Regional Barbecue Inspirations

Incorporating regional barbecue styles into your dishes can make them truly stand out.

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June 26, 2017 3 min read

Students attending chef schools in Texas are already familiar with the Lone Star State’s many variations on barbecue, and likely others from around the country and world as well. Drawing inspiration from the many barbecue traditions across the U.S. can add some unique elements to your next barbecue dish. Consider just a few of the many possible styles you can use:

South Carolina mustard sauce

“Add unique elements to your next dish with regional barbecue flavors.”

Also called Carolina Gold, this sauce – different from the many versions across the U.S. that use tomato or vinegar and pepper as bases – was inspired by the pre-Revolutionary War immigration of German families into what was then the British colony of South Carolina. The South Carolina Barbecue Association said the common use of mustard as a condiment in many parts of Germany was carried over to homesteads throughout South Carolina by these new arrivals, who then blended it with the emerging tradition of barbecue.

South Carolina mustard sauce, developed in the central part of the state, features brown sugar and vinegar to add additional flavors and bring the mustard base closer to other barbecue sauces. As with nearly all other barbecue sauces, it also draws on a variety of herbs and spices.

Serious Eats offered a simple, effective Carolina Gold recipe that includes honey, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce in addition to the classic ingredients mentioned above. Preparation is simple – the only tasks required are combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and storing, covered, for 24 hours to allow the flavors to come together. Serve on barbecue sandwiches, ribs, brisket and much more.

Alabama white sauce

While mustard is uncommon as a barbecue sauce base, mayonnaise is a singular key ingredient found in northern Alabama. Eater said it was developed by area barbecue legend Bob Gibson, and stands out due to its use as a dipping sauce as well as a marinade. Even though it’s isolated to a small region of Alabama, the sauce has some major variations. Some restaurants and home cooks serve it with a thick, almost pasty consistency, while others feature it as a thinner, milkier offering.

Gibson’s own recipe, shared by Food Network, involves vinegar, horseradish, cayenne pepper and corn syrup as major flavor contributors alongside the mayonnaise. Putting the sauce together is a straightforward task – you simply need a very large blender or food processor on hand to combine the ingredients. The one important note to make is the recipe’s yield of two quarts, which may necessitate mixing two batches of sauce to avoid overloading your mixing tool.

Alabama white sauce is most commonly used on chicken, although it also works with pork as a marinade and dipping sauce. Keep that versatility in mind as you further investigate this regional barbecue style and develop meals around it. It’s possible to use it in barbecue sandwiches, although the unique flavor and consistency may be a surprise for some eaters.

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