What is the History of Barbecue Sauce?

Posted on: January 16, 2023

Barbequing is perhaps the most ancient method of cooking food that is still popular among people today. In early times, people used the method as a means to preserve food, or using the means available. As time went by, humans started experimenting with the method to make it better. Intending to cook flavorful food, the process of marination came on the scene. This is when barbeque sauce was invented to add more flavor to foods like meat, fish, poultry, etc. However, there is some debate regarding its exact origin. We are sharing some facts on the history of barbeque sauce based on the most popular studies.

Existence of barbeque sauce in the 17th century

Although barbequing was popular in the American colonies a few hundred years before the 17th century, it is believed that barbeque sauce originated during this time. The estimate is strengthened by the fact that several French and English literature of that period and even a couple of centuries after that mentions the use of barbeque sauce for cooking.

It is believed that barbeque sauce was first invented in a Dominican missionary where cooks used lime juice and pepper to flavor meat for the barbeque. We can trace the root of this recipe to Africa where they use both lime and lemon juices as a traditional method of flavoring meat. Gradually, the method became popular and reached the rest of the world.

Existence of barbeque sauce in the 18th and 19th centuries

Vinegar was introduced as an ingredient in preparing barbeque sauce at the end of the 18th century. Several recipe books of the period highlight the use of vinegar along with salt, pepper, and mustard. The recipe for preparing barbeque sauce intensified during the 19th century with more innovative ways to spice up the flavor of the sauce.

Existence of barbeque sauce in the 20th Century

The beginning of the 20th century introduced a range of commercial barbeque sauces in the market for human consumption. The Georgia Barbecue Sauce Company, based in Atlanta was the first company to commercialize barbeque sauce in 1909. The business idea was a huge success.

It was during the 1920s that ketchup, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce made their way into the market. In 1940, Heinz became the first company to sell barbeque sauces in bottles. By the latter half of the century, more companies stepped into the market to introduce barbeque sauce in a range of flavors.

Tips to apply barbeque sauce

While a barbeque sauce can create magic by flavoring the food, the wrong application of it can absolutely ruin a dish. This is where barbeque beginners should learn when and how much sauce to apply. Check out the tips on the application of barbeque sauce for grilling and food smoking.

For grilling: Barbeque sauce contains a good amount of sugar which tends to caramelize quickly on a grill because the food is being cooked at a high temperature. This may create charring on the outer surface which can turn foul-smelling. Also, applying it later will not allow the meat to soak up the flavor completely.

You should apply barbeque sauce in multiple thin layers 10 minutes before the food reaches desired doneness. This will give ample time for the food to absorb the flavor without over-charring the surface. For larger cuts of meat, apply thin layers of sauce 30 minutes before it reaches doneness.

For smoking: Food smoking is a low and slow process that uses indirect heat. So, there is nothing to worry about charring or getting a caramelized outer surface. For smoking, you can marinate the food in barbeque sauce a few minutes before cooking.

Choosing the right food smoker

Picking the right food smoker is a crucial step towards acing the barbeque game. A great food smoker functions self-sufficiently which will save a lot of time on unnecessary chores. The Bradley Smoker is a perfect example. Bradley has been manufacturing food smokers for 40+ years now and here are some useful features of the Bradley Smoker that every food smoking aficionado needs.

Digital controls: The Bradley Smoker is designed with a digital console that allows presetting smoking time and temperature before the cooking starts. This helps to get the desired doneness without constantly tending to the smoker.

Automatic feeding system: Bradley Smokers feeds wood from the chamber automatically. With a filled wood chamber, the smoker can work consistently for up to 10 hours with minimal supervision.

Dual heat elements: This allows the smoker to perform hot smoking, cold smoking, and dehydration and also does the job of an oven.

User-safety: Bradley smokers are designed with magnetic doors and an insulated stainless steel interior body for faster cooking and user safety.

Convenient cleaning: removable racks and side smoke generator makes it easier to keep the smoker clean and hygienic.

Bradley Bisquettes: The Bradley Smoker performs only with Bradley Bisquettes. They are available in 17 different flavors.

Final thoughts

With that, we come to the end of this article. We hope the history of barbeque sauce and some Bradley tips & tricks on sauce application and food smokers have encouraged you to try some smoking this summer. For more great ideas on how to get the most of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.