Chowhound

Secret’s in the sauce, and we’re not talking about the felony-warranting Fried Green Tomatoes kind. Now that the grills have been fired up and summer is essentially here, it’s time to perfect your sauce making and basting skills so that you can impress all of your BBQ picnic guests.

Anyone who’s anyone knows that there are three versatile sauces that work with nearly every protein: barbecue, chimichurri, and romesco. You’re probably more familiar with the first one (#iwantmybabybackbabybackribs), though chimichurri and romesco offer herbacious and peppery (respectively) departures from what your taste buds interpret as “tried and true.” And trying something new is always a good thing.

We’ve broken down the tasty trio below, including recipes and dishes where these sauces shine. Check them out!

What is barbecue sauce?

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The ingredients differ by region and part of the globe, but most include some variation of tomato paste, vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, spices, and a sweet component like sugar or molasses. The sauce is extremely versatile, as it can be used as a dip, marinade, baste, or condiment. Get our Basic Barbecue Sauce recipe.

Dish Suggestion: Easy BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs

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Honestly, why should you ever mess up a good thing when you have it? These fall-off-the-bone ribs will put those annoyingly catchy Chili’s commercials to shame. Get our recipe.

What is chimichurri?

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Used primarily in South American (Argentinian, predominantly) and Mexican dishes, this parsley-heavy sauce is blended with garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and red pepper flakes for a perfect component to grilled red meat. Get our Argentine Chimichurri recipe.

Dish Suggestion: Argentine Grilled Tri-Tip

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Chimichurri shines as a cool topping on a hot piece of steak. An Argentinian tri-tip is a perfect option because it’s not only geographically thematic, but also capable of handling an excess amount of sauce. Get our recipe.

What is romesco sauce?

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Originating in northeastern Spain, this nut and red pepper-based sauce pairs perfectly with seafood. Common ingredients also include garlic, sunflower oil, vinegar, and other nuts and peppers, though you can essentially tailor it to meet your needs. Get our Romesco Sauce recipe.

Dish Suggestion: Roasted Shrimp with Romesco Sauce

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Shrimp love a tomato bath, especially if it’s chock full of spices, garlic, pine nuts, and other Spanish-derived flavors. Give them a dunk in this zesty romesco, which can also be used as a dip for fresh bread. Get our recipe.

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