BBQ is synonymous with Texas, just like peach cobbler is to Georgia and clam chowder is to New England. Whether it’s a slowly smoked brisket or slathered BBQ ribs, Texans love to barbecue – and that requires the best BBQ sauces. For real barbecue sauce connoisseurs, this culinary creation also has a lengthy and interesting history. Read on, and impress family and friends with the taste of great BBQ, and a history lesson that goes back to ancient times.
Ancient Origins of Sauces
Sauces of every kind have very old roots, dating as far back as the prehistoric era. Of course, technically they were not actually BBQ sauces then; however cooks did realize that spices and salts could preserve meats when applied directly as well as tenderize and flavor it when soaked in these condiments. The Chinese were among the first to specifically use solutions made of spices, salts, juices, and broths to prepare and flavor meat. They were also the first to realize that various ingredients brought about different results. Early Italians were already discovering sauces made things taste better, and had created over 100 varieties of sauce for meat, pasta, and many other uses.
Sauce for Barbecue
During these early years of culinary discovery, many cultures were coming to the same conclusion – that meat could be fire-roasted for a better result and that marinades and basting, such as BBQ sauces, could keep the meat moist when applied. Once the practice of combining spices with basting right on the meat began, it was only natural the next step was to combine all the ingredients before putting them on the meat.
Combining ingredients before applying to the meat started in the late 1600’s; French cooks combined spices, notably cayenne pepper, with butter and put it on their meat while it was cooking. This trend eventually traveled around the world, gaining new varieties in every region. It was in the U.S. South in the 1860’s that the first specific recipe for a “sauce for barbecue” was found in a book written by a Civil War widow. In 1871, another public reference is found for a homemade mixture of “barbeque sauce.” Many of these homegrown recipes became known throughout the country, with variations of flavors and methods becoming popular in different areas from coast to coast, all eventually being referred to as sauce for barbecue, or BBQ sauces.
First Commercially Sold BBQ Sauces
While many people across the U.S. were simultaneously using their own homemade sauce concoctions for barbecuing meat, the Louis Maull Company of St. Louis Missouri developed a recipe and mass produced it for sale in 1923. It was sold locally; however, within a few years, the company turned from the sale of produce and other food products to devote itself to the sale of its famous Maull’s Barbecue Sauce, a product that is still sold today. Maull’s remained the only commercially produced sauce for a while; then in 1951, the Heinz Company jumped on the Barbeque sauce bandwagon and began offering the first nationally-available BBQ sauce.
As they say – the rest of the story of the many BBQ sauces known today is history. When Heinz began selling nationwide, so did other manufacturer’s, including Maull’s; the popularity of these sauces grew, as did the variety of Barbecue sauces offered. A variety of flavors and types are famous in different areas of the country, and there is one thing for sure – there is no lack of delicious sauces for barbequing. Of course, one of the best places to try many of them is right here in Texas – home of the best barbecue on earth!