Barbecue sauce, also known as BBQ sauce, is a popular condiment used to enhance the flavor of grilled and smoked meats. It adds a tangy, sweet, and sometimes spicy kick to your favorite dishes.

One common question that often arises when talking about BBQ sauce is whether it contains tomato sauce or not. Let’s dive into this tasty debate and find out the truth.

The Origins of BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce has a rich history that dates back centuries. Its exact origins are debated, with various regions claiming to have invented this delectable sauce. While the specific ingredients may vary from one region to another, most traditional BBQ sauces contain a combination of sweeteners, vinegar, spices, and yes, tomato sauce.

The Role of Tomato Sauce in BBQ Sauce

Tomato sauce plays a significant role in many BBQ sauce recipes. It provides a base for the flavors to meld together and contributes to the overall texture and consistency of the sauce. Tomato-based sauces are often used as a foundation because they are versatile and can complement various meat flavors.

However, it’s important to note that not all BBQ sauces contain tomato sauce. Different regions have their own unique recipes that may exclude tomatoes altogether or use alternative ingredients such as mustard or vinegar-based sauces instead.

Types of BBQ Sauces

There are several types of barbecue sauces available, each with its distinct flavor profile. Let’s take a closer look at some popular types:

  • Kansas City Style: This style is known for its thick and sweet tomato-based sauces that often include molasses or brown sugar.
  • Texas Style: Texas-style sauces are typically spicier and less sweet than their Kansas City counterparts. They often feature a blend of chili peppers, vinegar, and spices.
  • Carolina Style: Carolina sauces vary greatly between the eastern and western regions.

    Eastern Carolina sauce is vinegar-based with a touch of red pepper flakes, while western Carolina sauce incorporates mustard for a tangy flavor.

  • Alabama White Sauce: This unique sauce is popular in Alabama and features a mayonnaise and vinegar base. It’s commonly used for chicken and pork.

Making Your Own BBQ Sauce

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try making your own BBQ sauce This way, you can customize the flavors to suit your taste preferences. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:

  1. Ingredients:
    • 1 cup ketchup
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Note: Feel free to experiment with additional spices like cayenne pepper or mustard powder for an extra kick!


      – In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients over medium heat.

      – Stir well until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce is heated through, about 5-10 minutes.

      – Remove from heat and let it cool before using.


    In summary, while not all BBQ sauces contain tomato sauce, it is a common ingredient found in many traditional recipes. Tomato-based sauces provide a flavorful base and contribute to the overall taste and texture of the sauce.

    However, BBQ sauce comes in various styles and flavors, with each region offering its own unique twist. Whether you prefer a tangy vinegar-based sauce or a sweet tomato-based one, there’s a BBQ sauce out there to suit every taste bud.