We are still celebrating Juneteenth and we’re celebrating Barbecue. BBQ is the quintessential American food, but like so many things we see as total Americana, the great tradition of BBQ actually was inspired by various other cultures. In West Africa, for hundreds of years, the Hausa – the largest ethnic group in the region – has been enjoying meats cooked over a fire using a method called “babbake.” In the Caribbean, slow-cooking meats on sticks over a fire pit in the ground has long been popular, in a cooking style called “barbacoa.” Maybe we can’t say exactly who or what brought the U.S. barbecue as we know it today, but one thing is for sure: we love a good outdoor cookout using a grill. And that’s why we celebrate National Barbecue Day each year.
We’re certain about one other thing when it comes to great Barbecue: it can be done with or without mouth-watering, finger-licking-good BBQ sauces and seasonings, but we’re listing Black-owned barbecues sauces and rubs you have to try for the next time you have folks over for the cookout.
Riley’s Ribz is a veteran-owned brand serving up barbecue sauces and rubs that are gluten-free and lower in sodium than comparable products. The owners, Antonio and Caryn Riley, started off by entering their sauces into local competitions and after doing well in those, decided to finally bottle and sell the stuff. Now they ship their delicious product all over the U.S. Don’t fire up your grill to make ribs without a bottle of their Smokin’ Sweet Heat Sauce or Caribbean Jerk Seasoning.
Smokey Diva’s 92nd Sauce
Smokey Diva’s 92nd Sauce is a family-run business that all started with the matriarch – grandma Dorothy Turner Everett – taking out a small loan and having her nine children help her open up the first Everett & Jones Barbecue Restaurant on 92nd Avenue in Oakland, CA. The restaurant now has several locations and is the longest-running Black-owned business in Oakland. Naturally, customers wanted to take the flavor of the great food home, so the company started bottling up and selling their delicious sauces. Their hot, medium and mild sauces are great on pulled pork, ribs, wings and all the classics.
Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ is a Charleston, South Carolina restaurant that honors the great tradition of whole hog barbecuing. Opened by good friends Rodney Scott (spotted on The Food Network’s BBQ Brawl) and Nick Pihakis, this popular establishment is where you can find the duo engulfed in smoke, working the pits to give their customers some of the juiciest melt-off-the-bone pork in the region. They were generous enough to package and sell the rubs and sauces they use at the restaurant, for customers to take home. Pick up their rubs, seasonings and signature sauces on their website.
Flavour De La Baye
The founder of Flavour De La Baye was born and raised in “La Baye,” Grenada and with her company, she aims to spread authentic flavors of the West Indies throughout the U.S. She combines her lengthy experience in the food industry with her Caribbean background to create some truly unique sauces, dressings and seasonings. The Chipotle Tamarind BBQ sauce is the one not to miss, but you can’t go wrong with the Jerk Mayo or Spicy Herb Vinaigrette for your sides and salads, too.
Coco Brown Sauces
This family-owned operation has been selling Jamaican sauces and rubs made with all natural ingredients out of, appropriately, Jamaica, Wisconsin since 2005. Their rubs are made with a flavorful combination of scotch bonnet peppers, herbs and spices. Try their Fi Wi Curry or Jerk Rub next time you’re making chicken drumsticks.
Scott’s BBQ Sauce
If you’re looking for a diabetic-friendly BBQ sauce, look no further than Scott’s Barbecue Sauce. This secret family recipe is sugar- and fat-free and has been passed down since 1917. For decades the people of Goldsboro, North Carolina have tried to guess its ingredients. According to their website, one local minister said the recipe was revealed to him in a dream. See for yourself what all the talk is about and grab a case on their website.
Argia B’s Mumbo Sauce
Argia B’s Mumbo Sauce is another veteran-owned brand and was created by Mississippi-born Argia B. Collins. Collins has owned several restaurants in his day and always made sure to infuse some of his southern roots in the foods he creates. After noticing how many customers asked to bring home sides of his delicious MUMBO sauce, the restaurateur decided to bottle and sell the stuff. Each of the three varieties – Original, Hickory Smoke and Tangy Hot – are made without preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, MSG or gluten.