Apart from the warm summer breeze and cool pool or salt water on skin, there’s the piquant, and mouthwatering and flavorsome aroma of barbecued meat with its simmering homemade BBQ sauce on the grill. America in the summer is Barbecue Country, with the plethora of county barbecue sauce competitions and homes smoking succulent meats from their outdoor grill.
While barbecue sauce, also called BBQ sauce or spelled “barbeque” sauce, is made to marinate or baste meat on barbecue grill, it is used, as well, to add flavor to other foods.
Vinegar and peppers were the base of earlier versions of barbecue sauces—say, hundreds of years ago. Today, hickory is polled as the top flavor among Americans, followed by mesquite, honey, and tomato-based sauces. While tomato sauce and vinegar form the base of most barbecue sauces, other seasonings are added to create the desired flavors, the more popular of which are onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, hot peppers, mustard, and brown sugar.
The strong and varied flavors of barbecue sauces happen to pack some health benefits, too—antioxidants, among one of them, according to Sandi Busch, writing for Livestrong.com:
Just like paint protects your car from rust, antioxidants protect your body from free radicals. They’re the normal byproduct of vital chemical processes in your body, but free radicals damage cells if they are not neutralized by antioxidants. Vitamins A, C and E, and the mineral selenium, are important antioxidants found in barbecue sauce. One cup of sauce provides 20 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin A, 13 percent of vitamin E, 2 percent of vitamin C and 5 percent of selenium. Vitamin E protects vitamin A and other lipids from damage, while vitamins A and C protect cells throughout the body. Vitamin C also supports your immune system, vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes and selenium regulates thyroid hormone.
So besides certain properties that help fight against infection and diseases, which antioxidants do by putting down free radicals that attack healthy cells, the tomato base in barbecue sauces also produces lycopene, a carotenoid associated with helping reduce the risk of developing cancer. A cup of barbecue sauce contains 11 milligrams of lycopene, which is already one-third the amount from a cup of tomato sauce.
Barbecue lovers who concoct their own regional best BBQ sauce (for private gatherings or for commercial use), such as Papa Brown’s BBQ in Kansas City’s metropolitan area, often take to the center of competitions to feature and compare their favorite recipes. Cooking methods vary as do flavors, as conditioned often by geographical regions, but no matter the preference in the degree of sweetness and bite, barbecuing is a pastime that has rooted itself in the tradition of American cuisine.
Source: (What Are the Health Benefits of Barbecue Sauce? : www.livestrong.com)