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History of the Three Most Popular Barbecue Sauces




Mustard Sauce

Mustard-based barbecue sauces have a history that dates back to the 18th century in the southern United States. The use of mustard as a base for barbecue sauce likely originated with German immigrants who settled in South Carolina and brought their traditional mustard-based sauces with them. These sauces were used as a marinade and basting sauce for pork, particularly pork shoulder, which was a common cut of meat in the region. Mustard-based barbecue sauces have since become a staple in the southern barbecue tradition and are commonly used in the "Carolina-style" of barbecue.


Vinegar Sauce

Vinegar-based barbecue sauces have a long history in the southern United States, particularly in the Carolinas. The use of vinegar as a base for barbecue sauce likely originated with the indigenous people who lived in the region before European settlers arrived. These early sauces were made from ingredients such as wild fruits and nuts, combined with vinegar and spices to create a tangy and flavorful marinade for meats.


During the colonial period, European settlers adopted and adapted the use of vinegar in barbecue sauces. They used apple cider vinegar as the base, which was readily available in the region. These sauces were used as a marinade, basting sauce, and finishing sauce for various meats, particularly pork.


In the 19th century, the "Carolina-style" of barbecue emerged, which is characterized by the use of vinegar-based sauces. These sauces were typically thin and tangy, made with ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, pepper, and red pepper flakes. This style of barbecue sauce has since become a staple in southern barbecue tradition and is often used in "Eastern Carolina-style" barbecue.

Tomato Based Sauce

Tomato-based barbecue sauces have a more recent history compared to mustard- and vinegar-based sauces. The first known recipe for tomato-based barbecue sauce was published in the early 20th century, but it wasn't until the 1930s that it became widely popular. The invention of the ketchup bottling machine in 1869 made it easier to mass-produce tomato-based sauces, which likely contributed to the rise in popularity of tomato-based barbecue sauces.


Tomato-based barbecue sauces were initially marketed as a more modern and sophisticated alternative to traditional southern-style sauces. They were thicker, sweeter and less tangy than the traditional sauces, and were made with ingredients such as ketchup, sugar, and various spices.


The rise of national barbecue competitions and the popularity of commercial barbecue sauce brands in the 1970s and 1980s helped to further establish tomato-based barbecue sauces as a staple in American barbecue tradition. Nowadays, it is one of the most popular barbecue sauce and it is used in most of the commercial barbecue sauce and it is widely used across America.

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