When someone mentions barbecue, images come to mind like cooking at the backyard grill, a social gathering, cooking outdoors and cooking meat slowly over wood and smoke that adds flavor to the food. 

Different cooks have different preferences and styles in their cooking. Some prefer rubbing the seasoning whether wet or dry before cooking and some prefer to soak the meat first in special marinades that could be sops, mops, and finishing. The preparation and ingredients for marinating may differ from region to region the preferred wood to be used can also differ. However, no perfect barbecue will taste as good without the perfect barbecue sauce.

Barbecue sauces can generally be categorized by what they are based on. Common examples are tomato, vinegar, and mustard-based sauces. To give the barbecue its distinctive taste and prevent the meat from burning easily, barbecue sauces are applied to the meat while being cooked with the exemption of tomato-based barbecue sauces as tomato-based sauces burn easier than the other kinds of sauces. 

Barbecue sauce preparation can either be sweet, sour, tangy, spicy, hot, thick or thin. The varieties are almost endless which makes barbecues popular because anyone can make his special preparation depending on taste and anyone can create his way of serving the barbecue. 

Recipes for barbecues can also be guarded. And good barbecue sauces can be purchased at almost any store. But the only perfect barbecue sauce is the one that you can create for yourself. 

Remember whatever works for you and your family can be a great barbecue sauce. So start experimenting that is the only way to start good cooking.

The Basics of Barbecue Sauces

Tomato-based barbecue sauce is the most widely used. Some say that it is the most popular. Its popularity, however, may be due to the simplicity of preparation and besides; tomatoes are ingredients that could easily be found. The point to remember in preparing tomato-based barbecue sauces is to cook the tomatoes very well for the flavor to blend with the other ingredients. 

Tomato-based barbecue sauces are acidic. Because of this, it has the property to breakdown all the flavor of other ingredients blending them with its own. But because of its propensity to burn, limit the usage of tomato-based barbecue sauce while cooking. To make it even more flavorful, prepare tomato barbecue sauces a day in advance.

Mustard based sauces are preferred in North Carolina. The mustard-based barbecue sauce is great for grilling pork.

Vinegar is a great meat tenderizer. It is also more acidic than tomatoes. Because of its acidic content, vinegar-based sauces tend to penetrate deep into the meat. To make this barbecue sauce more flavorful, experiment mixing it with chili, cider vinegar or red pepper, sugar salt and all the other ingredients that you want it to have. 

Barbecue sauces today have different uses departing from its traditional purpose. It now serves as a condiment that is present on almost any table like ketchup, salsa, salt, pepper, and Tabasco.

However, if experimenting with food is not your greatest strength, you can always find great sauces in any store. To make great barbecues, one rule to follow is not to place too much weight on the “with smoke flavor” label that many bottled tomato sauces advertise itself. The smoke flavor is what is barbecuing all about. The flavor has to come from the wood, not the bottle.

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