View Full Version : Sauce....make it or buy it?

06-21-2011, 08:08 PM
I am new to the KCBS competition. and the Menomonee Falls, WI chapter was totally awesome along with every one competing knowing that I was the newbie and getting my butt kicked. Just wanted to know what the general feeling is on sauce. Do you make it, buy it, or buy it and put your own spin on it?

06-21-2011, 08:49 PM
Welcome, Tommieblue -

I've always used store bought sauce because there's so much of it that's so good!

What I did was try several combinations of completely different styles of store bought sauces until I finally found the combination that won.

In the end, it tastes A LOT like Head Country, as I eventually found out.

The way I knew what I was shooting for was to judge a lot of competitions . . . and learn what most of the judges like best.

Could of saved a lot of experimenting if I would have found Head Country first . . .

Anyway - I'm sure you'll find a lot of different advice here - but that's what I did, for what it's worth.

P.S. And don't worry about being the newbie and getting your butt kicked. That's all part of the fun - finding your way. I competed on two teams for five years before I finally won two categories.

JD McGee
06-21-2011, 10:00 PM
We started out using commercial sauces...then embellishing them...now we make our own...:cool: I guess it's a progressive thing...:becky:

06-22-2011, 07:05 AM
I tried my own sauces during practice runs but couldn't bring myself to use it in competition. It just wasn't as good as comercial.
I use several combinations of Blues Hog Original, Tennessee Red and Head Country with a few touches of my own. First two competitions had 2 walks and a call :becky:.

06-22-2011, 08:46 AM
I buy sauces and add my twist to it...ALOT cheaper and easier!!!!!! :thumb:

06-22-2011, 09:01 AM
Why reinvent the wheel. Buy a sauce and add to it to make it your own or use it as is.

Hot Wachula's
06-22-2011, 09:51 AM
I make my own and I can say (for me) I get more satisfaction when I win knowing that I am using my own sauces and rubs.

When you do decide, dont use other sauces in your ingredients, make everything from scratch. Even the ketchup etc. Worc sauce is about the only sauce/ingredient you can not easily make your own version of.

Making your own sauce takes time, just like learning to cook comp. BBQ.

06-22-2011, 10:01 AM
I am not nearly as talented as the folks who make the better commercial sauces.
And, they are much more consistant than any I have created.
I do "tweak" them though.

Works for me :-D


Ponderosa BBQ
06-22-2011, 10:21 AM
I have always made my own sauces & rubs it makes me feel good when I get a call with them it has not given me a grand champion yet but that's ok I enjoy the journey it will come:)

06-22-2011, 11:18 AM
I'm also a newbie with only one competition under my belt, but I used a combination of home made sauces and commercial ones. My rib sauce was made from scratch and I came in 12th. I'd like to eventually make all of my own sauces, but as it was said before...all in time.

Lake Dogs
06-22-2011, 12:46 PM
I dont recall ever seeing the winner of a sauce competition winning a meat category. I'm sure it has happened, but it's rare. The reason for this is that the better meats presented have their flavors "married" with/to the sauce flavors and the flavor of the sauce enhances the meat flavor and doesn't mask it.

Most teams early-on in competing use sauces that are very strong, many of them taste great, but they tend to completely mask the flavors of the meat.

We've found over time a few commercial sauces that work great with our rubs and injections, but they too are VERY strong. I mix in another homemade sauce to temper those flavors and I thin them down greatly.

06-22-2011, 01:12 PM
I am on the fence about it. On the one hand there are rubs and sauces out there that are both readily available, and proven winners. Part of me wants to go ahead and use them.

On the other hand I look at the future. Look at teams like Quau, Gotta Bull, Smoking Triggers, Pellet Envy, and all the other big names at the top of competition BBQ. They were all newbies getting there butts kicked once too. I know its a long shot, but suppose this really gets in your blood, and you end up being one of this big names. You may decide you want to market your sauce and rub. It won't be easy to do that if you haven't actually developed your own. Plus there is the ego boost of knowing you did it with your own stuff.

Is that a likely possibility? No its not, but it is something to consider. If that is not even on your radar then I would use a concoction of commercial sauces and rubs.

The Other Greg
06-22-2011, 08:41 PM
I use my own rubs and sauces. I want to get calls for my BBQ not an off the shelf product. I figure I am competing against every team at that contest and every sauce or rub on the shelf.

06-22-2011, 08:51 PM
I want to get calls for my BBQ not an off the shelf product.

I want to get paid. I'm a one man raid with a day job. I don't have time to make my own rubs or sauces and there are some fine ones out there that allow me the freedom to not have to. And if I cook it, it is my BBQ.

06-23-2011, 05:45 AM
We are using a combination of our own and some commercial sauce. As time goes on, I expect to use exclusively ours. As far as rubs, it's all commercial at this point, but modified slightly.

06-23-2011, 07:34 AM
I want to get paid. I'm a one man raid with a day job. I don't have time to make my own rubs or sauces and there are some fine ones out there that allow me the freedom to not have to. And if I cook it, it is my BBQ.

+1 When we started out we made our own rubs and sauces also. It didn't take us long to figure out that if we really want to win, learning to cook the meat perfectly and not developing our own sauces and rubs would be key. There are companies out there that have spent many, many years developing sauces and rubs with a proven track record in competition BBQ. Winning teams like Ique, I Smell Smoke, Pellet Envy, Smoking Triggers etc. all use commercial sauces and rubs. Perfectly cooked meat every time is not an easy task. You are better off learning to cook your meat perfectly than trying to develop a sauce or rub. Perfectly cooked meat with a good commercial sauce and rub will win every time.