What is Hickory BBQ Sauce Flavor? (And Its Origins)


Out of all types of barbecue flavors, the hickory BBQ flavor is the most distinctive! Its taste is exceptional. No matter what part of the meat you use for grilling, the distinct flavor will stand out, and it will leave you and your bodies wanting for more.

But, if you have never tasted hickory flavor before, now is the time to do so! 

Today, we will delve into the mystery that is hickory. Well, the BBQ flavor at least. We will answer the million-dollar question: what does hickory BBQ sauce taste like? And tackle more bits and pieces regarding the flavor.

With no further ado, let us jump right to it.

Hickory BBQ Origins

Depending on the location, a barbecue may imply a variety of things. Types, methods, ingredients, and meanings differ drastically, and sharp variations exist in the United States. Barbeque is a culinary icon of the US and a true staple of the Americans.

The cuisine has become so popular that many sauces and flavors pop out everywhere since the cooking style and sauce flavor arrived in the US.

BBQ has truly become an icon of the culinary and cultural achievement of the good of’ US-of-A! And because of its iconic popularity, many people adapted already existing recipes and innovated them

Hickory Tree

One of these recipes was the hickory barbecue popularized by African slaves in America in the olden times.

Today, Hickory BBQ is flair in the classic BBQ approach from Oklahoma’s state with its involvement of a unique component — hickory wood!

Other flavors, typically unique to their region of birth, may involve meat drips, Worcestershire, liquid smoke, whisky, spices, rubs, or peppers.

There are several philosophies concerning the science in creating the best sauces, but vinegar and tomatoes are two of the most sought-after ingredients in the hickory BBQ flavor.

Exploring Hickory BBQ

Numerous recipes, specific to their country, have been modified to complement various meats and ways to prepare them. Often have a few simple ingredients, including onions, vinegar, molasses, sugar, mayo, or mustard.

Hickory also has a base that includes these. However, there are now many twists from the classic hickory to improve the flavor.

Tomato-based BBQ sauces are some of the most common – body-based tomatoes are a steady canvas for producing flavor and body.

Smoked Meat Covered in Hickory Barbecue

Some of the hickory barbecue variants may have some tomato in it. You can see the most famous types from the restaurant’s menus and the condiment section of the grocery store. 

Vinegar-related sauces are also famous. When used for a foundation of tomato, vinegar lightens the color of your BBQ sauce.

As a preserving agent, its slight acidic profile almost renders fat and adds spice to the meat. When done right, the woody hickory flavor will go well with the vinegar that you are using.

The vinegar-based sauces are small and more challenging to buy in a grocery. Usually, they are to be a basting agent or a marinade. 

The vinegar tenderizes and penetrates the beef for a marinade, providing a kick of tart and delicious flavor profile before grilling.

You may apply the mixture over meat as a baste when frying. This purpose will result in a great outcome if you use the principle of cooking the meat with love and care, slow and steady as they say!

Also Read:

Best Parts and Sides to Use with Hickory BBQ

The sauce is only one pillar of the BBQ ideology. Ribs are the quintessential parts for barbequing!

The ribs of a pig or hog are some of the most clamored for, but you may also see beef ribs available for ordering in your local steakhouse.

Pulled Pork

You cannot have a complete barbecue menu by leaving out pulled pork!

You can grill the pork shoulder slow and timely until its meat is moist enough for extraction.

The outcome is a delectable, tender meal that you can eat alone or on bread with hickory barbecue sauce!


A good slaw can never do you wrong when paired with your hickory BBQ! Coleslaw is ideally adapted to pulled pork.

Mayonnaise is a good coleslaw that provides ample tang and complexity to intensify the rich taste while enjoying the side’s refreshing crunch from cabbages.


Brisket is the most sought-after parts of the animal. The body is mainly muscle, bound together by a connective tissue called collagen.

If you cook brisket right, the collagen steadily breaks down and marinates the beef while frying with its juices and the oaky flavor profile of the hickory wood.


There is more to hickory barbecue than just the sauce or component in grilling. The origin and scope of what is the most historic culinary art in the world are immense.

One thing is for sure: the sauce and the meat are at the core of American barbecue and hickory BBQ flavor variant.

And if you are still wondering what does hickory BBQ sauce tastes like?

Well, it has the distinctive taste of the hickory wood and all the ingredients you want to put on it. So really, the taste of hickory depends on your palate. The base is there, and all you need is to innovate to suit your tastes. 


Tyler Lachance is a cookout professional. His expertise on cooking grilled food, creating marinades, formulating sauces and matching his food with the perfect drink is unrivaled.

Born and raised in a family that has a long history of cookout, he has treated this activity as a part of his culture and who he is.