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What is a Cookout Sauce

Updated: Mar 6


a complete guide to what is a cookout sauce

Ah, the wonderful aroma of a freshly cooked barbeque - what's more American than that? Whether you're grilling up burgers and hot dogs or a juicy smoked brisket, adding a cookout sauce to your meal is the perfect way to take it from ‘good' to ‘great’. But what is cookout sauce?


Originating in the southern states, this sweet and tangy condiment has become popular throughout America as an amazing accompaniment for all types of poultry, pork, and beef dishes. And in today's blog post, we'll discuss exactly what makes cookout sauce unique so you can bring out the flavor in your next backyard grill session!


An Introduction to Cookout Sauce and Its History

Cookout sauce is a beloved condiment that has been a staple at summer barbecues for generations. But what is cookout sauce? This tangy, slightly sweet sauce is typically a blend of vinegar, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar, and it has a rich history dating back hundreds of years.


cooking out and grilling bbq food

The sauce originated in the Southern United States and was initially used as a marinade for meat before grilling.


Over time, the recipe evolved to become a flavorful coating or dipping sauce for grilled meats, such as chicken, pork, and beef.

Today, cookout sauces or barbeque sauces are enjoyed in nearly every corner of the country and have even become a source of regional pride for some.


Whether you prefer a classic tomato-based sauce, a tangy mustard-based sauce, or something in between, cookout sauce is a delicious and essential addition to any summer cookout.


Wait, so is a cookout the same thing as a barbecue?

They are similar but to quite the same. Depending on who you talk to and the region of the country you live in a cookout and a barbecue are actually a bit different. There is some debate on this matter, however as simple as we can put it:

"A barbecue involves cooking with indirect heat and takes several hours or all day, while a cookout typically involves direct heat and fast cooking with foods such as hamburgers and hot dogs."

Now, with that being said, that isn't an end all be all because you can still have a cookout that is longer or a barbecue that has hot dogs. Just know there is a little bit of a difference between the two depending on who you talk to.

cookout sauce and other types of sauces in bowls

What Makes a Cookout Sauce Unique

Cookout sauce is a quintessential element of any summer BBQ, but what makes it truly unique? It's all in the combination of flavors and ingredients. A great cookout sauce should balance sweetness, tanginess, and smokiness.


Whether it's a classic tomato-based sauce or a vinegar-based sauce with a kick of spicy heat, the ingredients must all work in harmony with each other.


Cookout sauces can also contain unexpected ingredients like molasses, bourbon, or even coffee, adding complexity and a depth of flavor that can elevate ordinary grilled meats to a whole new level. It just depends on how simple or crazy you want to get!

There are many different styles and types of cookout BBQ sauces, so you'll need to do some exploring to find your favorite! A good cookout sauce is more than just a condiment; it's a culinary masterpiece that takes a backyard cookout to the next level.


burnt ends white wraith cookout sauce

Popular Ingredients in Cookout Sauces

When it comes to creating a delicious cookout BBQ sauce, the sky's the limit. You can add various spices and herbs to your mix for an extra kick of flavor, or experiment with different kinds of sugars and vinegars for a more complex taste.


Some popular ingredients in cooking sauces include:

  • Tomato paste

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Brown sugar

  • Mustard

  • Honey

  • Garlic powder

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • Smoked paprika or cayenne pepper

No matter what ingredients you use, the key is blending them together in harmony so that no one flavor overpowers the others. Use your creativity and don’t be afraid


How to Make Your Own Cookout Sauce at Home

Making your own cookout sauce at home is a great way to customize flavor and experiment with different ingredients. Here's a simple recipe you can try:


Smoky Honey Mustard Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, honey, vinegar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and chili powder.

  2. Adjust seasonings as desired and add salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Transfer to a jar or airtight container and store in the fridge until ready to use.


family enjoying a cookout

Creative Ways to Incorporate Cookout Sauce Into Recipes

Cookout sauce isn't just for basting or dipping. You can use it in a variety of recipes to add flavor and zest to meats, vegetables, and more!

Here are a few creative ways to incorporate your cookout BBQ sauce:

  1. Use as a dipping sauce

  2. Marinade for meats

  3. Basting sauce for grilled meats

  4. Topping for your main dishes

  5. A condiment for your side dishes

You can also try:

• Use as a marinade for chicken breasts or pork chops before grilling

• As an ingredient in homemade macaroni and cheese

• To top off baked potatoes

• To create a smoky barbecue pizza sauce

• As a topping for nachos or tacos

• For extra flavor in veggie burgers or portobello mushrooms

• Spread on sandwiches and wraps

There are tons of ways that you can use sauces like these whether you're having a traditional cookout or a full-on BBQ party. Get creative!


cookout foods on the grill

Cookout Sauces to Try

Now, our little guide here to cookout sauces wouldn't be quite complete without a few of our own recommendations on some sauces. So with that being said, here are a few sauces you should try at your next cookout:


Hall of Flame Cherry BBQ

First on our list of cookout sauces to try is the Hall of Flame Cherry BBQ. This amazing sauce was created by a renowned BBQ pit master and an award winning hot sauce maker. It's a Texas-style BBQ sauce with bold flavors and a hint of cherry.


Burnt Ends White Wraith

Paying homage to the great state of Alabama, White Wraith is a perfect cookout sauce made with ghost peppers. We highly suggest that you try this for dipping your chicken wings. It's addictive and delicious.


Mikey V's Brotherton BBQ

Another sauce that was made in collaboration between a pit master and a hot sauce maker, this cookout sauce is sure to ignite your taste buds with its unique flavor and spices. Mikey V's Brotherton BBQ is to die for!

If you want to try a combination of different sauces, we recommend going with The Fired Up 4 Pack, which includes 4 amazingly delicious sauces made with Burnt Ends.


carolina gold cookout bbq sauce

What is Your Favorite Type of Sauce for Cooking Out?

Forget basic ketchup and mustard. Cookout sauce is the key to adding flavor, depth, and complexity to your summer cookouts and BBQs. With a variety of flavors and ingredients to choose from, you can create unique sauces that will wow your friends and family.

Use our guide to find creative ways to incorporate cookout sauce into recipes or try some of our recommendations for an unforgettable cookout experience.

Let us know in the comments what your favorite type of sauce is to use for a cookout. We want to know!

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