“Barbecue sauce demand showed healthy growth the past five years as consumers increasingly tried new flavors, especially spicier varieties,” Sprinkle said. “Price gains involved premiumization of barbecue sauce, as well as the development of organic products.”
Regionally produced barbecue sauces using local ingredients continue to be a bright spot in the condiment aisle. Sauces from the Carolinas skew tangy and spicy from the use of vinegar, cayenne, black pepper, crushed red pepper, hot sauce and yellow mustard. St. Louis barbecue, on the other hand, tends to be quite sweet with a bit of acid from a heavy tomato base. Kansas City barbecue uses a similar base but adds more layers of flavor with smoke and molasses. In the Southwest, Texans favor spice and heat, with a hint of sweetness.
Around the world, barbecue gets bolder. In Latin America it’s all about red chilis and cilantro, while in Korea, black and chili peppers combine with the Asian flavors of soy sauce, sesame and ginger.
The Middle East tends to be more fragrant than spicy heat, relying on the flavors of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin and garlic.
Ssamjang sauce is a type of Korean barbecue sauce that is gaining popularity with the food truck trend. Its main ingredients are doenjang, a slow-fermented soybean paste with a rich umami taste, and gochujang, a red chili paste.