Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development
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Chicago-based Lillie’s Q has taken the country by storm with a barbecue sauce lineup that includes everything from a BBQ Aïoli Tender Sauce to a mayo-based Ivory Barbeque Sauce to a vinegar-based Eastern North Carolina Barbeque Sauce. The brand’s mustard-based Gold Barbeque Sauce was originally created to compete in South Carolina, but it can now be found nationwide at retail and at the brand’s restaurants, used on chicken, pork, and even seafood dishes like salmon. It’s a small part of why Carolina Gold barbecue sauce is the fastest-growing barbecue sauce option in the country, according to Datassential.


American barbecue has never showcased more flavor diversity than it does right now. Across the country, chefs are putting their own spins on the classics while also introducing consumers to the country’s wide array of on-trend regional variations. These sauces are true dynamos, showing up across the menu in everything from sandwiches to pizza and beverages to salads. Plus, a truly successful sauce can be bottled and sold at retail, extending the brand and providing an additional source of revenue. Here, we look at the broad range of flavor builds that are driving barbecue sauce innovation on menus today.

About The Author


Mike Kostyo is the VP of Menu Matters. Mike has been a recurring guest on Fusion TV’s “The A.V. Club” show; has been featured on NBC News, CBS Radio and Gimlet Media’s “Why We Eat What We Eat” podcast; is regularly featured in newspapers and magazines; speaks at numerous conferences across the country; and was a judge on Food Network’s “Eating America.” For nearly 11 years, Mike was an associate director and trends expert at one of the industry's largest research firms. He has a master's in Gastronomy from Boston University, plus certificates in the culinary arts, baking arts, wine and artisan cheese production. [email protected]