Barbecue sauce (also abbreviated BBQ sauce) is a liquid flavoring sauce or condiment ranging from watery to very thick consistency. As the name implies, it was created as an accompaniment to barbecued foods. While it can be applied to any food, it usually tops meat after cooking or during barbecuing, grilling, or baking. Traditionally it has been a favored sauce for pork or beef ribs and chicken. Less often, it is used for dipping items like fries, as well as a replacement for tomato sauce in barbecue-style pizzas.
Barbecue sauces may combine sour, sweet, spicy, and tangy ingredients or focus on a particular flavor alone. It sometimes carries with it a smoky flavor. The ingredients vary, but some commonplace items are tomato paste, vinegar, spices, and sweeteners. These variations are often due to regional traditions and recipes.