Tomato-based BBQ sauce is a staple item for any kind of barbecuing. Many of the fruit-based barbecue sauces, such as mango habanero BBQ sauce or apple BBQ sauce, have a rich tomato sauce base, which gives more depth and taste to the sauce. There are many varieties of tomato-based BBQ sauces as well, some of which are based on different regional styles. The most commonly used tomato-based barbecue sauce for smoked or grilled meat is the Kansas City style barbecue sauce, a thick, sweet, and smoky sauce, which is so rich in content that it is often bottled as “BBQ sauce”. Aside from that, the other most popular tomato-based BBQ sauces are Memphis-style barbecue sauce and Texas-style barbecue sauce. The former is a bit thinner sauce, while the latter is a bit spicier.
How is Tomato-Based BBQ Sauce Made?
Originally developed in Memphis, TN, tomato-based BBQ sauces were first used on grilled beef and some other varieties of meats. Initially, these sauces were made thin and sweetened with molasses to add a unique touch to the barbecuing style that is famous in the region. When the popularity of tomato-based BBQ sauce reached Kansas City, they made it a bit thicker, sweeter, and spicier. From there, tomato-based barbecue sauces grew even more popular and manufacturers started bottling and selling them.
Most of the tomato-based BBQ sauces sold commercially have the same basic ingredients and composition. This includes tomato juice, thickeners, sweeteners, spices, seasonings, and smoke flavor. Generally, tomato-based BBQ sauces offer a bold combo of sweetness, spiciness, tanginess, and smoky flavors. Some barbecue sauces also come without the smoke flavoring, which is usually opted by pro barbecuers, as they say that the flavor should come from the smoke of the grill and not from the sauce. Yet for casual users, the smoky flavor gives a more appetizing taste to their sauce for grilled chicken and beef.
Tomato-based barbecue sauce is also used as a condiment, such as ketchup or salsa, and is often served at the table as a spread or dipping sauce. Although commercially-made barbecue sauces typically contain more salt and sugar content, the tomato juice base in fruit-based barbecue sauces, such as mango habanero BBQ sauce or apple BBQ sauce, gives more Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and favorable carotenoids to the sauce. This can be an added benefit of using tomato-based BBQ sauce for grilled or smoked meat. Just make sure that you do not use the sauce during grilling because the high temperature can burn the sauce and undo its benefits.