Barbecue sauce foundation

Joined Feb 11, 2011
Hello Everyone,

I was wondering if there was a foundation for Barbecue sauces like there are for the five Mother Sauces.

I want to enter next year a wings fest contest and have an idea for the type of wing that could possibly win it.

I am thinking of a honey chipotle barbecue sauce that would be grilled. Since I am in research and devepmaent stages right now, I need some advice as to how to start a Barbecue sace. I am only asking for a foundation, and not a recipe as I want this to be a trial and error on my part to make it my own. Also one other thing: would I want to BRINE the chicken wings or NO?

Thank you in advanced  for the replies I may get.

Last edited:
Joined Feb 27, 2008
I would have to say some kind of tomato would be the base. I have used both ketchup and tomato paste for traditional BBQ sauce. Next in the list is cider vinegar.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
What your barbecue sauce is based in reflects the region the sauce is from.

Tomato is the most common base and used in the most regions of the US, Memphis, Kansas City, Texas and so on. Lots of variations on the theme.

Cider Vinegar is the base used in North Carolina pork shoulder barbecue.

Mayonnaise crops up in Georgia  and Alabama for white sauce though these tend to be smaller geographic areas of those states.

Mustard is common in South Carolina barbecue sauce

Of course, you're not tied to a region for building your own barbecue sauce, but the flavors of those traditions should inform you about what flavors work well together.

I'm partial to mustard sauces when I make my own.  I also like white sauces on barbeuced chicken over tomato based sauces though they're good too.

Joined Feb 1, 2007
David, Phil's post is particularly important for you. Why? Because winning food contests isn't about building the best whatever. It's about catering to the judges and their possible biases.

If you go too far afield from what is considered usual or proper you will lose. You might produce the best tasting wings in the joint, but you won't win the competition. You may notice how often, for instance, "peoples choice" awards differ radically from judges' choice. That's why.

So, whatever you do, keep your base typical of what's found in your region.

Second, read the rules very carefully. Competition cooking often has little relationship to how you'd make the same product in a restaurant or at home. There may be restrictions or restraints in the contest that you otherwise wouldn't encounter. Ignore them at your peril.
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