If any region can claim to be masters of BBQ, it’s surely the South! The flavorful cuisine often makes an appearance at pool parties, weddings, celebratory cookouts, and of course, college football tailgates. You make think you’ve discovered all there is to know about perfecting this Southern food, but we beg to differ. Choosing the right BBQ sauce is essential when preparing the meal; it can take your dish to the next level, or, conversely, it can wreck the flavors. Join Matt Moore, Tennessee-based chef and author of The South’s Best Butts: Pitmaster Secrets for Southern Barbecue Perfection, as he describes the 5 mother sauces you should know and love.

The first one on the list of Southern sauces is the Black BBQ Sauce. Kentuckians separate themselves from the BBQ pack with their love of mutton, and this black Worcestershire-based sauce reigns king in the state. It’s complete with brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, onion powder, and the secret ingredient – allspice. This ultra watery sauce nicely balances the gamey flavor of mutton. Be sure to give it a try.

Next up is the Mustard BBQ Sauce that’s commonly used in the state of South Carolina. Most people believe this tangy sauce was derived from the German immigrants that originally settled in the area. It’s made with yellow mustard, honey, ketchup, and cayenne pepper. The Mustard BBQ Sauce is best served with pulled pork, smoked sausage, and pork chops.

We can’t leave out a Southern favorite – the Sweet BBQ Sauce. This condiment is popular in places like Memphis, St. Louis, and Kansas City. The key ingredient in this BBQ sauce is molasses! It gives the topping a rich, sweet flavor that’s completely unmistakable. Finish off your smoked chicken and ribs with this sauce; you’ll be sure to thank us later.

Let’s walk through the Vinegar BBQ Sauce. Popular in eastern Carolina, this sauce is traditionally made with only three ingredients: apple cider vinegar, salt, and crushed red pepper. Of course, you can enhance it to your liking. We’ve added in lemon juice, fresh cracked pepper, and ketchup. Here’s a tip: be sure not to serve this sauce with any form of BBQ beef; the flavors don’t mesh well. However, it’s fantastic as a base sauce for ribs.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Alabama White Sauce. The Yellowhammer State prides itself on the intensely delicious mayonnaise-based sauce. Be sure to chill if for an hour after you’ve added in all the ingredients. The Alabama White Sauce pairs perfectly with chicken wings and BBQ beef brisket.

Let these 5 mother sauces be your starting point to creating your own personalized BBQ sauce. There are no rules! If it tastes good, go for it.

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