What’s the difference between St. Louis barbecue sauce and Kansas City barbecue sauce?

When you think of the traditional barbecue sauce you see in tiny containers at your favorite or local fast food joint, that’s probably Kansas City style. The local sauce includes ketchup or tomato sauce mixed with brown sugar or molasses (via Eater). While different barbecue restaurants have their spin on the Kansas City-style sauce, the base is always a thick, sweet tomato.

On the other side of the state is St. Louis. This town adds an extra ingredient to the Kansas City sauce to elevate it from something sweet to one with a little more pungent and sour flavor. What is this super special ingredient? It’s apple cider vinegar (via Memphis BBQ). Still refining the base notes of sweet tomato with brown sugar or molasses, the inclusion of apple cider vinegar in the sauce mix alters the final flavor and consistency. Plus, this sauce tends to be a little thinner than its Kansas City counterpart.

Kansas City and St. Louis are both world famous for their decadent and delicious barbecue sauce, giving us the chance to pick our favorite for our next plate of ribs. Even better, you can combine the two for the joy of great flavor. It’s time to expand your palette, try both and see which style you prefer.

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