From backyard barbecues to Chili’s baby back ribs, tomato-based barbecue sauce can be whatever you want it to be.
Traditionally used “with smoked or grilled meat or hamburger sandwiches,” this sauce has become a staple condiment in restaurants, homes and supermarkets. Specifically, tomato-based sauces can be found in Kansas City, Memphis and Texas style barbecues.
Kansas City barbecue sauce is sweet, tangy and thick. Rich with molasses, tomatoes and vinegar, this ketchup-like sauce is beautifully paired with a good rack of ribs. Memphis style is more thin and usually consists of tomatoes, vinegar and a countless combination of spices. However, Texas-style barbecue sauce, consisting of a combination of apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, onions, lard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon, mustard, salt, pepper or garlic, is by far the most ubiquitous of all the tomato-based barbecues.
It is also, without a doubt, the best.
Growing up in Georgia with my Texas-raised step father, I was exposed quite often to the beautifully rich taste of tomato-based barbecue sauce. Now, a lot of Texan’s are meat purists — liking only the dry rub and a good piece of smoked beef — but I am quite the opposite.
I am what the kids call a sauce fiend, and I am known to occasionally get lost in the sauce. And there is no better sauce to get lost in than the thick tomato-based concoction of Kansas City, Memphis and Texas style sauce.
Vinegar-based sauces are too thin. If you try to put it on some fries or on a pulled pork sandwich, your carbs are going to end up soggy and sloppy. However, use a tomato-based sauce, and your dining experience will be robust while holding its structural integrity.