Barbecue sauce and hot sauce at Franklin Barbecue, Austin TX
Long time, no muse. But I'm back to muse about Texas barbecue and BBQ sauce.
When people discuss Texas barbecue, they often say that when made right, Texas barbecue requires no sauce. (Take that, Kansas City!) And when someone mentions "Texas barbecue" and "barbecue sauce" in the same sentence, someone invariably says, "Ain't no barbecue sauce in Texas!"
As for the first point, I wholeheartedly agree. When a Texas brisket is cooked to perfection with just salt and black pepper, it needs no sauce. If you don't believe me, visit Franklin Barbecue or Pecan Lodge or Snow's or La Barbecue and you'll become a believer.
As for the second point, I would say that, to the contrary, there's a lot of barbecue sauce in the Lone Star State, at least in Central Texas. During the TVWB Central Texas Barbecue Crawl in October 2015, I visited 7 joints in 3 days and found barbecue sauce at 6 of them:
Franklin Barbecue: 3 sauces
Smitty's Market: 1 sauce
Black's Barbecue: 2 sauces
Kreuz Market: No sauce
City Market Luling: 1 sauce
Snow's BBQ: 2 sauces
Louie Mueller Barbecue: 1 sauce
And this does not include the bottled hot sauces offered at each restaurant.
Now, before someone says, "Well, those are touristy barbecue joints, that's why they offer sauce!" let me remind you that some of these are the highest ranking joints in the 2013 Texas Monthly 50 Best BBQ Joints list:
Franklin Barbecue: #1
Smitty's Market: Not ranked
Black's Barbecue: #33
Kreuz Market: #34
City Market Luling: #35
Snow's BBQ: #3
Louie Mueller Barbecue: #4
Still, there is some truth to the suggestion that "outsiders" have had an influence on the adoption of BBQ sauce within Texas. I saw an interview with Edgar Black, 2nd generation owner of Black's Barbecue, who said that they developed their Norma Jean's BBQ Sauce at the request of "Northerners" that would visit the restaurant.
So believe that Texas barbecue can be so good that it doesn't need sauce. But don't believe that there's no such thing as BBQ sauce in Texas...it's more common than some people would have you think.