10 Essential BBQ Sauce Recipes for Summer

Header image: CHOW

With the official start of grill season - easily our favorite season - it’s FINALLY time for some good ole fashioned barbecue. And when it comes to barbecue, a good sauce is the best way to elevate your BBQ game. Just like your Nona’s Sunday Gravy, everyone has his or her own take and preference. So without any regional judgment, we’re giving you ten options for the next time you fire up the grill (or are just in the mood for some BBQ).

1. Basic BBQ Sauce

CHOW

The name says it all. The perfect recipe for any beginner looking to switch over from the store bought variety. This recipe is also a great base for experimentation, so feel free to tweak it with your favorite spices and flavors to create your own signature sauce. Get our Basic Barbecue Sauce recipe.

2. Bourbon-Bacon Barbeque Sauce

CHOW

As one of our commenters noted, “This stuff is awesome!” And how could it not be? It’s got bacon AND bourbon. The skies the limit for what you can serve this sauce along with - it works on chicken, beef, or anything else for that matter. Get our Bourbon Bacon Barbecue Sauce recipe.

3. White BBQ Sauce

CHOW

Want to throw a curveball to guests at your next dinner party? Serve them some grilled chicken along with our Alabama-style, mayo-based white barbecue sauce. It’s so addictive that they might never go back to the red stuff. Get our White Barbecue Sauce recipe.

4. Chipotle-Nectarine Barbecue Sauce

CHOW

Barbecue sauce made with fruit? We must be crazy, right? Try out our chipotle-nectarine sauce and you’ll become a believer. It’s sweet and spicy, perfect for slathering glazing on some grilled chicken or fish. Get our Chipotle-Nectarine Barbecue Sauce recipe.

5. Big-Time Barbecue Sauce

Think of this as the all-purpose BBQ sauce. It’s can be used for basting, glazing, or dipping. It’s the Swiss army knife of sauces. Get our Big-Time Barbecue Sauce recipe.

6. Argentine Chimichurri Sauce

CHOW

As much as American’s tend to think of themselves as the kings of the grill, South American countries have a legitimate claim to the barbecue crown. And with South American style asado - the term used to describe the cooking technique and the social event - grilled meats are served with a sauce made with fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. Get our Argentine Chimichurri Sauce recipe.

7. Thick and Sticky Barbecue Sauce

This is what most people think of when it comes to BBQ sauce. Thick, sweet and spicy, our take on the Kansas City classic sauce is finger licking good. Just don’t forget the wet naps. Get our Thick and Sticky Barbecue Sauce recipe.

8. Giddy Swamp, South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce

Food52

Of the regional BBQ sauces, South Carolina style sauce tends to be the most divisive. For one, it’s yellow instead of the burgundy red that most people associate with BBQ sauce. Also, since it’s heavily flavored with mustard and vinegar, South Carolina is a little tangier than other versions. Personally, we’re big fans and think that you’ll enjoy Food52’s recipe for the southern classic. Get the recipe here.

9. Memphis Style Barbecue Sauce

Food Network

While traditional Memphis barbecue is served “dry” - without any sauce - if you want to have your ‘cue wet, try out this recipe for Memphis style sauce from the Food Network. It’s pretty close to what you’ll experience in those Tennessee barbecue joints. Get the recipe here.

10. Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce

Leites Culinaria

For real deal Texas barbecue, you need to head to the lone star state. But since that’s easier said than done (for some), you can get that Texas taste right in your home kitchen with this recipe from Leites Culinaria. It’s savory, not too spicy, and goes on everything. Get the recipe here.

Dan McKay is a Canadian actor, film director, screenwriter, and musician—oh wait, that's Ryan Gosling. Dan is a Philly-based freelance writer, photographer, and digital marketer. He has written for Eater and Thrillist, in addition to other publications. Outside of work, you might run across him in the Asian market or in one of Philly’s local drinking establishments.

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