South Carolina is renowned for its traditional styles and sauces, and there's nothing more divisive in the Carolinas than barbecue sauce. From the vinegar-based sauces of North Carolina to the mustard-style sauces exclusive to South Carolina, this guide will help you understand the four types of barbecue sauce found in the region. Vinegar-based sauces are thinner than tomato-based sauces and lean more toward the spicy end of the spectrum. These sauces are excellent for pork, as their astringent flavor helps balance the fattier pork.
Traditional South Carolina barbecue sauce is different from what can be found elsewhere in the South. Light Tomato sauce is most famous in North Carolina, in the Piedmont region, of which Lexington, North Carolina, is the renowned barbecue center. This style of sauce was commercialized in 1919 with the opening of two stalls by Jess Swicegood and a two-man team formed by Sid Weaver and George Ridenhour. The most popular barbecue sauce is Kansas City barbecue sauce, which is characterized by its sweet and tangy flavor.
This type of sauce is made with tomato paste, vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and spices. Mustard-style barbecue is exclusive to South Carolina and is a result of German families who settled in the center of the state in the 1700s. This type of sauce is made with yellow mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, and spices. In conclusion, South Carolina has four types of barbecue sauce: vinegar-based sauces, traditional South Carolina barbecue sauce, light tomato sauce, and mustard-style barbecue.
Each type has its own unique flavor profile that can be used to enhance your favorite grilled meats.