Blurring of the BBQ Sauce Borders

A note to sauce makers:

The world is flat (as Thomas Friedman says) and the US is too.  And just as the world is brought closer together via online mechanisms like blogs and facebook, so is the world of BBQ sauce.  Unless we’re talking about the restaurants located in the specific regions of the US known for pioneering the different BBQ and BBQ sauce styles (KC, Memphis, East NC, West NC, SC, Texas) then we agree the world of BBQ sauce is becoming truly a mixing pot – blurring the lines beyond regional distinctions.

Much like the world of Microbrews (um, sorry craft beers…)  the world of sauce has stretched so far from their roots that it doesn’t always make sense anymore to identify with a specific region of sauce for more than one reason:

  • First, it’s can be confusing to the average buyer.  Unless you are going for a super-smart competition BBQ expert crowd (as some sauces cater to competitive BBQ teams), then introducing a state on the bottle (other than your own) is potentially confusing to shoppers.
  • Second, people don’t care.  They just want a rough idea of what it tastes like the first time, then after that a snazzy name like Sweet Baby Ray’s or Moe’s or Stubb’s or Chubbby’s works better than XYZ East Carolina Style Dippin Sauce.  Tip: have a cool name, but in the subtitle tell us exactly what it is and tastes like.  Guess what, Sweet Baby Ray’s has a cool name and a description in the title. Nicely done.
  • Third, if you do call out what style you are, people will have a certain expectation and you may hit the mark or you may be way off.  Especially if you start mixing the terms.   Some people who’ve tried KC Masterpiece try other sauce and swear that they are really KC sauces… in this case, it was smart of KC Masterpiece to use that name.

For awhile, Kraft and KC Masterpiece really dominated the market.   Now the industry is mixing pot of BBQ sauces – which is exactly how I like it!

So before you name your sauce “KC Style or NC Style or SC style or Memphis style — you get my point — consider if you really need to waste the real estate on that.


Site Editor, BBQ Sauce Lover, Family Guy, Hi Tech Marketer by Day. He recently wrote the Ebook “How to Market Your BBQ Sauce” which can be purchased on this site.



  1. Thanks Brian
    I have recently come up with a few new products and don’t have a good name for them. I appreciate the input as I hate milling around in the dark until it’s too late to do anything but point blindly and pick!
    Gary Vander Giessen
    Garys BBQ Supplies

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