagram, there would be more overlap than not. Both tomato based sauces with higher brown sugar content, these sauces are both great on ribs. The main difference between the two: St. Louis style sauces add vinegar (usually apple cider vinegar) and dial the sugar back just a bit. Our Sweet & Tangy sauce leans more on the side of the vinegar friendly St. Louis style sauces. As an added bonus, it is a tribute to the sauce my dad used for his pulled pork for 15 years in the Musselshell Valley.
South Carolina Mustard
Every barbecue shack needs a spicy sauce and we instantly fell in love with the German inspired mustard sauce from central South Carolina. With just a touch of ketchup, this sauce is a beautiful and rich yellow with flecks of red pepper scattered through it. Once you stop admiring how beautiful this sauce is, it's time to taste it and it will blow your mind. The heat is the good heat. Heat with a purpose. Heat with flavor. It pairs perfectly with our brats, but it also goes great on a pulled pork sandwich.
The Backporch Classic
While barbecue sauce should never be the star of the show, we want you to know it's there when you bite into a pulled pork sandwich or tear into your first bite of ribs. For our house sauce, we went with a central Texas style sauce. Traditionally, Texas is know as the capital of sauceless barbecue. However, as more and more people came to expect sauce, Texas started to introduce bold, deep, and standout flavors into its sauces. This sauce combines all of our favorite flavors - spicy, sweet, & tangy and the star of this show is cumin.
Roast House Espresso
Barbecue is filled with bold flavors, from the paprika rubs to the rings of smoke. At the Backporch, we proudly serve what we believe to be barbecue's BFF: Damn Good Coffee. The richness of espresso and barbecue are destined to be together. The inspiration behind an espresso barbecue sauce is definitely the newest on our menu. People have only been building barbecue sauces around espresso for the past 15 or 20 years and the origin is still mostly unknown. This sauce is the richest sauce in our lineup and goes great with pulled pork, pit beef, and ribs.
With so many styles of barbecue sauce in the country (let alone the world), our six sauces are truly just the tip of the iceberg (there are at least four recognizably distinct sauces in South Carolina alone).
We suggest you start with the birthplace of all American sauces - vinegar - and work your way through them. You won't regret it.